Space news


CRS-3onthepad

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

UPDATE:

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.

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Watch Launch: www.nasa.gov/nasatv or spacex.com/webcast

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

codenasa

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

LINK TO NASA SOFTWARE CODE

crs3-patch

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.  “

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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

LINKS:
SpaceX Stats Page
spacex.com
twitter.com/elonmusk

The launch will be webcast live, with commentary from SpaceX corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, at

spacex.com/webcast and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Press Kit can be found here

 

F9-legs-installed

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.

grasshopper2

new snapshot shown beside the Grasshopper for comparison

hover2_base_processed

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.

 

Excellent Video

Great images from the latest SpaceShipTwo flight.

1-10-14 flight    image:Virgin Galactic

1-10-14 flight click to enlarge
image:Virgin Galactic

1-10-14 flight image:Virgin Galactic

1-10-14 flight click to enlarge
image:Virgin Galactic

Read more here

Antares on pad

Antares on pad

UPDATE:

Orbital’s Antares rocket has launched its first Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission, lofting the Cygnus spacecraft on a mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The launch of ORB-1/CRS-1 from Orbital’s Wallops Island base occurred at the opening of the launch window, at 1:07 pm Eastern (18:07 UTC).

 

UPDATE: 

Orb-1 Launch for Jan. 8 Has Been Scrubbed
January 8, 2014 – 9:14 AM EST

 

Early this morning, Orbital Sciences Corp. decided to scrub today’s launch attempt of the Antares rocket and the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on the company’s first resupply mission to the International Space Station due to an unusually high level of space radiation that exceeded constraints imposed on Antares. (solar X-class flare)

If a launch can be scheduled for Thursday, the targeted launch time would be 1:10 p.m. EST, with Cygnus arriving at the ISS Sunday morning, Jan. 12, for a grapple at 6:02 a.m. EST. If a launch can be conducted Thursday, NASA TV coverage would begin at 12:45 p.m. EST.

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How to see Antares Launch

Orbital Sciences Commercial Resupply Launch

Mission: Orbital 1 Commercial Resupply Services flight
Launch Vehicle: Antares
Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility
Launch Pad: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A
Date: NET Jan. 8, 2014   Jan 9, 2014
Description: Orbital 1 will be the first commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station by Orbital Sciences.

Here is the latest 2014 Launch Manifest for SpaceX

YEAR* CUSTOMER LAUNCH VEHICLE
2014
2014 ORBCOMM CAPE CANAVERAL
2014 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS – FLIGHT 3 CAPE CANAVERAL
&

FALCON 9

2014 ORBCOMM CAPE CANAVERAL
2014 FALCON HEAVY DEMO FLIGHT VANDENBERG
2014 ASIASAT CAPE CANAVERAL
2014 ASIASAT CAPE CANAVERAL
2014 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS – FLIGHT 4 CAPE CANAVERAL
&

FALCON 9

2014 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS – FLIGHT 5 CAPE CANAVERAL
&

FALCON 9

2014 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS – FLIGHT 6 CAPE CANAVERAL
&

FALCON 9

2014 SPACE SYSTEMS/LORAL CAPE CANAVERAL
2014 THALES ALENIA SPACE (TURKMENISTAN) CAPE CANAVERAL
2014 DSCOVR (USAF) CAPE CANAVERAL
2014 CONAE (ARGENTINA) VANDENBERG
2014 ASIA BROADCAST SATELLITE/SATMEX CAPE CANAVERAL

more here

Just came across this great video of the landing of Chang’e-3.

…and here is a great color photo of the Yutu rover

Yutu rover on surface after deployment

Yutu rover on surface after deployment

At 5:41 pm ET today the Falcon 9 1.1 roared ( and I do mean roared) into the sky carrying the SES 8 Commercial TV satellite into orbit. The flight was quite spectacular. The separation of the 1st stage was followed by second stage ignition and then re-ignition and controlled return fire of the first stage.  This was quite visible in the broadcast video of the event. It will be interesting to hear how the recovery of the first stage went.

jump here for the separation and re-ignition as the first stage falls away (moves out of sight in video at 3:33)

UPDATE:  Great view taken by someone in Orlando – great video of 1st stage firing control jets after separation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muWftxDkl8g

At 1:28 p.m. EST, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, beginning a 10-month journey to Mars orbit. MAVEN will take critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet's history. -NASA

At 1:28 p.m. EST, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, beginning a 10-month journey to Mars orbit. MAVEN will take critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet’s history. -NASA

credit: NASA

credit: NASA

Sierra Nevada Corporation drop tested the Dream Chaser spacecraft from a helicopter on Saturday. Preliminary reports indicate that it suffered some damaged while landing. It is unclear what was the extent of the damage. Some reports even said the vehicle flipped after the landing gear failed. The official report follows:

Sparks, NV – October 26, 2013 – Today, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) performed its first free-flight approach-and-landing test of the Dream Chaser® spacecraft. The vehicle successfully released from its carrier aircraft, an Erickson Air-Crane helicopter, as planned at approximately 11:10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Following release, the Dream Chaser spacecraft automated flight control system gently steered the vehicle to its intended glide slope. The vehicle adhered to the design flight trajectory throughout the flight profile. Less than a minute later, Dream Chaser smoothly flared and touched down on Edwards Air Force Base’s Runway 22L right on centerline. While there was an anomaly with the left landing gear deployment, the high-quality flight and telemetry data throughout all phases of the approach-and-landing test will allow SNC teams to continue to refine their spacecraft design. SNC and NASA Dryden are currently reviewing the data. As with any space flight test program, there will be anomalies that we can learn from, allowing us to improve our vehicle and accelerate our rate of progress. Please continue to monitor, www.SNCDreamChaser.com, for more information.” -Sierra Nevada Corp.

Latest and highest flight from point of view of the Hexacopter

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