May 3, 2013
April 29, 2013
This Solar Dynamics Observatory Atlas V rocket launch in February 2010 exceeded the speed of sound in a layer of ice crystals, making the shock wave visible from the ground. This occurs around 1:53 in the video.
April 14, 2013
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“History continues to be made in the skies above the Mojave Desert. Hot on the heels of last week’s nitrous venting and feather test, SpaceShipTwo achieved another successful first today with a spectacular “Cold Flow” flight. The test objectives were successfully met, advancing another important step towards powered flight.”
April 12, 2013
Another year another great Yuri’s night. Celebrations are taking place all over the world.
and of course….
March 28, 2013
I really love how Copenhagen Suborbitals has been doing great documentation and almost DIY videos on its rocket building. First we saw their great video on the Tycho Deep Space 1 development and now the Turbo Pump video.
March 20, 2013
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“Hawthorne, CA – Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) Merlin 1D engine has achieved flight qualification, a major milestone for the next generation Merlin engine. Through a 28 test qualification program, the Merlin 1D accumulated 1,970 seconds of total test time, the equivalent run time of over 10 full mission durations, and is now fully qualified to fly on the Falcon 9 rocket.
The program included four tests at or above the power (147,000 pounds of thrust) and duration (185 seconds) required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch. The Merlin 1D engine was also tested at propellant inlet and operating conditions that were well outside the bounds of expected flight conditions.
SpaceX’s testing program demonstrated a ratio of 4:1 for critical engine life parameters such as firing duration and restart capacity to the engine’s expected flight requirements. The industry standard is 2:1.
“The Merlin 1D successfully performed every test throughout this extremely rigorous qualification program,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and chief designer. “With flight qualification now complete, we look forward to flying the first Merlin 1D engines on Falcon 9’s Flight 6 this year.”
The Merlin 1D builds on the technology of the Merlin engines used on the first five flights of Falcon 9. With nine Merlin 1Ds on the first stage, the Falcon 9 rocket will produce nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust in a vacuum. The Merlin 1D has a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150, the best of any liquid rocket engine in history. This enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts. Additionally, the new engine is designed for improved manufacturability by using higher efficiency processes, increased robotic construction and reduced parts count.
Testing took place at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.” -SpaceX Press Release
VIDEO OF TEST
March 16, 2013
“The Rocketry Golf Organization (RGO) Aimed its First Contest with Golf Pro, Shawn Kelly, vs. Doug Frost, at The Ridge Golf Course, Auburn, Ca., March 19 and 26, 2013
Rockets with plastic golf balls, replace driver clubs, as they fly to the green no matter how far. Shawn Kelly, golf pro, will compete against these rocket machines. Doug Frost, rocketry golfer, will have to putt out with a real golf ball and club.” -PRNewswire
On the official Rocketry Golf site it mentions that
“The Merger of Two World-Wide Sports. This Sport was designed to be played on any field with a flag, a pole, and a hole in the ground. However, it was also designed to be played on a Golf Course !”
I can imagine the decisions on a hole. I wouldn’t be looking at what club but I would be picking what motor. Hand me a “D-12″…
Understanding thrust will become more important than improving your swing.
“…..the world’s first rocketry golf game. In the historic first game, Doug Frost, the inventor of Rocketry Golf, played the Game against two veteran Golf Pros who played Regular Golf. Jack Guio, the head Pro at the Shoreline Golf Links, Mountain View, CA, and John Lowe who had 18 years of experience in golf behind him.”
Kits are available on the Rocketry Golf site.
March 10, 2013
“SpaceX’s Grasshopper doubled its highest leap to date to rise 24 stories or 80.1 meters (262.8 feet) today, hovering for approximately 34 seconds and landing safely using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. Grasshopper touched down with its most accurate precision thus far on the centermost part of the launch pad. At touchdown, the thrust to weight ratio of the vehicle was greater than one, proving a key landing algorithm for Falcon 9. Today’s test was completed at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.” – SpaceX
This thing is huge so pulling this off is quite incredible and SpaceX continues to push this technology in its test. I looking forward to one day seeing the Falcon 9 return this way.
“Grasshopper, SpaceX’s vertical and takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle, continues SpaceX’s work toward one of its key goals – developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets, a feat that will transform space exploration by radically reducing its cost. With Grasshopper, SpaceX engineers are testing the technology that would enable a launched rocket to land intact, rather than burning up upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.” -SpaceX
* Notice the Cowboy dummy riding on the strut platform. It is especially easy to see at the end of the video.
March 8, 2013
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March 6, 2013
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The BE-3 is a liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen(LOX/LH2) 100,000 pound thrust engine. The BE-3 is designed to be part of the RBS(Reusable booster system) that powers the Blue Origin Space Vehicle.
In 2011 Blue Origin received a 22 million commitment from NASA as part of the Commercial Crew Development phase 2.
BE-3 Test Video
February 28, 2013
UPDATE: Successful Launch at 10:10 am
Be prepared for the mission.
The launch will be webcast live, with commentary from SpaceX corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, California, at spacex.com/webcast, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at www.nasa.gov/nasatv. Pre-Launch coverage will begin at 8:30 EDT on NASA TV (40 minutes later on the SpaceX site)
SpaceX is targeting launch for 10:10 AM
After SpaceX’s successful first official resupply mission to the International Space Station last October, SpaceX is set to launch its second Commercial Resupply (CRS) mission to the orbiting lab. The SpaceX CRS-2 mission is targeting launch at 10:10AM EST Friday, March 1 from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
If all goes as planned, Dragon will arrive at station on Saturday, March 2, where it will be grappled and berthed to the complex for an expected three-week visit. Dragon is scheduled to return to Earth on March 25 for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Baja California. Dragon is the only cargo craft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies from station to Earth, including experiments. – SPACEX”
February 22, 2013
I am happy to see Estes re-release one of my favorite rockets of all time – The Sprint. The new release is a bigger meaner Sprint built on a BT 60 tube and using D and E motors and is a tribute to designer Mike Dorfler.
Last year I used a standard Sprint in several NAR contest and won each of them. The efficiency of the design incorporating the elliptical fins and a boat-tail is legendary.
February 21, 2013
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee announced that the Indian Space Research Organisation plans to launch a Mars Orbiter Mission in October of 2013.
The purpose of the mission is stated as ” it will look for signature of life and reasons for loss of atmosphere on the red planet”
India’s major space port is Satish Dhawan Space Centre
It’s not clear what rocket India will use for such a mission. It’s most powerful rocket (still untested – test expected this year) is the GSLV III
February 19, 2013
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Found this nice graphic of Spacecraft size comparisons. A notable point to the graphic and capsule history are the number of flights of Soyuz in comparison to all others. It has definitely been the most successfully flown spacecraft. Another point is that the Dragon has a capability of 7 astronauts (not 6 as the graphic suggest) and the Rus has 6.
The first crewed flight of the Dragon is expected sometime in 2015. Here is a great graphic on the SpaceX Dragon manned capsule.More info on the Rus or PPTS can be found here and here
February 17, 2013
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Great behind the scenes video of the Armadillo Aerospace STIG B-1 crew during launch. Love that slow takeoff.