Space news

image: Michael Howard

image: Michael Howard

Great Shock Collar on yesterdays’s launch!

What’s a Shock Collar?


To skip right to the launch time you can click here

Russian has shaken off earlier glitches and launched the new Angara rocket. The rocket lifted off today from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome near Arkhangelsk in Russia’s far north.



more on the Angara rocket family here

Angara Rocket Family Configurations

Angara Rocket Family Configurations

During the CRS-3 mission the 1st stage did a soft retro landing above the water . The stage landing gear was released and the retro fire took place. When SpaceX retrieved the 21 second onboard video the quality was horrible. There were quite a few dropped frames and corruption. You can see the original raw video here just to see how bad it is.

SpaceX asked the community for help. And the community responded. Linked below is the community YouTube site which is updated regularly of the latest in the restoration videos.

If you would like to read on how this work is being done check out the Forum here.

See all updates at the Youtube site here
Current video of this post date:


Dragon V2 Unveil Event

Dragon V2 Unveil Event

V2 in Flight

DragonV2 in Flight

Dragon V2 landing

Dragon V2 landing

Dragon V2 interior

Dragon V2 interior

Wow! The interior looks like a 21st century spaceship!

Watch an archive of the unveil


Watch live here
On Thursday, May 29, 2014, SpaceX will reveal Dragon V2 – SpaceX’s next generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to space. The Unveil will be webcast LIVE beginning at 7:00 p.m. PT.

Very nice flight indeed. I love watching this test flight at Kennedy Space Center at the Shuttle landing facility. Really kicks up some dust at the end.

Info from youtube text:
“The Morpheus/ALHAT team completed Free Flight 13 (FF13) at the KSC SLF on Thursday, May 22, 2014. This was Bravo’s 11th and ALHAT’s 4th free flight; the 1st with ALHAT running in closed-loop mode. For this test initial data indicated nominal performance of all Bravo systems, and of ALHAT Hazard Detection System (HDS), though not of the ALHAT navigation system. During flight, the ALHAT HDS scanned the Hazard Field and correctly identified a primary safe landing target within 0.5 m of the landing pad center, the best HDS safe site selection to date. As ALHAT navigated Bravo toward the selected landing target, the vehicle position calculated by ALHAT diverged from the “true” position calculated by Morpheus Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) until the error reached a trajectory corridor limit, at which point Bravo automatically reverted to Morpheus navigation for the remainder of the descent to the ALHAT landing target. Thus, FF13 successfully demonstrated ALHAT HDS performance and landing site selection (as in FF12), as well as the first in-flight down-mode from ALHAT to Morpheus navigation, but not yet complete ALHAT navigation to the landing site. 

Follow Morpheus on Twitter @MorpheusLander and on Facebook at”

Nice second flight of F9R. Lots of cows and 1000m altitude.

For some reason this video is hidden on Youtube so I can’t embed it here but you can click on the link or image and watch it.

Accompanying Text from SpaceX
“Video of Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) taking its second test flight at our rocket development facility. F9R quadrupled its height from its previous test to rise to 1,000m.  Early flights of F9R will take off with legs fixed in the down position. However, we will soon be transitioning to liftoff with legs stowed against the side of the rocket and then extending them just before landing.  The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of the Grasshopper program last year. Future testing, including that in New Mexico, will be conducted using the first stage of a F9R as shown here, which is essentially a Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage with legs. F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like.” 

F9R Second Flight Video



Sounds like this might be a good time to unveil the new Dragon Mk 2 spaceship that @SpaceX has been working on w @NASA. No trampoline needed

Cover drops on May 29. Actual flight design hardware of crew Dragon, not a mockup.

Looks like the new Mark 2 crew rated Dragon will be unveiled!

…and here is a photo from the CRS-3 first stage “landing” above the ocean.

image source: SpaceX

image source: SpaceX

The CRS-3 mission is well underway after a beautiful launch and Dragon deployment. The big question and event that some of us are waiting for is the landing test of the 1st stage. This is the first Falcon 9 with landing legs.

As we wait for video and info on today’s F9 1st stage landing test  SpaceX has released video of a ground test of F9R. (at the beginning of the video you can see the much smaller Grasshopper to the right)

Update on recovery info on 1st stage(8:30pm -18th): Data upload from tracking plane shows first stage landing in Atlantic was good! Flight computers continued transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water. Stopped when booster went horizontal. Several boats enroute through heavy seas…


CRS-3 on the pad. landing Legs attached and ready credit: SpaceX


SpaceX confirms April 18th launch date(Launch is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. EDT.) with  April 19th backup

Read here


CRS-3 Update

Today’s launch has been scrubbed due to a Helium leak on Falcon 9’s first stage. A fix will be implemented by the next launch opportunity on Friday April 18, though weather on that date isn’t ideal.



Watch Launch: or

Exciting First:  First Stage Recovery. Landing legs will be deployed and an attempt at a soft landing over ocean.


NASA Press Release

NASA is making available to the public, at no cost, more than 1,000 codes with its release on April 10 of a new online software catalog.

Organized into 15 broad categories, the new catalog offers a wide variety of applications for use by industry, academia, other government agencies and the general public.

“Software is an increasingly important element of the agency’s intellectual asset portfolio, making up about a third of our reported inventions every year,” said Jim Adams, NASA’s deputy chief technologist. “We are excited to be able to make that software widely available to the public with the release of our new software catalog.”

The technologies featured in the software catalog cover project management systems, design tools, data handling and image processing, as well as solutions for life support functions, aeronautics, structural analysis and robotic and autonomous systems. The codes represent NASA’s best solutions to a wide array of complex mission requirements.” …more here



UPDATE: Launch delayed to March 30th

“To ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and allow additional time to resolve remaining open items, SpaceX is now targeting March 30th  for the CRS-3 launch, with April 2nd  as a back-up.  These represent the earliest available launch opportunities given existing schedules, and are currently pending approval with the Range.  

Both Falcon 9 and Dragon are in good health; given the critical payloads on board and significant upgrades to Dragon, the additional time will ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch.  “


Mission Overview:
After three successful missions to the International Space Station,
including two official resupply missions for NASA, SpaceX is set to
launch its third Commercial Resupply (CRS) mission to the orbiting
lab. The SpaceX CRS-3 mission is targeting launch at 4:41 a.m. EDT
Sunday, March 16 from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station, Florida.

If all goes as planned, Dragon will arrive at the station on
Tuesday, March 18, when it will be grappled and berthed to the
complex for an expected four-week visit. Dragon is scheduled to
return to Earth on April 17 for a parachute-assisted splashdown
off the coast of southern California. Dragon is the only space
station cargo craft capable of returning a significant amount of
supplies back to Earth, including experiments.

Cargo Contents:

Dragon will be filled with about 4,600 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to support more than
150 investigations that will occur during Expeditions 39 and 40. Dragon will carry four powered cargo payloads in its
pressurized section and two in its unpressurized trunk, a first for SpaceX. Dragon will return with about 3,600 pounds of
cargo, which includes crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, science experiments, biotechnology, and space
station hardware.
Falcon 9 will deliver five CubeSats to orbit as part of the CRS-3 mission, contained in four Poly Picosatellite
Orbital Deployers (P-PODs).

Exciting Highlights:

Falcon has Legs!!!

more info here and here

photo credit: SpaceX

photo credit: SpaceX

SpaceX Stats Page

The launch will be webcast live, with commentary from SpaceX corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, at and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at

Press Kit can be found here



Everyone is talking about a few photos snapped of a Falcon 9 with landing legs at the McGregor testing facility. No not the Grasshopper. Well perhaps Grasshopper 2 or 1.1 or even F9R. See the comparison to Grasshopper below.


new snapshot shown beside the Grasshopper for comparison


photo credit: Jim Howard

F9 Sprouts Legs (click to enlarge)

F9 Sprouts Legs (click to enlarge)

These are the legs we saw on the floor at the SpaceX facility last year

click to enlarge - image tweeted by Elon Musk

click to enlarge – image tweeted by May 2013 Elon Musk

These are the retractable/extendable legs.

Will an upcoming flight sport the new legs?
Hopefully we will here more from SpaceX on this soon. Stay tuned.


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