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Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-22, 01:02 PM
I just found this update on the SpaceX website (http://www.spacex.com/updates.php) via Transterrestrial Musings (http://www.transterrestrial.com/archives/2008/09/try_try_again_3.html).

Flight 4 of Falcon 1

As mentioned in my update last month, we do expect to conduct a launch countdown in late September as scheduled.

Having said that, it is still possible that we encounter an issue that needs to be investigated, which would delay launch until the next available window in late October. If preparations go smoothly, we will conduct a static fire on Saturday and launch sometime between Tuesday and Thursday (California time).

The SpaceX team worked hard to make this launch window, but we also took the time to review data from Flight 3 in detail. In addition to us reviewing the data, we had several outside experts check the data and conclusions. No flight critical problems were found apart from the thrust transient issue.

Go!

cjameshuff
2008-Sep-23, 12:09 AM
Hope this one's a success. The second launch came so close before the fuel swirl issue grew beyond its control, and the third...when I saw that first stage bounce back up around the bell before second stage ignition, I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

Any idea why they didn't use accelerometers to determine when to separate?

ravens_cry
2008-Sep-23, 04:34 PM
Interesting note for any lurking or non lurking Apollo Hoax Conspiracy Theorists. Notice how the exhaust spreads out, and becomes nearly invisible, and the lack of sound near the end.

samkent
2008-Sep-23, 07:19 PM
It's great how they can diagnose the problem and get back to the pad in a few short months. Instead of months of hearings and billions of dollars.

But I’ll still bring the weenies to the next launch. Who will bring the marshmellos?

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-23, 07:37 PM
I just saw this on Transterrestrial Musings (http://www.transterrestrial.com/archives/2008/09/no_launch_tonig.html):

No Launch Tonight
Just got an email from Elon:

The static fire took place on Saturday [20 Sep 2008, CA time], as expected, and no major issues came up. However, after a detailed analysis of data, we decided to replace a component in the 2nd stage engine LOX supply line. There is a good chance we would be ok flying as is, but we are being extremely cautious.

This adds a few extra days to the schedule, so the updated launch window estimate is now Sept 28th through Oct 1st [CA time].

So if they hold to that schedule, the fourth Falcon 1 launch attempt could be early next week.

MaDeR
2008-Sep-28, 11:34 AM
They are SO stubborn... ;)

www.spacex.com/F1-004.php
spaceflightnow.com/falcon/004/080927preview.html

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-28, 12:51 PM
See previous thread on the flight (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/79157-flight-4-falcon-1-a.html). Glad to see they're going to try again tonight.

KaiYeves
2008-Sep-28, 04:37 PM
But they're stubborn in the good way!

Nicolas
2008-Sep-28, 05:39 PM
If you can't stand failures, don't start a space launch company. Sell rabbit cages instead, they have a lesser tendency to explode halfway through their mission.

That said, I hope this attempt is a success, because if you don't strive for successes, you shouldn't start a space launch company :).

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 06:36 PM
update on the SpaceX website (http://www.spacex.com/updates.php)


Falcon 1 is currently cleared for liftoff sometime between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. (California time) tomorrow, Sunday September 28th. Of course, if we see anything that requires investigation, the launch will be postponed, but we’ll let you know as soon as we know. As with prior flights, you can access the webcast from the SpaceX site: www.spacex.com

SpaceX Website (http://www.spacex.com/)
SpaceX: Falcon 1 Flight 4 Blog (http://www.spacex.com/F1-004.php)

Start of 5-hour launch window:
September 28, 1600 PDT, Sunday
September 28, 1900 EDT, Sunday
September 28, 2300 UTC, Sunday

Less that 4-1/2 hours to start of launch window

cjameshuff
2008-Sep-28, 10:18 PM
If you can't stand failures, don't start a space launch company. Sell rabbit cages instead, they have a lesser tendency to explode halfway through their mission.

Interestingly, they haven't had a single explosion, to my knowledge...one engine fire and first stage abort, one late second stage instability leading to an abort, and one rather unusual incident where the stages separated and then came back together just before the second stage ignited, causing loss of control. That last one may have ended in explosion, but I had the impression it just went into a tumble and shut off.

Not long to go...

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 10:30 PM
Falcon 1 Flight 4 Webcast (http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php) is getting underaway.

Elevator music, so far...

The live video displays:


T - 00:45:00

Text:


The live feed is scheduled to begin at 3:30pm PDT.

That would be about now.

Video graphic says "Webcast to begin at 3:45 Pacific" -- about 15 minutes from now.

KaiYeves
2008-Sep-28, 10:33 PM
Go Falcon 1!

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:01 PM
According to the Falcon 1 Flight 4 Webcast (http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php):

T - 00:15:00

15 minutes to launch (depending on built-in holds)

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:11 PM
5 minutes to launch

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:16 PM
Liftoff

Falcon 1 away

(And BAUT painfully slow)

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:18 PM
2 minutes in

BAUT's OK, but that video player sucks up all my cycles. Piece of junk.

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-28, 11:19 PM
Clean staging, 2nd stage is burning!

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-28, 11:19 PM
Fairing separation.

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:20 PM
Separation.

2nd stage OK

(Video player on standard instead of high quality is nicer.)

4 minutes in

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:23 PM
7 minutes in

all nominal

about 3 minutes remaining in 2nd stage burn

nozzle glowing red as it should

8755

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-28, 11:25 PM
Loss of signal. Hope for the best.

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:25 PM
9 minutes in

loss of signal

not a big concern

1 minute to shutdown

slang
2008-Sep-28, 11:25 PM
Awesome so far..

SECO!

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-28, 11:26 PM
Signal back, second stage shut down. Looks like it made it.

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:26 PM
SECO

in orbit

history

10 minutes in

slang
2008-Sep-28, 11:27 PM
Congrats SpaceX. Well done!

01101001
2008-Sep-28, 11:58 PM
International Herald Tribune: Rocket successfully launched from South Pacific (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/09/28/business/NA-US-Rocket-Launch.php)


An Internet entrepreneur's latest effort to make space launch more affordable paid off Sunday when his commercial rocket carrying a dummy payload was lofted into orbit.
[...]
The Hawthorne, California-based rocket maker was started by multimillionaire Elon Musk, who made his fortune as co-founder of the PayPal Inc. electronic payment system.

The rocket carried a 364-pound (165-kilogram) dummy payload designed and built by SpaceX for the launch.
[...]
Falcon 1, a 70 foot (21 meter) rocket powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene, is the first in a family of low-cost launch vehicles priced at $7.9 million each.

Besides the Falcon 1, SpaceX is developing for NASA a larger launch vehicle, Falcon 9, capable of flying to the international space station when the current space shuttle fleet retires in 2010.

Lukas
2008-Sep-29, 12:19 AM
Yay! Congratulations spacex!

(and grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I missed it by an hour!! Is there any video up yet?)

cjameshuff
2008-Sep-29, 02:00 AM
Yay! Congratulations spacex!

(and grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I missed it by an hour!! Is there any video up yet?)

I opened up the webcast just after separation, just minutes too late to see the whole thing. After repeatedly searching the site for any sign of when and where it'd be, and finally finding it in this thread. And still no video. They could definitely manage their site a little better...but the important thing is: success! Congratulations to SpaceX, and good luck with the upcoming Falcon 9 launch.

Jerry
2008-Sep-29, 03:40 AM
Posted September 28, 2008 - 16:31 PDT

Coast phase telemetry is transmitting as expected.

Elon Musk, founder and CEO/CTO is addressing the employees of SpaceX in the background.



Posted September 28, 2008 - 16:26 PDT

T+0:08:21 Falcon 1 reached orbital velocity, 5200 m/s

Nominal Second stage cut off (SECO) - Falcon 1 has made history as the first privately developed liquid fueled launch vehicle to achieve earth orbit!!!!!!

Congrats spacex!

ryanmercer
2008-Sep-29, 10:57 AM
That was pretty cool. Congrats to SpaceX!

BetaDust
2008-Sep-29, 11:18 AM
Very well done!!!! Nice work SpaceX!

01101001
2008-Sep-29, 05:30 PM
Is there any video up yet?

YouTube: Falcon 1 - Flight 4 - September 28, 2008 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To-XOPgaGsQ) (video, about 10 minutes)

Glitchy, probably off web. (Edit: text says it's official from SpaceX; I guess the glitches run deep.)

It's fun hearing the big background cheer at 1st-stage separation, around 2:40 in.

Nicolas
2008-Sep-29, 05:41 PM
165kg into orbit for less than 8 million, that's nice.

And in 40 years, we'll all fall off our chairs laughing when reading this statement again...

Congrats SpaceX!

Nicolas
2008-Sep-29, 05:44 PM
Interestingly, they haven't had a single explosion, to my knowledge...one engine fire and first stage abort, one late second stage instability leading to an abort, and one rather unusual incident where the stages separated and then came back together just before the second stage ignited, causing loss of control. That last one may have ended in explosion, but I had the impression it just went into a tumble and shut off.

Not long to go...

Hyperbole, oh mighty hyperbole... ;)

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-29, 07:24 PM
From SpaceX, cost and capability to LEO:

Falcon 1 (http://www.spacex.com/falcon1.php): $7.9 million to launch 420 KG. Cost: $18,810/KG
Falcon 1e (2010): $9.1 million to launch 1010 KG. Cost: $9009/KG

Now, here's where things get more interesting.

Falcon 9 (http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php): $36.75 million to launch 12,500 KG. Cost: $2950/KG

Falcon 9 Heavy (http://www.spacex.com/falcon9_heavy.php): $94.5 million to launch 29,610 KG to LEO. Cost: $3191/KG

Small boosters are almost always expensive on a KG to orbit basis. The Falcon 9 has the potential to be much less expensive than other boosters while the Heavy version (if ever built) offers a pretty big payload capacity for the money.

Compare that Falcon 9 Heavy cost with a big booster like the Titan IV (which cost over $15 billion to develop): 17,700 KG to LEO at $400 million per flight. It's hard to find good price data for the Atlas V and Delta IV vehicles but odds are they're much more expensive than the Falcon equivalents.

V_Zhd
2008-Sep-29, 07:43 PM
Fantastic news after the disappointment of the previous attempts. With this coming only a day after China's spacewalk, it's starting to feel like a new space race.

bunker9603
2008-Sep-29, 08:31 PM
We live in exciting times. Some day our grandchildren will read about these events in their history books. Congratulations SpaceX!

ravens_cry
2008-Sep-29, 11:16 PM
Combine this with Jet Guys channel crossing,and its starting to feel like 2008, the way it was supposed to be.
Welcome to the 21 centaury, baby!

KaiYeves
2008-Sep-30, 01:37 AM
Welcome to the 21 centaury, baby!
Double ditto!

Mr. Musk, you rock!

Nicolas
2008-Sep-30, 03:44 PM
Add to that that in the short future, Virgin Galactic will start flying, and that in a few years time we'll visit Pluto, and are returning to the moon, manned! The late seventies finally have arrived. :)

Warren Platts
2008-Sep-30, 05:24 PM
From SpaceX, cost and capability to LEO:

Falcon 1 (http://www.spacex.com/falcon1.php): $7.9 million to launch 420 KG. Cost: $18,810/KG
Falcon 1e (2010): $9.1 million to launch 1010 KG. Cost: $9009/KG

Now, here's where things get more interesting.

Falcon 9 (http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php): $36.75 million to launch 12,500 KG. Cost: $2950/KG

Falcon 9 Heavy (http://www.spacex.com/falcon9_heavy.php): $94.5 million to launch 29,610 KG to LEO. Cost: $3191/KG

Small boosters are almost always expensive on a KG to orbit basis. The Falcon 9 has the potential to be much less expensive than other boosters while the Heavy version (if ever built) offers a pretty big payload capacity for the money.

Compare that Falcon 9 Heavy cost with a big booster like the Titan IV (which cost over $15 billion to develop): 17,700 KG to LEO at $400 million per flight. It's hard to find good price data for the Atlas V and Delta IV vehicles but odds are they're much more expensive than the Falcon equivalents.
So the Falcon 9 Heavy could be a substitute for the Ares I. How fast can they get it ready?

NEOWatcher
2008-Sep-30, 05:28 PM
So the Falcon 9 Heavy could be a substitute for the Ares I. How fast can they get it ready?

How much risk are you willing to endure for the astronauts safety?

Warren Platts
2008-Sep-30, 05:40 PM
How much risk are you willing to endure for the astronauts safety?
A 1.5% risk of death per flight.

NEOWatcher
2008-Sep-30, 05:44 PM
A 1.5% risk of death per flight.
Ok, I think that's high, but it was a rhetorical question anyway.

There's still open issues (thus more rhetorical questions)
How do we determine Falcon 9 risk, especially since the non-human early flights of the falcon 1 design didn't go to well?
How long would it take to design a capsule fitted for human flight on the Falcon 9? At what cost?

Warren Platts
2008-Sep-30, 06:09 PM
Ok, I think that's high, but it was a rhetorical question anyway.That's the safety record of the Space Shuttle and Soyuz.


There's still open issues (thus more rhetorical questions)
How do we determine Falcon 9 risk, especially since the non-human early flights of the falcon 1 design didn't go to well?
The first step will be to build one.


How long would it take to design a capsule fitted for human flight on the Falcon 9? At what cost?I don't know. It's probably a stupid idea. Sorry I mentioned it.

NEOWatcher
2008-Sep-30, 06:19 PM
That's the safety record of the Space Shuttle and Soyuz.
Yeah; I'm not too crazy about those records either. But; that's what we've had. :rolleyes:

The first step will be to build one.Brilliant! :D

I don't know. It's probably a stupid idea. Sorry I mentioned it.
Nah, just an idea with many unknowns. I know there's plenty of stuff I'm missing too, but it's all about discussion, isn't it?

Warren Platts
2008-Sep-30, 07:23 PM
Actually, SpaceX is apparently still on schedule to deliver a Falcon 9 (http://www.spacex.com/launch_manifest.php) to Cape Canaveral this year as part of the COTS program. Their Dragon manned capsule can carry up to 7 people. It's not out of the question that their system could be flying people before Ares/Orion does.

Larry Jacks
2008-Sep-30, 07:55 PM
Yes, they're developing their Dragon (http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php) capsule (both unmanned and manned versions) to be carried on thier Falcon 9. It wouldn't even need the Heavy version.

Dragon Highlights:
- Fully autonomous rendezvous and docking with manual override capability in crewed configuration
- Pressurized Cargo/Crew capacity of >2500 kg and 14 cubic meters
- Down-cargo capability (equal to up-cargo)
- Supports up to 7 passengers in Crew configuration
- Two-fault tolerant avionics system with extensive heritage
- Reaction control system with 18 MMH/NTO thrusters designed and built in-house; these thrusters are used for both attitude control and orbital maneuvering
- 1200 kg of propellant supports a safe mission profile from sub-orbital insertion to ISS rendezvous to reentry
- Integral common berthing mechanism, with LIDS or APAS support if required
- Designed for water landing under parachute for ocean recovery
- Lifting re-entry for landing precision & low-g’s
- Ablative, high-performance heat shield and sidewall thermal protection

They're planning two unmanned test Dragon flights next year. If all goes well, the manned version could be operating years before Ares I/Orion and for a tiny fraction of the cost. If that happens, Congress should be asking NASA some very pointed questions about the Ares I/Orion program.

Warren Platts
2008-Oct-01, 01:40 AM
Yes, they're developing their Dragon (http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php) capsule (both unmanned and manned versions) to be carried on thier Falcon 9. It wouldn't even need the Heavy version.

Dragon Highlights:
- Fully autonomous rendezvous and docking with manual override capability in crewed configuration
- Pressurized Cargo/Crew capacity of >2500 kg and 14 cubic meters
- Down-cargo capability (equal to up-cargo)
- Supports up to 7 passengers in Crew configuration
- Two-fault tolerant avionics system with extensive heritage
- Reaction control system with 18 MMH/NTO thrusters designed and built in-house; these thrusters are used for both attitude control and orbital maneuvering
- 1200 kg of propellant supports a safe mission profile from sub-orbital insertion to ISS rendezvous to reentry
- Integral common berthing mechanism, with LIDS or APAS support if required
- Designed for water landing under parachute for ocean recovery
- Lifting re-entry for landing precision & low-g’s
- Ablative, high-performance heat shield and sidewall thermal protection

They're planning two unmanned test Dragon flights next year. If all goes well, the manned version could be operating years before Ares I/Orion and for a tiny fraction of the cost. If that happens, Congress should be asking NASA some very pointed questions about the Ares I/Orion program.

Awesome! I agree! They should give the contract to SpaceX for routine LEO access (but they've got to put a standard docking unit on the Dragon, I would think. If the current one is too heavy, perhaps Elon and Bigelow can get together and invent a new standard like the way Microsoft did it.) and focus on the Ares V--so that NASA can get back into the exploration business.

PraedSt
2008-Oct-01, 07:15 AM
Congrats SpaceX. Nice one.

But I still want SSTO!!

Sigh...

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-05zy.html

Nicolas
2008-Oct-01, 10:01 AM
Why do you want SSTO?

PraedSt
2008-Oct-01, 10:08 AM
Childhood dreams of course :)

But seriously now, we only stage because we have to, not because we want to. Don't we?

cjameshuff
2008-Oct-01, 01:26 PM
Childhood dreams of course :)

But seriously now, we only stage because we have to, not because we want to. Don't we?

Staging is cheaper and less wasteful. The same engine will perform differently in an atmosphere of ambient pressure vs. near vacuum, and there's a large amount of mass in the first stage fuel tank that you don't need to haul into orbit, so leaving them behind as you leave the atmosphere really makes a lot of sense. A SSTO vehicle cuts much closer to what's physically possible, increasing cost and reducing engineering margins, and lifts less payload than a staged vehicle of equivalent mass.

The SpaceX approach of using a 2 stage vehicle and recovering and reusing the first stage (which is on a suborbital trajectory and experiences much lower stresses than orbital reentry) seems ideal for the foreseeable future. A SSTO might be more like various sci-fi spaceships, but what I want is cheap access to space, not expensive copies of vehicles from sci-fi stories.

Larry Jacks
2008-Oct-01, 01:26 PM
We stage because carrying all of the mass needed for launch into orbit is too inefficient with today's technology. This is determined by the rocket equation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation).

Assume an exhaust velocity of 4.5 km/s and a Δv of 9.7 km/s (Earth to LEO).

SSTO rocket: 1 − e − 9.7 / 4.5 = 0.884, therefore 88.4 % of the initial total mass has to be propellant. The remaining 11.6 % is for the engines, the tank, and the payload. In the case of a space shuttle, it would also include the orbiter.

Two stage to orbit: suppose that the first stage should provide a Δv of 5.0 km/s; 1 − e − 5.0 / 4.5 = 0.671, therefore 67.1% of the initial total mass has to be propellant. The remaining mass is 32.9 %. After disposing of the first stage, a mass remains equal to this 32.9 %, minus the mass of the tank and engines of the first stage. Assume that this is 8 % of the initial total mass, then 24.9 % remains. The second stage should provide a Δv of 4.7 km/s; 1 − e − 4.7 / 4.5 = 0.648, therefore 64.8% of the remaining mass has to be propellant, which is 16.2 %, and 8.7 % remains for the tank and engines of the second stage, the payload, and in the case of a space shuttle, also the orbiter. Thus together 16.7 % is available for all engines, the tanks, the payload, and the possible orbiter.

For the foreseeable future, you just can get there from here SSTO. Staging increases the mass fraction to orbit substancially. The first stage's job is to get the rest of the rocket to some specified altitude and velocity. It's then discarded. The upper stage(s) can be made much smaller to take the payload the rest of the way into orbit.

PraedSt
2008-Oct-01, 01:36 PM
Yeah, I know staging is a necessity right now.

But come on; given an 'expensive copy of a sci-fi vehicle' who amongst us would not grin? :)

CJSF
2008-Oct-01, 02:55 PM
I am pleased to see they made it to orbit, but I am bugged by the fact they only sent a "simulated" separation command. It's almost as if they're BEGGING for another "simple" failure when they try to deliver a satellite.

CJSF

Larry Jacks
2008-Oct-01, 04:58 PM
Perhaps they think that keeping it together will speed orbital decay due to the larger surface area for the mass. Plus, they effectively just created a new piece of space junk with their test launch. Performing an actual separation would've created at least 2 (the rocket body and the payload) piece of space junk.

CJSF
2008-Oct-01, 06:12 PM
My point was, I think, that they "assume" the separation will work. Given what's happened with their launches so far, I think it's a bit ... silly, I guess. But I can't wait to see the 9s launching from the Cape!

CJSF

Torg
2008-Oct-01, 06:18 PM
I can hardly wait for the falcon 9 - That one looks pretty impressive, both in its stats and looks =D

cjameshuff
2008-Oct-01, 06:40 PM
My point was, I think, that they "assume" the separation will work. Given what's happened with their launches so far, I think it's a bit ... silly, I guess. But I can't wait to see the 9s launching from the Cape!

Flights 1 and 3 never got to the point where separation was possible. Flight 2 shut the second stage down before reaching orbit, but did successfully deploy the simulated payload. So far, they've had no undesired separations and no failed separations...even if they didn't all *stay* separated...

MaDeR
2008-Oct-01, 07:16 PM
Do you want hear what says my crystal ball?

Next Falcon 1 flight with RazakSAT successful. Serious problem with maiden flight of Falcon 9, COTS demos delayed at least half year, next flight of Falcon 9 will succeeded. Reuse of first stage of Falcon 1 still problematic as of 2010. Prices for launch went up a lot.

My fear: they will not manage to keep price down. Without that, they will be like Pegasus or other old.space companies. Normal (high) prices = no "revolution" in access to space. Time to search for new space geek with load of money to waste!

KaiYeves
2008-Oct-01, 10:09 PM
I can hardly wait for the falcon 9 - That one looks pretty impressive, both in its stats and looks =D
Plus, it will be the official launch vehicle of the Google Lunar X-Prize!

bunker9603
2008-Oct-02, 02:00 AM
Does anyone know how the Spacex launch price of 7.9 million would compare to a NASA launch of a similar scale?

slang
2008-Oct-02, 08:30 AM
I think Elon Musk said SpaceX launch prices were about a third of similar rockets from others. Slightly biased source, of course :)

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-02, 08:49 AM
One source described the four stage solid fueled Scout rocket as being about 10 million. Judging from the weights of the satellites that it launched as stated in Wikipedia, rather less then the Falcon 1. And the Scout was described as the 'poor mans rocket'.
The Falcon must then be the Scrooge Special. :D

CJSF
2008-Oct-02, 11:15 AM
Flights 1 and 3 never got to the point where separation was possible. Flight 2 shut the second stage down before reaching orbit, but did successfully deploy the simulated payload. So far, they've had no undesired separations and no failed separations...even if they didn't all *stay* separated...

You're missing my point. I just mean that not actually separating the "spacecraft" is the "type" of thing that seems to go wrong for them. It's partly just a gut feeling on my part, I admit, so let's lay this to rest. :)

In any case, this is a great acheivement and I look forward to many more successes for SpaceX.

CJSF

Larry Jacks
2008-Oct-02, 12:56 PM
Does anyone know how the Spacex launch price of 7.9 million would compare to a NASA launch of a similar scale?

NASA doesn't launch satellites for others. They aren't allowed to launch commercial satellites from the Shuttle following a rule change after the Challenger explosion. They continued to launch DoD satellites for a time but that ended by the early 1990s. If NASA needs something launched on an expendable booster, they go to a commercial company like Boeing or Lockheed-Martin.

djellison
2008-Oct-02, 02:30 PM
Analogous payload lift would be with Pegasus ( the air launched vehicle ).

That's $30m according to Wiki - but such figures are very hard to find reliable sources for. Astronautix says $11m in 1994 ( which would be $16m now )

KaiYeves
2008-Oct-03, 02:58 AM
The present is the dream of the past.

Swift
2008-Oct-03, 03:18 PM
I heard something on National Public Radio this morning that the president of SpaceX was going to be on the afternoon show (I think its called Fresh Air) this afternoon at 3 pm (I assume EST).

Larry Jacks
2008-Oct-09, 07:42 PM
I just checked the SpaceX site and found an update on Flight 4 (http://www.spacex.com/updates.php#Update100708).

Posted October 7, 2008

A week spent reviewing data has confirmed that the flight went really well, including the coast and restart. The mood here at SpaceX is just ecstatic! This is the culmination of six years of hard work by a very talented team. It is also a great relief for me, who led the overall design of the rocket (not a role I expected to have when starting the company). I felt a little sheepish receiving the AIAA award for the most outstanding contribution to the field of space transportation two weeks before this flight.

Orbit was achieved with the first burn terminating at 330.5 km altitude and 8.99 degree inclination. The goal for initial insertion was a 330 km altitude and a 9.0 degree inclination, so this was right on target! Accuracy far exceeded our expectations, particularly given that this was the first time Falcon 1 reached orbit.

The primary purpose of the second burn was to test the restart capability and then burn as long as possible. The upper stage coasted for 43.5 minutes and then burned for 6.8 seconds, which is 4 seconds longer than needed to circularize. Most of the burn was actually done sideways to avoid creating a highly elliptical orbit, hence a change in inclination to 9.3 degrees. The final orbit, confirmed by US Space Command, was 621 km by 643 km.

...

The next flight of Falcon 1 is tentatively scheduled for March next year and will carry a Malaysian primary satellite, as well as US government secondary satellites, to near equatorial orbit. Flight 6 will probably be a Defense Department satellite in the summer and Flight 7 a commercial satellite mission in the fall. In 2010, I expect the launch cadence for Falcon 1 to step up to a mission every two to three months.

They also have a good 4 minute video (http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=31) that includes some footage that wasn't seem during the live coverage of the launch. 2009 sounds like a breakthrough year for SpaceX. They're talking about 3 Falcon 1 launches and at least 2 Falcon 9 launches carrying the Dragon capsule. Sweet!

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-09, 08:19 PM
A problem I potentially see with the Falcon 9 is similar to the problems of the failed Soviet N1 booster. Getting lots of little rockets to run at once is no easy task. Of course, big rocket engines have there own problems.
Can someone explain all the condensation on the camera lens?

djellison
2008-Oct-09, 09:06 PM
The Falcon 9 has 11 fewer engines than a Soyuz, and is fault tolerant.

Doug

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-09, 09:14 PM
Thanks for the clarification. That still means however the Falcon 9 Heavy will have 7 more then the Soyuz. I should have been more clear. Still, that is encouraging. But what exactly do you mean by 'fault tolerant'?

djellison
2008-Oct-09, 10:07 PM
An engine can detonate its way to destruction, and the other 8 will pick up the job and still complete the mission.

Doug

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-09, 10:10 PM
Oh I see, like in Apollo 13, when the center engine cut off prematurely, correct? That is even more encouraging. Thank you. This won't be simple, it is never simple, but my hopes are raised, thank you.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2008-Oct-09, 11:48 PM
The Falcon 9 has 11 fewer engines than a Soyuz, and is fault tolerant.

Doug

<nitpick>The Soyuz launcher only has 5 engines operating at launch. The RD-107 and RD-108 engines each have four thrust chambers fed by a common turbopump (plus two or four vernier thrusters, respectively). Multiple thrust chambers are not the same as multiple engines.</nitpick>

Swift
2008-Oct-10, 06:33 PM
They also have a good 4 minute video (http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=31) that includes some footage that wasn't seem during the live coverage of the launch. 2009 sounds like a breakthrough year for SpaceX. They're talking about 3 Falcon 1 launches and at least 2 Falcon 9 launches carrying the Dragon capsule. Sweet!
Very cool video. I don't recall similar videos showing an engine bell during firing. It was neat watching the glow of the second stage engine and seeing how quickly it cooled down when they stopped it.

djellison
2008-Oct-13, 09:21 AM
<nitpick>

Nitpick away - that's interesting stuff I didn't know about the Soyuz.

djellison
2008-Oct-13, 09:26 AM
I don't recall similar videos showing an engine bell during firing.

Some of the Delta IV vids have it (not the heavy, but the others)

http://eclipticenterprises.com/gallery_rocketcam.php

Launch window
2008-Oct-13, 11:42 AM
congratulations must be given to the SpaceX team and Elon Musk for their desire and determination. These people are on their way to having a successful rocket but I think they have a few serious hurdles to overcome yet. A number of claims need to be debunked, at this moment this is hardly a successful rocket a ~75% fail rate is not something to be proud of. Of course Soyuz is politically unpopular with the Russia-Georgia thing and with the Shuttle gap looming there is a possibility Falcon can win contracts trucking payloads to the ISS or maybe Falcon can go another route and win some of those lucrative defense contracts but whatever the venture Falcon private ventures will not a true competitor for price. The International stage is set to get very competitive, the Europeans have a reliable rocket yet are overpriced but cheaper launch services from India, China are getting in on this commercial game and the trusty Soyuz a project of the Soviets and backed by the Russian government(not private sector) will continue to offer more payload for a cheaper cost. Elon is a good sales pitcher but we need to see past the smokescreens because I for one find his claims of being able to put people on Mars for under 10 million to be absolutely ludicrous

djellison
2008-Oct-13, 12:35 PM
his claims of being able to put people on Mars for under 10 million to be absolutely ludicrous

Errr - what? When/where has ANYONE made a claim like that?

Larry Jacks
2008-Oct-13, 12:58 PM
Elon is a good sales pitcher but we need to see past the smokescreens because I for one find his claims of being able to put people on Mars for under 10 million to be absolutely ludicrous

Show me where he ever said that. I'm very skeptical, if for no other reason than he's pricing a single flight of his Falcon 9 (without the Dragon capsule) at about $30 million.

Second, it's true that so far, the Falcon 1 has failed 3 out of 4 launch attempts. However, this isn't uncommon for a new launch vehicle. I read years ago that when the Soviets were developing the Soyuz booster, it failed repeatedly over the first 30 flights or so but then went on to become one of the most reliable (and most successful, IMO) boosters ever made. Early Atlas missiles and boosters weren't very reliable and neither were the Thors (predecessor to the Delta line). A lot of Titans failed, too. Even as recently as the Delta III (0 out of 3 attempts), failures happened. Fortunately, engineers learn from failure. All of the problems identified in the first 3 Falcon flights were fixed in subsequent flights. In all probability, SpaceX will suffer additional failures but they're getting better all the time.

cjameshuff
2008-Oct-13, 02:25 PM
Show me where he ever said that. I'm very skeptical, if for no other reason than he's pricing a single flight of his Falcon 9 (without the Dragon capsule) at about $30 million.

I agree. That's just a couple million more than the price of a Falcon 1 launch, of about 600 kg to LEO. I have never heard anything like a "man on Mars for $10 million" claim.



All of the problems identified in the first 3 Falcon flights were fixed in subsequent flights. In all probability, SpaceX will suffer additional failures but they're getting better all the time.

And they were simple failures...material specification on some nuts led to corrosion in the salty atmosphere at Omelek, control algorithms needed tuning to handle fuel slosh in an emptying upper stage (they may have added larger baffles as well), and in the latest failure, there was a simple lack of data on the shutdown behavior of a new first stage engine in near vacuum. None of the required a major redesign or change. As a system, it works.

Launch window
2008-Oct-13, 02:47 PM
Errr - what? When/where has ANYONE made a claim like that?

I agree. That's just a couple million more than the price of a Falcon 1 launch, of about 600 kg to LEO. I have never heard anything like a "man on Mars for $10 million" claim.

Show me where he ever said that. I'm very skeptical, if for no other reason than he's pricing a single flight of his Falcon 9 (without the Dragon capsule) at about $30 million.



The Alt.spacers (or perhaps Neo-spacemen or NewSpacers or whatever they call themselves these days) have been making all kinds of ludicrous claims ever since NASA announced its support for COTS. Don't get me wrong the private sector can make great contributions and I feel Elon Musk is one of the more decent, bankable people among a group of less trustworthy sales men but Elon is still a salesman and as much as some of us here dislike big government sometimes big government projects a necessary evil when it comes to big things like national road transport, education, and more importantly for this topic : space exploration
I remember Elon implying at a Mars Society speech in March flights could be launch to the red planet for single million dollar figures. In an interview with the washingtonpost again he implies he can do it for a few million bucks, in an interview with London's telegraph he mentions a launch price of 6.7 $ miillion and again he implies this kind of project will eventually take us to Mars. In September 08 on his own spacex website he states if he can improve "reusability", he thinks he can get the cost per person to orbit "down to a few million dollars"

djellison
2008-Oct-13, 03:02 PM
In September 08 on his own spacex website he states if he can improve "reusability", he thinks he can get the cost per person to orbit "down to a few million dollars"

That's entirely accurate. $37m for a Falcon 9. If you can offset the cost of the 7 person Dragon Capsule, against reusability of the Falcon 9 - then you're down t. <$6m/person.

However, I still doubt your claim that he at any point said he could send people to mars for a few million dollars.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2008-Oct-14, 09:31 PM
Nitpick away - that's interesting stuff I didn't know about the Soyuz.

You're welcome. ;)

The reason why they use a multi-chambered engine is because the engine designer Valentin Glushko was having trouble with combustion instability when he tried to scale-up an advanced German design. But by dividing the thrust between four smaller chambers (each roughly the size of the V-2 engine) the problem became manageable.

Four-chamber designs kept cropping up in more recent Energomash engines, such as the RD-170/171 used in the Energia strap-on boosters and Zenit launcher. It's possible that Glushko just wasn't good at solving instability problems in large combustion chambers.

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-15, 03:21 AM
I wonder if the Soviet engineers ever could have gotten the N1 reliably working. I am no engineer myself, but the final tests before the program was canceled seemed like they were starting to get the bead on it.

cjameshuff
2008-Oct-20, 02:14 AM
I wonder if the Soviet engineers ever could have gotten the N1 reliably working. I am no engineer myself, but the final tests before the program was canceled seemed like they were starting to get the bead on it.

They didn't get the rocket as a whole working reliably, but they developed some very nice engines for it...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NK-33

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-20, 06:46 AM
Wow, sweet piece of engineering there. Thanks. I hope that bird gets to fly, it seems a shame too see such beauty go to waste. As for men and woman working Falcon in all its iterations, good work, and best hopes for the future.