Category Archives: Mars

FH Launch in (( STEREO ))

This is really cool. It’s true – the sound is even more mind blowing than the imagery.

Listen with headphones.

https://youtu.be/ImoQqNyRL8Y

But … as impressive as the sound of the video above is with headphones on … you still miss the full body sensation of your innards vibrating from the low frequency rumble. Perhaps listening with headphones AND a really powerful sub-woofer?

360 Launch Video

Everyday Astronaut (Tim Dodd) has posted his 360 degree video of his experience three miles away from the Falcon Heavy launch. He is standing exactly where I was at the final Saturn V launch of Skylab. This is very nostalgic for me and I understand the emotions he must have been feeling.

You can watch it here in full 360 degrees: https://youtu.be/tBhuSTXMCaI *

Tim is doing a fantastic job covering SpaceX and spaceflight in general. His videos are simultaneously highly informative – and – entertaining! His enthusiasm is contagious.

Please check out Tim’s home page (https://everydayastronaut.com) and his YouTube channel.

You can support him via Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/EverydayAstronaut)

Also be sure to check out his online shop (https://everydayastronaut.com/shop/)

If you have not already done so, check out A Blast (off) From My Past  for an accounting of my experience at the Saturn V launch, some 45 years ago.

Related: https://contrafactual.com/2018/02/06/a-blast-off-from-my-past-2/

* I tried to embed the video, but WordPress and/or iOS Safari wouldn’t support 360 in the embedded version.

Synchronized Landing

Unless you have been living under a rock, you now know that yesterday SpaceX accomplished something spectacular. That being the launch and partially successful landing of the Falcon Heavy boosters and the delivery of “Starman” in Elon Musk’s vintage cherry red Tesla Roadster. Both side boosters landed successfully back at the Cape as shown below. Unfortunately the core section failed to initiate the final landing burn and crashed next to the recovery drone ship. YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter are replete with coverage and discussion.

I have selected a few choice (short) videos below for your enjoyments.

Note that even though the bottom videos from the returning side boosters shown above are supposed to be from each individual booster, someone goofed and we see the same video stream displayed on the left and right. SpaceX corrected this with a later video, but that is not currently available on YouTube.

Below is one of the better spectator videos of the landings. (There are many)

Let the New Space Race begin!

SpaceX 2018

Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX speaking at TAMEST 2018 Annual Conference AEROSPACE on the FRONTIER OF COMMERCIAL SPACEFLIGHT.

Also note that today SpaceX successfully relaunched a previously launched F9 booster to place the GOVSAT-1 satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (http://www.spacex.com/webcast) This is the second launch this year. UPDATE – first stage was not intended to land on a drone ship but survived the water landing (“This rocket was meant to test very high retrothrust landing in water so it didn’t hurt the droneship, but amazingly it has survived. We will try to tow it back to shore.” https://mobile.twitter.com/elonmusk/status/958847818583584768)

FRONTIER OF COMMERCIAL SPACEFLIGHT

Note the last video shown is appears to be the first concept 2016 “ITS” video, NOT the 2017 somewhat scaled back “BFR” video.

Falcon Heavy is scheduled to launch this upcoming Tuesday February 6.

SpaceX Texas

Ran into a guy a few weeks back wearing an Occupy Mars T-shirt and asked him if he worked for SpaceX. Turns out he was a machinist at the McGregor facility. I shook his hand and thanked him for keeping the dream alive. He protested saying he was just a machinist and I told him that every job mattered in building rockets.

I actually tried to visit the McGregor facility a few years ago on a road trip back from Denver. They had just installed the new guard shack at the entrance and they turned me away. Apparently you can schedule a tour in advance but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. I suspect they have the occasional “open house” for the local residents of McGregor.

Second time is the charm

SpaceX successfully launches CRS-10 from LC-39A | Falcon 9 first stage lands at LZ-1 

Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Airforce Station

 

Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A, the southern most of the two most northerly pads) with SpaceX modifications 


 


Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1 formerly LC-13 midway down ICBM road )


LC-39A launch

 

Aerial view of LZ-1 landing

 

Full coverage with some SpaceX provided historical clips

 
Links

Aerial snapshots from Apple Maps (TOMTOM)

Welcome to the Future – the revolution will be Tweeted 



Reusability | SpaceX

SpaceX will be returning to flight on January 8th.

From http://www.spacex.com/news/2016/09/01/anomaly-updates

SpaceX is targeting return to flight from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) with the Iridium NEXT launch on January 8. SpaceX greatly appreciates the support of our customers and partners throughout this process, and we look forward to fulfilling our manifest in 2017 and beyond.

In preparation for the next launch, we present for your enjoyment and enlightenment a series of videos summarizing the five year history of SpaceX Falcon 9 reusability.

Enjoy …

I never get tired of watching this. It 60s Sci-Fi realized at last.

Related

https://contrafactual.com/2016/12/26/iridium-next/

(not) MARS

It’s always wise to test what you are about to do – in advance. If you want want to live on Mars, isolated, create some kind of HAB module on Earth. Test that in advance. ~ Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mars, Episode 5 / Season 1 (13:20)

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/mars/

 

HI-SEAS (Hawaii)

http://hi-seas.org/

https://youtu.be/ZOyI9EKLnSk

Apply to be a crew member

Media Kit (PDF)

 

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

http://mdrs.marssociety.org/

 https://youtu.be/AcfqeYzetko

 

https://youtu.be/vnZ8T5EnGQA

 

Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS)

http://fmars.marssociety.org/
 

MARS | NatGeo Channel

On November 14, the National Geographic Channel will debut the the new mini-series MARS by executive producer Ron Howard. MARS is a novel alternation of fiction and documentary featuring commentary by Elon Musk, Andy Weir, Robert Zubrin, and other experts on Mars and space flight.

But why wait until November 14? You can stream the prequel BEFORE MARS and the first episode NOVO MUNDO right now (below). You can also watch THE MAKING OF MARS with Ron Howard and other short videos – behind the scenes and other related videos.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/mars/videos/before-mars/

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/mars/videos/novo-mundo/

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/mars/

 
This is great stuff! Watch it. Seriously. I mean it. 

 

The Martian 3D

I just saw The Martian in 3D on the wide screen.

Excellent. Seriously excellent. The cinematography was superb. So was the acting. Although there was scrupulous attention paid to the scientific and technological aspects, it did not in any way overshadow the human drama. There was humor. There was frustration. There was elation. Aspects of Apollo 13 and Castaway were strong. There were even reminisces of 2001 A Space Odyssey (without the monolith, monkey men, or crazed computer). I would see this again in the theater.

I previously posted that I had listened to the unabridged audio book. The movie was true to the book, somehow condensing 10hr 53min down to 2hr 21min without loosing anything. Yes, yes the book goes into much more detail on the underlying science and isolation of Mark Watney, but you can read the book later.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D


  


  

  

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D

  

  

http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-martian

SpaceX | CRS-7 Investigation Update

Via email

 
  

CRS-7 Investigation Update

On June 28, 2015, following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight, resulting in loss of mission. This summary represents an initial assessment, but further investigation may reveal more over time.

 
Prior to the mishap, the first stage of the vehicle, including all nine Merlin 1D engines, operated nominally; the first stage actually continued to power through the overpressure event on the second stage for several seconds following the mishap. In addition, the Dragon spacecraft not only survived the second stage event, but also continued to communicate until the vehicle dropped below the horizon and out of range.

 
SpaceX has led the investigation efforts with oversight from the FAA and participation from NASA and the U.S. Air Force. Review of the flight data proved challenging both because of the volume of data —over 3,000 telemetry channels as well as video and physical debris—and because the key events happened very quickly. 

 
From the first indication of an issue to loss of all telemetry was just 0.893 seconds. Over the last few weeks, engineering teams have spent thousands of hours going through the painstaking process of matching up data across rocket systems down to the millisecond to understand that final 0.893 seconds prior to loss of telemetry.

 
At this time, the investigation remains ongoing, as SpaceX and the investigation team continue analyzing significant amounts of data and conducting additional testing that must be completed in order to fully validate these conclusions. However, given the currently available data, we believe we have identified a potential cause.

 
Preliminary analysis suggests the overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank was initiated by a flawed piece of support hardware (a “strut”) inside the second stage. Several hundred struts fly on every Falcon 9 vehicle, with a cumulative flight history of several thousand. The strut that we believe failed was designed and material certified to handle 10,000 lbs of force, but failed at 2,000 lbs, a five-fold difference. Detailed close-out photos of stage construction show no visible flaws or damage of any kind.

 
In the case of the CRS-7 mission, it appears that one of these supporting pieces inside the second stage failed approximately 138 seconds into flight. The pressurization system itself was performing nominally, but with the failure of this strut, the helium system integrity was breached. This caused a high pressure event inside the second stage within less than one second and the stage was no longer able to maintain its structural integrity. 

 
Despite the fact that these struts have been used on all previous Falcon 9 flights and are certified to withstand well beyond the expected loads during flight, SpaceX will no longer use these particular struts for flight applications. In addition, SpaceX will implement additional hardware quality audits throughout the vehicle to further ensure all parts received perform as expected per their certification documentation.
As noted above, these conclusions are preliminary. Our investigation is ongoing until we exonerate all other aspects of the vehicle, but at this time, we expect to return to flight this fall and fly all the customers we intended to fly in 2015 by end of year.  

 
While the CRS-7 loss is regrettable, this review process invariably will, in the end, yield a safer and more reliable launch vehicle for all of our customers, including NASA, the United States Air Force, and commercial purchasers of launch services. Critically, the vehicle will be even safer as we begin to carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017.

 
This message was sent from SpaceX to xxx It was sent from: emily@spacex.com, SpaceX, 1 Rocket Road, Hawthorne, CA 90250. If you would like to modify or update your subscription, please do so via the “Manage Your Subscription ” link below. For more information on SpaceX, please visit http://www.spacex.com

How We’ll Live on Mars

In the same way we can draw a line from Wernher von Braun straight to Apollo 11, when a spaceship carrying astronauts lands on Mars in 2027, we may well be able to draw a line straight to Elon Musk—because that Mars lander will most likely have the SpaceX logo on it.

Musk is arguably the most visionary entrepreneur of our time. Seven years after he quit a PhD program in applied physics at Stanford University, he sold his share of PayPal and Zip2, companies he cofounded, giving him a reported net worth of $324 million. He rolled his money into Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a company he founded in 2002, then went on to cofound Tesla Motors, which is poised to revolutionize the automobile world. He is a devout environmentalist and proponent of solar energy—his Teslas can literally be driven on sunlight. In 2013, Musk proposed a unique high-speed transportation system in a vacuum tube called Hyperloop, which he put into the public domain. A Hyperloop tube running between Los Angeles and San Francisco could reduce travel time to thirty minutes.

Musk formed SpaceX just when it seemed as if NASA was slipping into irrelevance. Like von Braun, he is a transplant, in this case from South Africa and Canada. Musk, like von Braun, is a perfectionist who is convinced of his vision and determined to achieve it. And as with von Braun, no one seems to understand how serious Musk is when he says we must get to Mars. Against all advice and all odds, he has managed to do the impossible: find enough capital to finance Space Exploration Technologies and to keep it afloat and moving forward even when its first three rockets blew up. Along the way, he has raised a truly revolutionary question: Who needs NASA to get to Mars?

 
Excerpt From: Petranek, Stephen. “How We’ll Live on Mars.” TED Conferences LLC. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.

 
Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/5DUPZ.l

Also available from Amazon and all of the usual sources.

  

 
I am currently reading … and listening … to this book (via Audible.com).

Rocket Man

The Summer of Reblogs Series

 

Rocket Man – a short story
Copyright © 2014 by Christian Bergman, All rights reserved.

All people, places, and events are fictional … except when they aren’t.

  

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it’s cold as hell. – Elton John, Bernie Taupin (1972)

 

Rocket Man, burning out his fuse, out here alone.” I recall the lyrics of the ancient Elton John song that has become the anthem of our profession, as I prepare for our deorbit burn. “Pressurizing the primary fuel loop … now,” I call out to my copilot.

“Roger that. Pressures coming up nicely,” Sam replies. “Prepping the igniters. I have New Masdar on the com. They have us in the flyway.”

“Roger that. Double-check the voltage on main B bus. I don’t like what I’m seeing.”

“It’s on the low-end of nominal, but within tolerance. It should get us home.”

“Okay, bringing reserve batteries online. Request NAV fix.”

“Patching in NAV from New Masdar”

“Got it. Ten minutes to ignition,” I confirm. “Better notify our passengers.”

Continue reading … 

Happy Aniversary

To me …

  

The Martian | Andy Weir

 

  

OK 

I had my joke

Time to be serious.

This is one fine book. I am listening to it on audio book from Audible.com

  

Eleven hours

Unabridged

I like audio books. Easy on the eyes. Accessible while driving to and from work. Multi-tasking friendly. 

Whether in hardcover, paperback, eBook, iBook, or audio book … READ THIS BOOK. Unless of course you hate science fiction. (Why would anyone hate science fiction?)

The Martian is in the same class as Apollo 13Castaway, and Gravity. It is a satisfying survival/rescue story replete with lots of techie goodness, human compassion, bureaucratic assholery, and will-to-survive. Prior to seeing the movie trailer, I was unaware of this book. The movie, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon is looking better and better.

http://andyweirauthor.com

http://andyweirauthor.com/books/the-martian-hc

  

  

Martian Glaciers

  

Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson

  

Ice on Mars: Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

Date:  April 8, 2015

Source:  University of Copenhagen – Niels Bohr Institute

Summary:

Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers.

“We have calculated that the ice in the glaciers is equivalent to over 150 billion cubic meters of ice — that much ice could cover the entire surface of Mars with 1.1 meters of ice. The ice at the mid-latitudes is therefore an important part of Mars’ water reservoir,” explains Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408102701.htm



  

http://shop.spacex.com/tshirts/occupy-mars-t-shirt.html

18 companies driving the new space age

Excellent article on the future of space travel. Includes companies I’ve never heard of as well as my old favorites.

ideas.ted.com

Xaero. Stratolauncher. Atlas V. Dream Chaser. If you built a spaceship, wouldn’t you name it something awesome too? These four spacecraft, and many more, are detailed in a recent report in which NASA examines the evolving landscape of spaceflight. As the authors admit, the space agency’s own budgets are shrinking, so companies and individuals are critical to the growing space economy. Take a look at these 18 firms, both established and entrepreneurial, that NASA thinks might help lead our space-bound charge.


Blue Origin
Spacecraft: New Shepard; Bionic Spacecraft

The 18 companies driving the new space age | ideas.ted.com

Owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin is all about lowering the cost of spaceflight so that many more humans can head to space. For now, this long-term effort means developing reusable launch vehicles that use Vertical Takeoff, Vertical Landing (VTVL) technology. The firm’s New Shepard system will carry three astronauts to conduct experiments in suborbital space; plans include launching an orbital program to push past Earth’s gravity. Image…

View original post 1,399 more words

X Marks the Spot

Via email from


 

X Marks the Spot:  Falcon 9 Attempts Ocean Platform Landing

During our next flight, SpaceX will attempt the precision landing of a Falcon 9 first stage for the first time, on a custom-built ocean platform known as the autonomous spaceport drone ship. While SpaceX has already demonstrated two successful soft water landings, executing a precision landing on an unanchored ocean platform is significantly more challenging.

The odds of success are not great—perhaps 50% at best. However this test represents the first in a series of similar tests that will ultimately deliver a fully reusable Falcon 9 first stage.

Video of previous first stage reentry test with soft water landing

 

Returning anything from space is a challenge, but returning a Falcon 9 first stage for a precision landing presents a number of additional hurdles. At 14 stories tall and traveling upwards of 1300 m/s (nearly 1 mi/s), stabilizing the Falcon 9 first stage for reentry is like trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm.

To help stabilize the stage and to reduce its speed, SpaceX relights the engines for a series of three burns. The first burn—the boostback burn—adjusts the impact point of the vehicle and is followed by the supersonic retro propulsion burn that, along with the drag of the atmosphere, slows the vehicle’s speed from 1300 m/s to about 250 m/s. The final burn is the landing burn, during which the legs deploy and the vehicle’s speed is further reduced to around 2 m/s.

Landing legs deployed just before soft water landing in the Atlantic Ocean

To complicate matters further, the landing site is limited in size and not entirely stationary. The autonomous spaceport drone ship is 300 by 100 feet, with wings that extend its width to 170 feet. While that may sound huge at first, to a Falcon 9 first stage coming from space, it seems very small. The legspan of the Falcon 9 first stage is about 70 feet and while the ship is equipped with powerful thrusters to help it stay in place, it is not actually anchored, so finding the bullseye becomes particularly tricky. During previous attempts, we could only expect a landing accuracy of within 10km. For this attempt, we’re targeting a landing accuracy of within 10 meters.

A key upgrade to enable precision targeting of the Falcon 9 all the way to touchdown is the addition of four hypersonic grid fins placed in an X-wing configuration around the vehicle, stowed on ascent and deployed on reentry to control the stage’s lift vector. Each fin moves independently for roll, pitch and yaw, and combined with the engine gimbaling, will allow for precision landing – first on the autonomous spaceport drone ship, and eventually on land.

Similar steerable fins can also be seen in this test video:

The attempt to recover the first stage will begin after stage separation, once the Dragon spacecraft is safely on its way to orbit. The concept of landing a rocket on an ocean platform has been around for decades but it has never been attempted. Though the probability of success on this test is low, we expect to gather critical data to support future landing testing.

A fully and rapidly reusable rocket—which has never been done before—is the pivotal breakthrough needed to substantially reduce the cost of space access. While most rockets are designed to burn up on reentry, SpaceX is building rockets that not only withstand reentry, but also land safely on Earth to be refueled and fly again. Over the next year, SpaceX has at least a dozen launches planned with a number of additional testing opportunities. Given what we know today, we believe it is quite likely that with one of those flights we will not only be able to land a Falcon 9 first stage, but also re-fly.

http://www.spacex.com