Spacewatch: SpaceX reuses rocket to launch north American satellite

The SpaceX Falcon 9 lifting off in Florida on 11 October this year. Photograph: SpaceX/flickr

SpaceX set a brisk pace this week, with two successful launches of the Falcon 9 rocket. The second launch by the company – whose chief executive is its billionaire founder, Elon Musk – re-used a previously flown first stage booster, increasing confidence that SpaceX could deliver re-useable rockets and so drive down launch costs.

The first launch took place on 9 October. The rocket lifted off from the Vandenberg airforce base in California at 05:37 PDT (12:37 GMT). It placed 10 communications satellites in a 400-mile-high orbit for Iridium, the telecommunications company.

Iridium runs a constellation of telecommunications satellites. This launch is the first of eight launches scheduled that will place 75 satellites in orbit for the company.

On 11 October a second Falcon 9 rocket lifted off, this time from Kennedy Space Centre, in Florida. The launch took place at 18:53 EDT (22:53 GMT), and carried a larger communications satellite into orbit for SES and EchoStar.

This second launch was notable because it re-used a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage. This part of the rocket first launched last February when it boosted a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station; it then flew back and soft landed in Florida for re-use. This booster has now landed back on Earth again, several hundred miles from Cape Canaveral on a drone ship.

Reusing significant spacecraft components is the key to SpaceX’s business model of reducing launch costs. After each flight this week all the first stages returned safely to Earth.

These launches bring the total of SpaceX launches this year to 15, establishing the company as a leading player in the satellite launch market. In September, Musk declared his intention to use his rockets to colonise Mars.

[“Source-theguardian”]

SpaceX Dragon Returns From ISS With Chinese Experiment

SpaceX Dragon Returns From ISS With Chinese Experiment

HIGHLIGHTS
Dragon brought back the first Chinese experiment ever to visit the ISS
The spacecraft is returning more than 1,860kg of cargo
It wrapped up SpaceX’s 11th contracted cargo re-supply mission for NASA
SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft returned to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday, bringing back the first Chinese experiment ever to visit the orbiting laboratory.

The unmanned spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 8:12am EDT (5:42pm IST) – about five hours after leaving the space station. It wrapped up SpaceX’s 11th contracted cargo re-supply mission for the US space agency NASA, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed — completing first re-flight of a commercial spacecraft to and from the @Space_Station,” the California-based company tweeted.

Dragon is returning more than 1,860kg of cargo, including science samples from human and animal research, biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities.
One of the science samples was the first-ever Chinese experiment brought to the space station, which is fully commercial, under an agreement with Houston-based NanoRacks, which offers services for the commercial utilisation of the orbiting laboratory.

The experiment from the Beijing Institute of Technology was aimed at studying the effects of the space radiation environment on DNA and the changes in mutation rate.

“Everything went according to our plan. All the data sent back looks good,” Professor Deng Yulin, who led the Chinese experiment, was quoted as saying.

Deng said he will soon fly to Florida, where a ceremony of transfer of the experiment between NanoRacks and his team is scheduled for Friday.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook’s Internet Satellite on Board

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook's Internet Satellite on Board

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook’s Internet Satellite on Board
HIGHLIGHTS
The explosion destroyed the Israeli communications satellite
Mark Zuckerberg disapointed over SpaceX’s launch failure
The accident is the second of its kind since SpaceX was founded in 2002
An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a test in Florida on Thursday, destroying a satellite that Facebook planned to use to beam high-speed internet to Africa.

The blast at Cape Canaveral – though it caused no injuries – marks a setback for the California-based private space firm and its founder, internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, who wants to revolutionize the launch industry by making rocket components reusable.

“Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation,” Musk tweeted. “Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.”

Dramatic footage broadcast by ABC News showed the rocket burst into a roaring ball of flame amid what appeared to be a succession of blasts – sending its payload tumbling to the ground as a dense plume of black smoke filled the air.

“At approximately 9:07am ET (13:07 GMT), during a standard pre-launch static fire test for the Amos-6 mission, there was an anomaly at SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 resulting in loss of the vehicle,” the firm said.

“Per standard operating procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”
But the explosion destroyed the Israeli communications satellite that the Falcon 9 was due to deliver into orbit on Saturday — drawing a dismayed reaction from Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.

“As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent,” Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page.

Facebook was contracted to use the Amos-6 to provide broadband internet coverage for large parts of sub-Saharan Africa and other remote parts of the world as part of the social media giant’s Internet.org initiative.

“Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well,” Zuckerberg said, referring to the solar-powered plane being developed by Facebook to make the internet available in remote areas.

“We will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”

European satellite operator Eutelsat – Facebook’s partner in the project – said in a statement it was committed to expanding broadband access in Africa despite the loss of the Amos-6.

Heaviest payload
A Nasa spokeswoman told AFP that emergency services at the nearby Kennedy Space Center were monitoring the situation and conducting air quality tests to ensure there is no threat to the health of staff.

Officials at the center advised workers to remain inside until further notice, but Brevard County Emergency Management said there was no threat to the public from the incident.

The Amos-6 was the heaviest payload to date for a SpaceX rocket, with an estimated value of between $200-300 million (roughly Rs. 1,337 crores to Rs. 2,004 crores), according to John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

The accident – the second of its kind since SpaceX was founded in 2002 – comes just over a year after a Falcon 9 rocket failed after liftoff on June 28 2015, destroying a Dragon cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

Before that, SpaceX had logged 18 successful launches of the Falcon 9 – including six of 12 planned supply missions to the ISS carried out as part of a $1.6 billion (roughly Rs. 10,696 crores) contract with Nasa.

It had carried out another eight successful launches since June 2015, including last month when a Falcon 9 successfully placed a Japanese communications satellite in orbit, and then landed intact on a floating drone ship.

(Also see: SpaceX Propels Cargo to Space Station, Lands Rocket)

Before then the firm lost several rockets as it attempted to land them upright on an ocean platform at the end of a flight — a crucial part of its strategy for reusable spacecraft.

‘Valuable experience’
While the blast is likely to disrupt SpaceX plans for six more launches between now and January 2017, experts made clear that such incidents are a normal part of the space learning curve.

“It’s clearly a setback, but how great the setback is and how long the delay, it’s impossible to know until there is more information available,” said Logsdon.

He noted that the launch pad damaged on Thursday was distinct from the one that will serve to launch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, intended to ferry astronauts to the ISS starting in late 2017.

Nasa said in a tweet that Thursday’s SpaceX explosion “reminds us that spaceflight is challenging. Our partners learn from each success & setback.”

Loizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy at Warwick Business School, said such setbacks were par for the course – and would not affect SpaceX’s stated long-term goals of slashing the cost of space flight through the use of reusable rockets, and eventually colonizing Mars.

“SpaceX is gathering valuable experience, and each accident brings lessons on how to enhance the integrity of the craft for future missions,” he said.

“Given that SpaceX is working to provide Nasa with a way to transport not just cargo, but also astronauts to the International Space Station, it is especially crucial that such learning takes place before that happens.”

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Tags: SpaceX, Falcon 9, Elon Musk, Facebook, Science, Internet

[“Source-Gadgets”]

SpaceX Postpones Rocket release After ‘Tiny Glitch

SpaceX Postpones Rocket Launch After 'Tiny Glitch

SpaceX on Thursday postponed the release of an Asian communications satellite after detecting a “tiny glitch” inside the Falcon 9 rocket engine, CEO Elon Musk said.

there has been a tiny glitch inside the motion of an upper degree engine actuator,” Musk stated on Twitter.

probable not a flight hazard but nonetheless well worth investigating.”

the following strive at launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida could be Friday at the earliest, the pinnacleof the California-based totally agency stated with out specifying a time.

The missions pursuits to propel the Thaicom 8 satellite tv for pc to a far off orbit some 22,250 miles (35,800 kilometres) from Earth.

The satellite tv for pc, built by way of Orbital ATK, will offer broadcast and information services to South Asia and Southeast Asia.

After launch, SpaceX plans to move the tall part of the rocket – known as the primary degree – to an upright touchdown on a platform floating in the Atlantic Ocean, but it cautioned that the rate and heatconcerned make the prospect of achievement uncertain.

“As with other missions going to geostationary orbits, the first level will be problem to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, creating a a success landing tough,” SpaceX said in a statement.

The outcome of the go back strive is typically made public with the aid of SpaceX inside half of an hour of the release.

SpaceX has efficaciously landed its rockets on strong ground and on the floating barge, called a dronedeliver.

Musk desires to revolutionize the launch industry by using making rocket additives reusable, tons theidentical manner as business airplanes.

currently, pricey rocket parts are jettisoned into the sea after each launch.

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Tags: Elon Musk, Orbital ATK, technology, area, SpaceX