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Thread: SpaceX

  1. #1351
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    Now being reported that Zuma has been lost. May not have separated from the second stage. I did notice an odd delay in announcing fairing separation.
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  2. #1352
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    Once they got the bugs and procedures worked out, they make it look almost ludicrously easy. I mean, obviously it's not, but damn if they don't make it look it!
    They might have hit a roadblock. There are rumours (see my post in number of launches in 2018) Zuma might not have made it to orbit.

    As reported by Trebuchet above as well.

  3. #1353
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    CNBC is now reporting it might have been lost'

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/08/high...ex-launch.html

    A highly classified U.S. government satellite appears to have been totally lost after being taken into space by a recent launch from Elon Musk's SpaceX, according to a new report.

    Dow Jones reported Monday evening that lawmakers had been briefed about the apparent destruction of the secretive payload — code-named Zuma — citing industry and government officials

    The payload was suspected to have burned up in the atmosphere after failing to separate perfectly from the upper part of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the report said.

    According to Dow Jones, the absence of official word on the incident means that there could have been another chain of events.

    The missing satellite may have been worth billions of dollars, industry officials estimated to the wire service.

  4. #1354
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    Is this top secret payload lost or is it "lost"?

    And why is this top secret US government payload named after the President of South Africa?

  5. #1355
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    Is this top secret payload lost or is it "lost"?

    And why is this top secret US government payload named after the President of South Africa?
    Lots of joking (I hope) comments on news sites along the lines of "That's what THEY want you to think".
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  6. #1356
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    About the "possibly worth billions". Ignoring the useless "possibly" in the case of a top secret payload nobody knows any details of, is that "billions" to design number one or "billions" to build an identical number two? Not stating that huge difference makes the whole statement even more meaningless.

  7. #1357
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    Is this top secret payload lost or is it "lost"?

    And why is this top secret US government payload named after the President of South Africa?
    No scare/irony quotes needed. It is impossible to hide a satellite in orbit. If it reached orbit, someone would see it. It's impossible to hide where the launch was taking it - millions could see it and visually track it from the ground to narrow down the insertion orbit. That's not how spy satellites "work". Their locations are known, it's their missions that are held secret. This most likely was actually put in an unusable orbit with no way to get to a workable one, or it re-entered somewhere if what has been suggested (but not confirmed by SpaceX, as far as I know) is true: that spacecraft separation didn't occur.

    CJSF
    Last edited by CJSF; 2018-Jan-09 at 09:34 PM. Reason: spelling
    "A scientific theory
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    And when a theory emerges
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    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


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  8. #1358
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    SpaceX is in no position to comment on details of failure mode (or the occurrence of failure at all) on a secret government payload. They just stated that as far as they are concerned, their part of the mission went as planned. The spacecraft a, fairing and adapter were Northrop Grumman, not SpaceX. So any fault in those parts would be "not my problem" for SpaceX. And vice versa for the rest of the launcher and N-G.

    The second stage has been observed in an apparently normal return at the expected time and place, so it doesn't appear as if a significantly wrong orbit was reached and certainly not second stage destructive failure.

  9. #1359
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    SpaceX is in no position to comment on details of failure mode (or the occurrence of failure at all) on a secret government payload. They just stated that as far as they are concerned, their part of the mission went as planned. The spacecraft a, fairing and adapter were Northrop Grumman, not SpaceX. So any fault in those parts would be "not my problem" for SpaceX. And vice versa for the rest of the launcher and N-G.

    The second stage has been observed in an apparently normal return at the expected time and place, so it doesn't appear as if a significantly wrong orbit was reached and certainly not second stage destructive failure.
    The fairings were SpaceX's (the whole delay was because they found potential issues during fairing testing for another customer), but I read somewhere that Northrop did the final integration and encapsulation...no idea how accurate that was. However, the fairing separation was observed from the ground.

    And the second stage returning at the expected location and time seems to indicate that not only did it reach the desired orbit without fairings weighing it down, but there wasn't a satellite attached at the time of the reentry burn. It's looking really hard to blame the launch vehicle for this, and I have yet to see anything but rumors doing so. This is looking more like the usual anti-SpaceX FUD.

  10. #1360
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    The fairings were SpaceX's (the whole delay was because they found potential issues during fairing testing for another customer), but I read somewhere that Northrop did the final integration and encapsulation...no idea how accurate that was. However, the fairing separation was observed from the ground.

    And the second stage returning at the expected location and time seems to indicate that not only did it reach the desired orbit without fairings weighing it down, but there wasn't a satellite attached at the time of the reentry burn. It's looking really hard to blame the launch vehicle for this, and I have yet to see anything but rumors doing so. This is looking more like the usual anti-SpaceX FUD.
    If what you heard is true than the satellite did get into orbit and it was a successful launch. And the reason it can not be observed by rader is the US military have found a way to make it invisible - the reason it cost billions to make.

  11. #1361
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    "it cost billions to make" is not backed up by anything other than people jumping to conclusions when Musk allegedly said it was the most important payload they ever launched. Now, that is a second hand quote from Musk, and then people translate "important" into "expensive" and "expensive" into "billions". In other words, there is absolutely no foundation behind that claim. Although it is not surprising that any advanced defence space assett would cost a billion or more.

    Just like we only have third hand rumours about the satellite being a failure. We have an official statement from SpaceX saying their part of the mission went as planned, we have visual confirmation that fairings separated and second stage re-entered where and how it was expected to do so. The rest is one big question mark. I don't know how different the return trajectory of S2 would be if the satellite was still connected to it.

    TL;DR: we know next to nothing. It may have failed, it may not have failed, but the number of realistic scenarios that put the blame on SpaceX appear to be very limited.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2018-Jan-10 at 09:02 AM.

  12. #1362
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    In the avalanche of rumours and anonymous sources, it might be valuable to summarize the official statements on this:

    SPACEX:
    "after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible."
    "Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule..."

    NORTHROP GRUMMAN:
    “This is a classified mission. We cannot comment on classified missions...”

    The statement from Northrop is understandable. SpaceX takes a very clear stance.

  13. #1363
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    I must have missed where there was a stage 2 "recovery" test? I know they didn't actually recover it, but it seems they did a controlled reentry of it as a first step? I know they plan on recovering as many parts as possible (including fairings), but I hadn't heard they maneuvered stage 2.

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


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  14. #1364
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    Which source claims a S2 recovery test?

    Some older articles claim they might try one on the upcoming FH test. But in case of Zuma, I understood it was a standard S2 return: venting fuel before atmospheric burn-up to avoid a potential explosion that could create an orbital debris field.

    They did a fairing recovery test on SES-10 in march 2017. The procedure is still under development.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2018-Jan-10 at 03:22 PM.

  15. #1365
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    A few posts up, there's a mention of the second stage returning where expected, and another about the return trajectory of the second stage. If that's normal ops, that's fine. I haven't been *that* into the launch operations (above watching from my yard when possible, and catching the rebroadcast launches on YouTube afterwards). Thanks for the clarification.

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

  16. #1366
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    I was indeed not implying recovery with that. It implies that the ballistic trajectory of the second stage was according to the (rough, due to atmospheric influence) predictions so it couldn't have ended up in a horribly wrong orbit. I don't know to what extent a satellite still attached to the stage would influence that trajectory.

  17. #1367
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    Wow - SpaceX has chantered an Antonov to transport its hardware.

    https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-eco...-hardware.html

    “SpaceX, a company that designs, manufactures, and launches rockets and spacecraft, has chartered Antonov to operate a flight transporting rocket payload fairing halves loaded on a shipping fixture and a trailer, plus ancillary parts and support equipment, from Los Angeles, California (LAX), to the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The unit that needs to be transported cannot be accommodated by any freighter aircraft operated by U.S. carriers. As a result, the fairing halves need to be transported using Antonov’s AN-124-100 aircraft,” the document says.

  18. #1368
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    AN-124's get used quite a lot for transporting oversized stuff. I've seen two of them at once at Boeing Field in Seattle, where they had landed with 777 engines for Boeing.
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  19. #1369
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    We have used an AN-124 to transport ship parts in the past. The crazy one is the AN-225 Mriya. The 124 is very large, but the 225 is insane.

  20. #1370
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    We have used an AN-124 to transport ship parts in the past. The crazy one is the AN-225 Mriya. The 124 is very large, but the 225 is insane.
    I've seen the 225 in person, when it was at Paine Field in Everett, WA, in transit to an air show. Paine is of course the location of Boeing's wide-body factory, where I was working at the time. They supposedly tried to get Boeing to send over a 747 to park next to it. Boeing didn't.

    The 225 is less than optimal for internal cargo, lacking either the nose or tail door of the 124. I forget which.
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  21. #1371
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    The 225 can't open its tail; the 124 can. It opens the nose in the same way as the 124: it goes through its knees and then rotates the entire front fuselage up.

    This only has influence on internal cargo that isn't as easy to move in one direction as in the other.

  22. #1372
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    Google, why dost thou leave me?

    Can anyone tell me if they will try the static fire of FH today?

  23. #1373
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    Spaceflight Now is calling for 4PM local time (2100 GMT) today.


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  24. #1374
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    Update: much like the Spanish Inquisition, the static fire test is not expected for today.

  25. #1375
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    No earlier than Friday, 2000 GMT.

  26. #1376
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    Any update to the test fire date?

  27. #1377
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    Florida Today says next try is today (Sat) at 5:30 PM ET.


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  28. #1378
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    Looks like Monday 22 Jan 18

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