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ORAC 19th Jul 2020 13:00


SpaceX going for rocket reuse record with South Korean satellite launch

SpaceX aims to re-launch the Falcon 9 booster Monday that catapulted astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken toward the International Space Station in May, this time carrying a South Korean military communications satellite while pursuing a record for the quickest turnaround time between flights of an orbital-class rocket stage.

In a tweet Saturday, the California-based launch company confirmed plans to launch the South Korean Anasis 2 military communications satellite Monday from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The mission was previously scheduled to launch Tuesday, July 14, but SpaceX delayed the launch to address a problem on the Falcon 9’s second stage.

The launch window Monday opens at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) and runs until 8:55 p.m. EDT (0055 GMT). The official launch weather forecast calls for isolated rain showers at Cape Canaveral on Monday evening, but there’s a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions for liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket during the nearly four-hour launch window.

If the Falcon 9 rocket can take off with the Anasis 2 satellite Monday, or some time later this month, SpaceX will break its own record for the shortest turnaround between flights of the same Falcon 9 booster. The shortest span between launches of the same Falcon 9 booster to date has been 62 days, which SpaceX achieved with a Feb. 17 mission.

NASA achieved a 54-day turnaround time between two launches of the space shuttle Atlantis in late 1985, a record never again matched during the 30-year-long shuttle program. The time elapsed between Atlantis’s landing and next launch was 50 days.......

TURIN 30th Jul 2020 10:35

Lots happening this week.

Proton Launch last night scrubbed, rescheduled for later today.

Spacex Falcon 9 to launch the next batch of Starlink Satellites July 31st.

Ariane 5 ECA rocket to launch a batch of comms satellites July 31st

Return of the Crew Dragon Demo crew from the ISS Aug 1st/2nd


Starship prototype SN5 also expected to test engine. Static fire before 150m hop coming soon.

ORAC 1st Aug 2020 08:01


Crew Dragon astronauts ready for re-entry, splashdown

With Hurricane Isaias threatening Florida’s East Coast, astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken are awaiting a go-ahead on plans to undock from the International Space Station Saturday, setting up a fiery plunge to splashdown Sunday, presumably in the Gulf of Mexico, to close out a 64-day flight.

Given the track of the hurricane, a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean at one of three approved sites off Florida’s east coast is effectively ruled out, focusing landing plans on the Gulf where four sites are available off Panama City, Pensacola, Tallahassee and Tampa.

Assuming NASA and SpaceX press ahead, a final decision on prime and backup landing sites is not expected until Saturday, based on the latest forecasts and assessments of the Crew Dragon’s health. The preferred splashdown zone is just south of Panama City.......

“We look forward to the weather forecasts that are coming out daily at this point, and they’ll even get more frequent as we get closer to the actual splashdown,” Behnken told reporters in an orbital news conference Friday. “We have confidence that the teams on the ground are, of course, watching that much more closely than we are, and we won’t leave the space station without some good splashdown weather in front of us.”

The Crew Dragon spacecraft is certified for around 114 days in space and if the weather or some other problem crops up that might rule out undocking for a Sunday landing, “we know we can stay up here longer,” Behnken said. “There’s more chow, and I know the space station program’s got more work that we can do for the folks that have sent science up here to the space station.”.......

But assuming the weather cooperates and no technical issues crop up, Behnken and Hurley would undock from the station’s forward port around 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, spend the night aboard the Crew Dragon and then fire their braking rockets around 1:50 p.m. EDT Sunday for a splashdown in the Gulf around 2:42 p.m. EDT.


TURIN 1st Aug 2020 21:38

Just loading up the Dragon now,

turbidus 2nd Aug 2020 14:02


ORAC 2nd Aug 2020 20:17

ORAC 2nd Aug 2020 20:22

No jumping into the water - and the capsule, Locke the launcher, will be turned round and used again.....

TURIN 3rd Aug 2020 21:18

Possible 150m hop for Starship test article SN5 in the next few hours.

TURIN 4th Aug 2020 15:25

Second attempt at a 150m hop in the next hour or so.

wiggy 4th Aug 2020 22:41

Originally Posted by ORAC (Post 10851862)
No jumping into the water - and the capsule, Locke the launcher, will be turned round and used again.....

As a point of interest/In the "nothing new under the Sun" category....several of the Mercury astronauts didn't jump in the water either and instead stayed inside their spacecraft until it was safely on the deck of the recovery vessel...

ORAC 5th Aug 2020 06:27

ORAC 5th Aug 2020 06:29

TURIN 5th Aug 2020 09:07

That drone view is something else. Thanks.

ORAC 6th Aug 2020 13:08

Worth reading in full.


SpaceX’s next Starship starts to take shape as Elon Musk talks next steps

Less than a day after SpaceX successfully hopped a full-scale Starship prototype for the first time, the company has begun stacking the next rocket and Elon Musk is talking next steps......

As far as basic rocketry goes, SpaceX’s 150m Starship hop has functionally proven that the company’s exotic, rule-of-thumb-breaking, approach to Starship production and assembly can be feasibly refined into something capable of producing extraordinarily cheap orbital-class rockets. While a massive achievement, it doesn’t guarantee that the rockets produced will be reusable – let alone rapidly and easily reusable.

As of now, it can be safely stated that SpaceX has solved all major challenges involved in routinely and reliably landing and reusing orbital-class rocket boosters (first stages). It’s hard and surprises are always a possibility, but the landing records of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters speak for themselves. For the colossal booster Starship needs to reach orbit, the Falcon family’s success means that Super Heavy recovery and reuse is more a question of “when” than “if”.

Starship, on the other hand, is going to offer many different challenges – some unprecedented for SpaceX and others unprecedented in the entire history of spaceflight. For Starship to be able to support a level of reuse compatible with what the Super Heavy booster is likely to achieve, SpaceX will have to create the biggest and most effortlessly reusable orbital-class spacecraft ever built.

Even heavier than NASA’s Space Shuttle orbiter, Starship will also rely almost entirely on the unproven technology of on-orbit cryogenic propellant transfer to reach beyond low Earth orbit (LEO). To survive orbital-velocity reentries while still being rapidly and cheaply reusable, Starship will further have to push the envelope of heat shield technologies. Last but certainly not least, in its current iteration, Starship relies on a truly unprecedented style of recovery to efficiently land back on Earth.

It’s this last bit where CEO Elon Musk’s recent comments and recent activity at SpaceX’s Starship factory come in.

According to Musk, SpaceX intends to perform at least several more smaller hops (
a la SN5) “to smooth out [the] launch process.” It’s unclear which prototype(s) will be involved in that series of hops but after SpaceX is satisfied with the state of launch operations, the plan is to “go high altitude with body flaps.” Based on past comments, it’s safe to assume that Musk is referring to a plan to launch a Starship to 20 km (~12 mi).

After reaching 20 km, Starship would orient itself belly down – a bit like a skydiver – and quite literally fall its way to ~1 km altitude before attempting an aggressive Raptor-powered pitch-over maneuver and last-second landing. By using Earth’s atmosphere much like a skydiver trying to slow down, Starship will theoretically be able to dramatically reduce the amount of propellant it needs to land.

That high-altitude launch and landing demonstration will also be the first time a Starship truly needs aerodynamic control surfaces (i.e. “body flaps”) to safely complete a flight test. According to NASASpaceflight.com info, Starship SN8 – also the first full-scale prototype to be built out of a different steel alloy – will be the first ship to receive functional flaps and a nosecone. If initial tests go according to plan, SN8 will also be the first ship to attempt a skydiver-style landing as described above. As far as full-scale aerodynamics goes, such a landing is loosely understood at best. For an orbital-class spacecraft, it’s even more of a wildcard.

Regardless, just hours after Starship SN5’s successful hop debut, SpaceX began stacking the first of several already finished Starship SN8 sections. Based on the assembly of past prototypes, the ship’s tank section could reach its full height just a few weeks from now, while subsequent nosecone and flap installations are uncharted territory........


ORAC 6th Aug 2020 13:11

p.s. SN5 landing.......


ORAC 8th Aug 2020 20:56

Another successful launch and the fifth successful recovery for the same first stage....



WingNut60 9th Aug 2020 03:12

Has there been any comment about the lick of flame seen around the top of the engine around the 40-45 sec/1:00 mark from the internal camera just before touch-down.
I would presume that was not normal.

Loose rivets 9th Aug 2020 03:29

I can only assume it's a lesson learned, or that when it gets a move on, the flames will be blown out.

Thinks. Must order fireproof tubing.

ORAC 11th Aug 2020 13:58

Two more launches planned this month, including the first booster to fly 6 times.

Starlink 2 launches away from able to start public satellite internet Beta testing.


TURIN 11th Aug 2020 21:52

SN5 moved from landing pad to build site.
SN6 moved to launch pad in prep for more hop test flights.
They don't mess about this lot. 😁

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