30 thoughts on “醒悟”
Lo riferiscono gli attivisti, 4% perch?mai nessun presidente ?stato rieletto (da Carter a Bush padre) con un tasso superiore all’8%. Celentano non piace. Festeggia il centrosinistra: ? tesse de l
come anche ai cittadini comuni ?consentito fare” Quelque chose nous dit que Pippa pourrait bientt recevoir. da abbattere, Possibile che si diverta come un bambino in un labirinto di giochi e cerchi, Minnie Driver part
NARRATED ANIMATION PREVIEWING PALLET MOVE
03:00 AM…15…00…32…Daily video highlights reel on NASA TV
10:58 AM…14…08…30…Crew wakeup
“…because it’s not going to stop for you once you get it going.”
“We’re really glad we making humor up here because it alleviates some of the stress,” said station flight engineer Garrett Reisman. “Bob’s done a great job and we’re really happy for the MISSE investigators in that we were able to get these payloads installed for them because we know there’s a lot of good science to be had. I know they’ve been walking on eggshells watching all this, so everything’s good.”
05:28 AM…08…03…00…STS crew sleep begins
“Got a lot of mass,” Foreman finished.
TRAINING SESSIONS AT LAUNCH PAD AND BUNKER
STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: March 10, 2008The space shuttle Endeavour, carrying a crew of seven, a Japanese storage module and a high-tech Canadian robot with 11-foot-long arms, is on track for a sky lighting pre-dawn launch March 11 to kick off a marathon five-spacewalk mission to the fast-growing international space station.The Japanese module is the first of two that will make up an entire wing of the space station, a state-of-the-art addition that will complement U.S. and European research modules. But the assembly of Canada’s $209 million special purpose dextrous manipulator, or “Dextre,” represents the most complex task of Endeavour’s mission.Capable of manipulating objects as big as a phone booth and as small as a phone book, Dextre is an attachment for the station’s Canadian-built robot arm that, in effect, will give it a pair of hands capable of positioning components to within 2 millimeters and gripping them with as little as 1.5 pounds of force.”If you could picture what a praying mantis would look like, that’s what I liken Dextre to,” Linnehan said in a NASA interview. “I grew up with cartoons and sci-fi and there used to be this show on when I was a kid called ‘Gigantor, the Space Age Robot’ and so, you know, my pet name for Dextre is ‘Gigantor.’ It’s this giant robot with arms and out-riggers and all this equipment, with wrists and hands that actually move and can articulate itself all over the station.”Once assembled and attached to the station’s robot arm, Dextre, equipped with force-sensing grippers for hands, TV eyes, a tool pouch and sophisticated control software, can be operated by astronauts or flight controllers on the the ground to perform equipment swap outs that otherwise would require a spacewalk.”This is something we haven’t attempted before so it kind of goes toward exploration and new technology development,” said Dana Weigel, lead space station flight director at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “But the other piece of it is it will save EVA time. If you look at it, EVAs are risky. This will buy down some risk. If this buys back one or two EVAs, that’s certainly a good trade.”Joked astronaut Michael Foreman, who will help Linnehan build the robot: “As spacewalkers, we don’t want to put ourselves out of a job! But I think Dextre will be a boon to the space station when it gets built and put into work.”Along with installing the Canadian robot and Japan’s pressurized logistics module, the Endeavour astronauts also plan to ferry space station flight engineer Garrett Reisman to the lab complex and bring European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts back to Earth after six weeks in space.And in a milestone test scheduled for the crew’s fourth spacewalk, Foreman and Robert Behnken plan to test a caulk gun-like device, squirting a thick, heat-resistant pink goo known as STA-54 into deliberately damaged heat shield tiles to demonstrate a repair technique that could help a crippled shuttle make it through the heat of re-entry.The demonstration is one of the final in-flight tests of procedures developed in the wake of the 2003 Columbia disaster to give astronauts a fighting chance in case of major heat shield damage that might otherwise prevent a safe descent to Earth.”I consider it to be kind of the last thing we’re going to do on the return to flight tile and (wing leading edge) repair tasks that we took on,” said shuttle program manager John Shannon. “We have high confidence in it, but this will just be the final activity that we’ll do to verify that’s indeed a good repair capability.”While not a requirement, a successful test would give NASA added confidence about launching the shuttle Atlantis in late August on a final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, a flight that cannot take advantage of safe haven aboard the space station if major heat shield damage occurs.Along with transferring fresh water and supplies to the space station, the Endeavour astronauts also will temporarily store the shuttle’s 50-foot-long heat-shield inspection boom on the forward face of the station’s solar power truss for use by the crew of the next assembly mission. That flight will deliver the huge Japanese experiment module, or JEM, to the station and there is not enough room for the lab and the boom in Discovery’s cargo bay.”If you had to go to a drawing board and describe an exciting mission from scratch, I think you would come up with STS-123,” commander Dom Gorie said of Endeavour’s flight. “We’ve got everything on this mission that you can imagine, going to the space station, taking Garrett up there and dropping him off for another crew member, 16 days on orbit, five spacewalks, international hardware, a night launch, a night landing. It’s all there.”Launch is targeted for 2:28:12 a.m. EDT Tuesday, roughly the moment Earth’s rotation carries launch pad 39A into the plane of the space station’s orbit. Assuming an on-time launching, Gorie and pilot Gregory Johnson will guide Endeavour to a docking with the space station around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.The next day, Linnehan and Reisman will stage the first of the crew’s five planned spacewalks – a record for station assesmbly during a single shuttle flight – to prepare the new Japanese logistics module for installation and to begin putting Dextre together.Japan is supplying three critical components to the station, known collectively as Kibo, or Hope, in English. The centerpiece of the Japanese addition is the huge Japanese Experiment Module that will be bolted to the left side of the Harmony connecting module in late May. The smaller pressurized module carried aloft by Endeavour will serve as a logistics depot and ultimately will be mounted to a port on the lab module’s outboard upper end.Finally, a porch-like deck will be added next year for experiments that need access to the space environment. An airlock on the far end of the JEM, along with a sophisticated robot arm, will permit researchers to move experiments inside and out as required.Because of its sheer size, NASA is launching Kibo in stages. The pressurized logistics module delivered by Endeavour’s crew will be temporarily mounted on the Harmony module’s upper port the day after docking. Linnehan and Reisman will prepare the module for attachment to Harmony before beginning assembly of Dextre.Linnehan will be joined by Foreman for the Endeavour crew’s second spacewalk on March 15 and by Behnken for the third on March 17. The first two spacewalks are devoted to Dextre assembly while the third will be used to complete any unfinished work and to store spare parts on the station, including a joint for the station’s main robot arm and two power switching units.Behnken and Foreman will carry out the final two spacewalks on March 20 and 22 to replace a critical circuit breaker, test the “T-RAD” heat shield repair tool and to help mount the shuttle’s heat shield inspection boom on the station.Linnehan, a large animal veterinarian before becoming an astronaut, last flew in space aboard Columbia in 2002 when he helped service the Hubble Space Telescope. Working on Hubble, he said, was like performing surgery, “operating on a big beast and you go in and open it up. It’s like playing ‘Operation’ on a large scale, if you can remember that game we used to play when you were a kid.””With this mission, it’s much more physically strenuous,” he said. “This is like being a longshoreman in terms of the physical exertion and what happens with moving big pieces of the station around robotically and with humans. I would have to say this is a much more complicated mission than the Hubble mission was.”If all goes well, Endeavour will undock from the space station around 8 p.m. on March 24 and land back at the Kennedy Space Center around 8:35 p.m. on March 26.Endeavour’s mission is just the latest in a series of critical flights to the fast-growing space station.In a dramatic prelude, the European Space Agency successfully launched the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, or ATV, Saturday evening from Kourou, French Guiana, atop powerful Ariane 5 rocket. The ATV, carrying more than 10,000 pounds of equipment and supplies – about three times the cargo of an unmanned Russian Progress freighter – is scheduled to dock at the station April 3, after Endeavour is back on Earth.The Jules Verne is the first of at least five ATVs being built by EADS-Astrium for the European Space Agency as part of a $7 billion investment in the international space station project. That figure includes the cost of the ATV, ESA’s Columbus research module and the ground infrastructure required to operate them.”The ATV as a logistics vehicle carries almost three times the hardware and fuel and water and oxygen that a Progress can carry for us,” said Mike Suffredini, space station program manager for NASA. “So it is a major contribution to the program. Probably more significantly will be post 2010 when the shuttle is no longer available for us to do much of the logistics work it does. To me, that’s a key part of what the automated transfer vehicle brings to the program.”Said Daniel Sacotte, ESA’s Director for Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration: “Last month, with the docking of Columbus, Europe got its own flat in the ISS building. With the launch of the first ATV, we now have our own delivery truck. We have become co-owners of the ISS, now we are about to become fully-fledged partners in running it.”The Russians plan to follow the ATV docking with launch of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 8 to deliver two Russian cosmonauts – Sergey Volkov and Oleg Kononenko – to the space station to replace Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko.Reisman will take Eyharts’ place in the Expedition 16 crew and then serve with Volkov and Kononenko after Whitson and Malenchenko return to Earth April 19 along with a South Korean guest cosmonaut who will launch with Volkov and Kononenko. If all goes well, Reisman’s replacement – NASA astronaut Gregory Chamitoff – will be launched aboard the shuttle Discovery at the end of May when the Japanese Experiment Module is launched.At that point, the pressurized logistics module carried up by Endeavour and temporarily mounted atop the Harmony connecting module, will be moved and mounted on the far end of the JEM to serve as a sort of storage locker for the larger lab module.”We’re having kind of a growth spurt right now in terms of we’re finally getting the international partners on-line,” Linnehan said in a NASA interview. “It’s almost an exponential growth in space aboard the ISS in terms of scientific capability and also bringing in a larger crew with larger space, larger power capability with the new arrays that are up there. We’re able to put more modules (up) and we’re able to open up space. I think the JEM itself is about the size of a Greyhound bus. It’s a really big module. It’s going to give us a lot more operational space and I think once we have that happening with Columbus and all that, that’s when we’re going to be looking at increasing crew size and bringing people up and we’ll have a true multi-national crew on ISS.”The international nature of the space station project reflects a partnership that Reisman described as “really one of the most remarkable stories in the whole history of the space station program.””It’s a fantastic engineering feat, something unparalleled, really, in the history of engineering,” he said. “But on top of that, it’s also an amazing political achievement. The fact that we’ve gone through so many different administrations here in the United States, over in Russia and in Japan, Canada, it survived all of that, it held together, and it’s only strengthened over time as we’ve learned to work together.”So it’s very exciting now that we’re bringing in more partners on a day to day basis. These partners have always been with us, but now they’re getting their hands really dirty and being a real big contributor to the whole program. It’s a very exciting time.”Reisman, Gorie, Linnehan, Foreman and Behnken will be joined by pilot Gregory Johnson and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi, a shuttle veteran responsible for activating the new Japanese pressurized logistics module. Gorie is making his fourth shuttle flight as is Linnehan. Foreman, Behnken, Johnson and Reisman are space rookies.”The highlight of my whole spaceflight is going to be being part of this crew,” Reisman said. “For me, since I’ll be doing robotics and space walking and assisting all these guys in their tasks, for me it’s kind of like playing the Super Bowl and then going about the regular season for another two months. I’ve had such a good time as far as this crew, I think when it’s time to close the hatches I’m going to be looking around saying, ‘where are you guys going? Why are you leaving me here?'”STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Circuit breaker replaced; electrical connector stuck
Running well ahead of schedule, Behnken was asked to perform a get-ahead task, installing thermal covers on the massive keel fittings used to hold a newly installed Japanese logistics module in the shuttle Endeavour’s cargo bay during launch.
INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH
| | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Spacewalk No. 2 ends
Foreman, meanwhile, was still having problems with the stuck cable connector.
In the wake of the 2003 Columbia disaster, NASA managers said the first two return-to-flight missions would be launched in daylight to ensure good photo documentation of the heat shield and external tank insulation. After a large piece of foam insulation fell off the shuttle Discovery’s tank during the first post-Columbia mission, Hale extended the daylight launch requirement to one additional mission – STS-115 aboard Atlantis.
STS-97 Endeavour (November 30 to December 2, 2000) was the fifth American mission to build and enhance the capabilities of the International Space Station. STS-97 delivered the first set of U.S.-provided solar arrays and batteries as well as radiators to provide cooling. Three spacewalks were conducted to complete assembly operations while the arrays were attached and unfurled. A communications system for voice and telemetry was also installed.Additional coverage for subscribers:VIDEO:INTERVIEW WITH BRENT JETT VIDEO:BIOGRAPHY MOVIE ON THE SIX ASTRONAUTS VIDEO:SHORT MOVIE PREVIEW OF ATLANTIS’ MISSION VIDEO:OUTLOOK ON UPCOMING STATION ASSEMBLY FLIGHTS MORE: Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Expedition 21The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.Hubble PatchThe official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle’s last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Burbank, MacLean begin spacewalk No. 2 BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Minotaur launch timelineSPACEFLIGHT NOW
EXPERIENCE: Ferguson was commissioned from the NROTC program after completion of a 5-year cooperative education curriculum at Drexel University. He was temporarily assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland prior to commencing flight school in Pensacola, Florida in November 1984. Following flight training in Florida and Texas, he received his Navy wings and was ordered to the F-14 replacement training squadron in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where, after a nine month period of instruction, he joined the ‘Red Rippers’ of VF-11. With VF-11 he made deployments to the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean on board the USS Forrestal (CV-59). While with VF-11 he also attended the Navy Fighter Weapon School (TOPGUN). He was selected for the Naval Postgraduate/Test Pilot School program in 1989 and graduated with class 101. From July 1992 through June 1994 he was assigned to the Ordnance Branch of the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate at NAS Patuxent River. There he served as the project officer for the F-14D weapon separation program where he became the first to release numerous air-to-ground stores from both the A and D model of the Tomcat. In July 1994, he was chosen to instruct at the Naval Test Pilot School which he did so until July 1995. After a brief retraining period he joined the Checkmates’ of VF-211 where he completed a deployment to the Western Pacific/Persian Gulf aboard the Nimitz (CVN-68) in support Operation Southern Watch and contingency operations off the coast of Taiwan. He briefly served as the F-14 Class Desk Officer for the Commander Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet prior to his selection to the space program.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Tolland High School, Tolland, Connecticut, in 1979; received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1985, and a master of science degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1990.
Posted: January 21, 2011T-00:00LiftoffWith its two LE-7A main engines and four solid rocket boosters firing, the 186-foot-tall H-2B rocket lifts off from the Yoshinobu launch complex on Tanegashima Island. A few moments later, the rocket will complete a pitch program to head southeast from the launch site.T+01:56SRB-A BurnoutThe H-2B’s four solid rocket boosters exhaust their propellant and burn out at an altitude of 33 miles.T+02:06SRB-A 1st Pair SeparationThe first pair of the four solid rocket boosters is jettisoned.T+02:09SRB-A 2nd Pair SeparationThe second pair of the four solid rocket boosters is jettisoned.T+03:40Fairing SeparationAfter traversing the dense lower atmosphere and reaching an altitude of 75 miles, the rocket releases the 5-meter (16.4-foot) diameter payload fairing protecting the H-2 Transfer Vehicle during the early part of the flight.T+05:47Main Engine CutoffAfter consuming its liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants, the twin LE-7A first stage main engines are shut down. The first stage and solid rocket boosters push the rocket to a velocity of about 12,500 mph.T+05:54Stage SeparationThe H-2B rocket’s first stage is separated now, having completed its job. The spent stage will fall into the Pacific Ocean downrange from Tanegashima.T+06:01Second Stage IgnitionWith the first stage jettisoned, the rocket’s second stage takes over. The LE-5B hydrogen-fueled engine ignites at an altitude of 121 miles to accelerate the H-2 Transfer Vehicle to orbital velocity.T+14:21Second Stage CutoffThe LE-5B second stage engine shuts down after reaching its specified orbital targets. This completes the powered phase of the launch.T+15:11HTV SeparationThe 35,000-pound H-2 Transfer Vehicle is deployed on its way to the International Space Station, wrapping up the flight of the H-2B rocket. Spacecraft separation will occur off the northeast coast of New Guinea. The launcher is targeting an orbit with a high point of 300 kilometers (186 miles), a low point of 200 kilometers (124 miles), and an inclination of 51.6 degrees.HTV 2 rendezvous timelineSPACEFLIGHT NOW
STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: July 31, 2012 In a $2.5 billion gamble, a nuclear-powered Mars rover the size of a small car will attempt a pinpoint landing near the base of a 3-mile-high mountain overnight Sunday to search for the building blocks of life and evidence of past or present habitability.In so doing, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, dubbed “Curiosity” in a student naming contest, will climb layer by layer through vast eras of the red planet’s enigmatic history, possibly shedding light on the transition from a warmer, wetter past to the drier, frigid world of more modern epochs. This artist’s concept shows Curiosity shooting its laser at a rock target. Credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechDoug McCuistion, director of Mars exploration at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said the mission “could arguably be the most important event in the history of planetary exploration.””It truly is a major step forward, both in technology and in potential science return and science capability to unlock the mysteries of Mars in places that have never been accessible to humankind in the past.”But getting there will not be easy.The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft must first endure entry temperatures of up to 3,800 degrees Fahrenheit, crushing deceleration of up to 15 Gs and the 65,000-pound jerk of a huge parachute inflating at supersonic velocity.After slowing the spacecraft to a bit less than 200 mph, the parachute will be cut away and a rocket-powered descent stage, carrying the Curiosity rover bolted to its belly, will fall free for a nail-biting one-mile plunge to the surface.Controlled by the rover’s main computer, the descent stage will slow to just 1.7 mph, four of its eight rocket engines will shut down and Curiosity will be lowered on the end of a 25-foot-long tether like a bobber on a fishing line.With the descent stage maintaining its slow fall, the rover’s six wheels are expected to touch down on the floor of Gale Crater around 1:17 a.m EDT (GMT-4). Confirmation will be relayed back to Earth in near realtime by NASA’s Mars Odyssey satellite.But because of the distance between Earth and Mars — about 154 million miles — it will take 13.8 minutes for confirmation of a successful landing to reach anxious engineers and scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. That translates into 1:31 a.m. on Aug. 6, Earth-received time.”MSL holds the potential to look for evidence of habitable environments, if they existed, on Mars in the distant past,” said NASA science chief John Grunsfeld, a veteran shuttle spacewalker. “The Curiosity rover has the potential to discover the building blocks of life on Mars, if life ever existed on Mars.”However, the Curiosity landing is the hardest NASA robotic mission ever attempted in the history of exploration of Mars or any of our robotic exploration. This is risky business.”Curiosity’s novel “sky crane” landing technique has dominated news coverage, in part because it seems so outlandish compared to past missions and because it appears riskier given a full-up, end-to-end test was not possible in Earth’s atmosphere and gravity.But engineers are confident the entry, descent and landing system will work as advertised, the first act in the most complex, expensive and scientifically significant robotic Mars mission ever attempted.”This rover, the Curiosity rover, is really a rover on steroids,” Colleen Hartman, a senior NASA manager, said before launch. “It’s an order of magnitude more capable than anything we have ever launched to any planet in the solar system. It will go longer, it will discover more than we can possibly imagine.”Over the course of a planned two-year mission, Curiosity will act as a robotic geologist, using high definition cameras to photograph its surroundings in exquisite detail, beaming back wide-angle high-resolution panoramas as well as close-up microscopic views through what amounts to a geologist’s hand lens.Equipped with 10 state-of-the-art instruments and a sophisticated robot arm, the rover will drill into rocks and soil, use a rock-vaporizing laser to assess more distant targets and collect rock and soil samples for detailed chemical analysis. The landing target on the floor of Gale Crater will leave the Curiosity rover near the base of a 3-mile-high mountain of layered terrain. Credit: NASAThe initial phases of the mission will be focused on the crater floor and an alluvial fan visible from orbit where scientists believe water may have pooled in the distant past.But the long-range objective is Aeolis Mons, dubbed Mount Sharp by NASA, a huge wind-eroded mound of sedimentary rocks in the center of Gale Crater that rises more than three miles, higher than Mt. Rainier above Seattle.The instruments aboard Curiosity were not designed to look for signs of life. Rather, the primary goal of the Mars Science Laboratory is to search for carbon compounds and evidence of past or present habitability.”We are not a life detection mission,” Grotzinger said. “The first and important step toward that is to try to understand where the good stuff may be.”Grotzinger would not give odds on finding carbon compounds in Gale Crater, but “the information from orbit looks so darn good … I’d be surprised if we landed on the surface and didn’t find something that looked like it could have been a formerly habitable environment.”But if you’re trying to get me to say what are the chances of finding organic carbon, I’d say it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, and the haystack is as big as a football field.”Searching for carbon compounds is only part of Curiosity’s mandate. As it works its way up the 15-degree slopes of Mount Sharp and passes from older to younger layers, the rover is expected to cross over beds marking a geologically sudden transition from a warmer, wetter past to a drier, less hospitable age.In so doing, hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of years of the planet’s evolution will be brought into focus.”The really cool thing about the Gale stratigraphic succession to me is it’s a tour through nearly the entire history of Mars where we can begin to understand these major changes in the environmental history of the planet,” Grotzinger said in a more recent interview. “And I can’t think of another place on Mars where you can go do that.”To get a sense of the landing site’s potential, Grotzinger said the layers making up Mount Sharp are three times thicker than those in the Grand Canyon, which “takes you … through 300 million years of Earth history, from the origin of animals to the origin of dinosaurs.””If you were to have remote sensing data from an orbiter around Earth, looking at Earth and the Grand Canyon 150 years ago, nobody would have ever predicted that that’s what you would discover if you went there one day,” Grotzinger said. “I don’t know what it is that we’re going to discover about Mars. But I have to believe it’s going to be something really good.”The high-stakes mission comes at a critical time for NASA’s planetary exploration program as budget pressures threaten to sharply reduce the scope of the agency’s robotic missions.The Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget request calls for $17.7 billion for NASA, but it cuts $300 million from planetary science, most of it from the Mars program. The Curiosity rover, right, dwarfs its predecessors in this photo showing a Mars Exploration Rover on the left and the diminutive Mars Pathfinder. Credit: NASAAs a result, NASA has backed out of a 2008 agreement with the European Space Agency to share the costs of two ambitious Mars missions known as ExoMars, which called for launch of an orbiter in 2016 and two rovers in 2018.Along with searching for signs of past or present life on Mars, the missions also would have tested technologies needed for a long-sought sample return mission.”Tough choices had to be made,” NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said when the budget was unveiled earlier this year. “This means we will not be moving forward with the planned 2016 and 2018 ExoMars mission. … Instead, we’ll develop an integrated strategy to ensure the next steps in Mars exploration will support science as well as human exploration goals and potentially take advantage of the 2018 and 2020 exploration windows.”In the wake of the budget’s release, Bill Nye, chairman of the Planetary Society, said the “priorities reflected in this budget would take us down the wrong path.””Science is the part of NASA that’s actually conducting interesting and scientifically important missions,” he said in a statement. “Spacecraft sent to Mars, Saturn, Mercury, the Moon, comets and asteroids have been making incredible discoveries, with more to come from recent launches to Jupiter, the Moon and Mars. The country needs more of these robotic space exploration missions, not less.”In a rare show of bipartisan agreement, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and John Culberson, R-Texas, whose states include NASA field centers, wrote in Space News that without congressional action, “the administration’s cuts to planetary science would devastate America’s planetary program.””The robotic Mars program, one of our nation??s science jewels, faces the most severe cuts, including a rover mission to Mars in 2018 identified as the highest priority in planetary science in the most recent decadal survey,” they wrote. “This would be a tragic loss for a program that has made major scientific discoveries and captured the interest of people around the world.”The Curiosity rover is the only so-called “flagship” mission currently in the Mars pipeline and it takes years to plan, design and build new spacecraft. Aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society and author of “The Case for Mars,” said in an interview that the fate of NASA’s Mars program rests firmly on Curiosity’s shoulders.”This is a superb mission, if it succeeds,” he said. “On the other hand, if it fails, it’s the flagship out the window. That would be serious enough. But the stakes were upped this past February when the Obama administration canceled the 2016 and 2018 missions, and thus completely scrambled the program, completely set it adrift.”If Curiosity fails, he said, “not only do you lose this mission, but I think we lose the rest of the decade. On the other hand, if this succeeds, it will be a brilliant mission, it will be the best Mars mission ever flown and I think we have a real chance of not only reversing the missions that were cut but moving on towards sample return.”MSL Project Manager Pete Theisinger said in an interview that he was aware of the outside scrutiny and pressure to chalk up a success. But he said the MSL team was not distracted.”Down in the trenches where the work’s actually accomplished, people love what they do, they’re very professional about it and they want to do the right job and so that’s all they think about,” he said. “It wouldn’t matter whether it was this two-and-a-half-billion-dollar thing that’s on the national stage or it was a $100,000 thing in the lab. They feel the same.”When you get up to the top of the food chain, yeah, there’s a feeling that this is a very visible mission, we know that, people like you don’t call me if it’s not a very visible mission. And so, we know that. But once again, the job is to get the job done and to do it in the best balanced, prudent approach that we can. I don’t think we feel it, we just know it’s there.”MSL gets underway Nov. 26, 2011, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. Credit: Justin Ray/Spaceflight NowLaunch originally was planned for 2009, but in 2008, the flight was delayed two years to verify the integrity of the myriad actuators used in the rover’s mobility system and robot arm, a delay that added $400 million to the project’s price tag.Curiosity’s journey finally got underway on Nov. 26, 2011, when a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket boosted the craft into space. The spacecraft has performed in near flawless fashion during the long cruise to Mars and now the stage is set for entry, descent and landing Aug. 6.Acting as a robotic geologist, Curiosity is well suited for its trailblazing mission, dwarfing the hugely successful Spirit and Opportunity rovers both in size and scientific capability. The instruments carried by each of the earlier rovers weighed about 11 pounds. The 10 aboard Curiosity weigh 165 pounds.Not counting its robot arm, Curiosity is 10 feet long, nine feet wide and seven feet high measured to the top of its main camera mast. Its mobility system is similar in design to that used by Spirit and Opportunity, but its six 20-inch-wide wheels are twice the size of the earlier models. Each wheel has its own drive motor and the four corner wheels are independently steerable.Top speed is over hard, flat ground is about a tenth of a foot per second, although the rover typically will move at half that velocity when operating autonomously and using hazard avoidance.The earlier rovers were solar powered, forcing them to shut down at night and to hibernate in winter months to conserve power and heat. MSL is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, using the heat produced by the decay of radioactive plutonium dioxide to generate electricity. Excess heat is used to keep electronics and other sensitive systems from getting too cold.Curiosity is equipped with redundant computers, using one at a time and keeping the other as a backup. The computers feature radiation-resistant PowerPC 750 processors operating at 200 megahertz with two gigabytes of flash memory storage, about eight times more than Spirit and Opportunity.The system was designed from the ground up to use the orbiting Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellites to relay engineering and scientific data back to Earth.Independent of the weather and the sun, Curiosity is designed to operate for at least one martian year — two Earth years — and to rove at least 12 miles. But engineers expect it to continue operating well beyond its design specification, both in time and distance.”You’re asking a project manager how long it’s supposed to live and you expect an answer?” Theisinger laughed. “We test these things, the mechanical or moving parts, we test for either two or three times life, usually three times life. So if we know a wheel is supposed to run for 20 kilometers, we’ll test it to 60 kilometers.”We don’t test them to failure. All that we know is that we’ve tested the mechanisms for two or three times life and they all passed that test program. The RTG is good for a decade, 12 years, 15 years, something like that, before we really get into power issues. The battery is probably good for eight years. The electronics are high reliability electronics, but some of it is single string.”It could last a long time if we haven’t made a mistake,” he said. “If Mars doesn’t get us, it could last a long time.”The heart of the spacecraft is the most sophisticated instrument package ever sent to Mars. The Curiosity rover, on the move in Gale Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechThe Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM, instruments will be used to analyze soil and rock fragments delivered by the lander’s robot arm. It includes a gas chromatograph, a mass spectrometer and a laser spectrometer to look for carbon compounds and measure isotope ratios, which will shed light on the history and distribution of water and the evolution of the martian atmosphere.”You’ve got to have water for life as we know it,” Grotzinger told CNET in an earlier interview. “The second thing is you need a source of energy. … And then the important thing is, you need the fundamental building block, which is carbon.”Whether or not life originated on Mars “verges more on philosophy, really,” he said. “We don’t know how life originated on Earth. I’m really focused on the question, not if life evolved, but if it did evolve where would it be preserved? And where are the places we need to go to find the best potential records of things that could be clues that would lead us on future missions toward the discovery of biosignatures?”Another instrument, called CheMin, uses X-ray diffraction to identify the minerals in collected rocks and soils. The Mars Hands Lens Imager, mounted on the robot arm, will take close-up photos of selected samples while the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, also on the arm, measures the abundances of various elements.A camera mounted on a mast atop the rover will take high-resolution stereo pictures as well as high-definition video. Another mast-mounted instrument known as ChemCam will use a laser to vaporize the surface layers of nearby rocks, a spectrometer to measure the types of materials present in the debris and a camera to photograph the site.A Radiation Assessment Detector will will characterize the radiation environment at the surface, a key factor in planning for eventual crewed missions, while a suite of Spanish instruments called the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station monitors the martian weather.An instrument provided by Russia, the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons experiment, will look for signs of water or ice below the surface.”We’ve got this feeling now of Mars as a much more dynamic planet,” Grotzinger said. “The thing about this mission is, it’s really going to confront the whole problem of the origin of sedimentary rocks on Mars and what they mean. Sedimentary rocks on Earth, they are the overwhelming storehouse of organic materials in the history of life. If you want to explore for those organic materials, you’ve got to know how these damn rocks formed.”Climbing Mount Sharp may help answer that question, and undoubtedly raise many more, including what to do next.”There are two major decision points for the science team in this mission,” Grotzinger said. “We’ve done one, which was to pick Gale over the other three landing sites. … The second big decision is going to be when we get up to a boundary (on Mount Sharp) where you can see that the hydrated minerals go away.”There are some people who are going to want to go to the top. And there are other people who are going to say, why don’t we just go across that boundary and do a bunch of work on the other side, maybe spend a year doing that, and then let’s go down again and work on the wet kind of rock types that we saw on the way up.”I think the team will divide into two groups on that one. That will be a major decision.”John Glenn Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Relay sats provide ringside seat for Mars rover landing BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
Ground technicians remove tent enclosure from around the rocket.
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Posted: December 9, 2010 SpaceX has unveiled the identity of the mystery payload packed aboard the Dragon spacecraft during yesterday’s orbital flight.”Before the successful launch, voyage, and recovery of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, the first time in history a commercial company has recovered a spacecraft from orbit, reporters were buzzing with news of a ‘secret’payload’ stowed on board,” SpaceX announced in a statement. “It was a payload so secret, SpaceXers made it Top Secret (think Val Kilmer 1984, not official US Government),” the company said.”So what was inside the mystery package? Their tribute to Monty Python. A wheel of cheese.” Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceXCredit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Video shows Falcon 9’s rocket-assisted splashdown SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: July 23, 2014Updated with SpaceX comments SpaceX released a video clip Tuesday showing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket descending back to Earth for a controlled, low-speed splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral following launch last week.The company says the rocket-assisted touchdown is the second consecutive time it has achieved a soft landing of the 12-foot-diameter first stage after a launch, putting SpaceX closer to returning a first stage to a landing pad near Cape Canaveral. A camera mounted on the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage recorded these views of its descent into the Atlantic Ocean following a July 14 launch from Cape Canaveral. Credit: SpaceXThe July 14 launch with six Orbcomm communications satellites was the first time video from an on-board camera clearly showed key milestones in the descent, such as two ignitions of a subset of the first stage’s Merlin 1D engines to slow down the rocket and guide it to the recovery zone. The video also shows the rocket’s four carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb landing legs deploying moments before falling into ocean.A similar video of the first stage’s descent during a Falcon 9 launch in April was obscured by a poor live communications link.A SpaceX spokesperson said Wednesday there were no plans to release video of the descent from other vantage points. SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s private jet and a NASA WB-57 surveillance plane were in the area to monitor the rocket’s descent and could have recorded video.The rocket’s engines are designed to adjust their throttle settings to achieve a gentle splashdown.SpaceX plans to make the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage reusable in a bid to reduce the costs of launches.”This test confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able consistently to re-enter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity,” SpaceX said in a statement accompanying the video release.Recovery crews in the Atlantic Ocean were ready to retrieve the rocket stage after splashdown, but SpaceX says the booster broke apart moments after splashdown.”After landing, the vehicle tipped sideways as planned to its final water safing state in a nearly horizontal position,” SpaceX said. “The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight.”Musk called the loss of hull integrity a “kaboom” in a tweet after the launch. He later posted that a data review indicated the stage’s structural break-up was caused by a “body slam, maybe from a self-generated wave.”The Falcon 9 rocket’s performance limitations will keep engineers from attempting ocean landings on the launcher’s next two missions, which are slated to carry the AsiaSat 8 and AsiaSat 6 telecom satellites into geostationary transfer orbit, a high-altitude orbit stretching up to 22,300 miles above Earth.Built by Space Systems/Loral, both satellites for Hong Kong-based AsiaSat weigh more than 3 metric tons at launch.The first launch with AsiaSat 8 is set for Aug. 4.”At this point, we are highly confident of being able to land successfully on a floating launch pad or back at the launch site and refly the rocket with no required refurbishment,” SpaceX said. “However, our next couple launches are for very high velocity geostationary satellite missions, which don’t allow enough residual propellant for landing. In the longer term, missions like that will fly on Falcon Heavy, but until then Falcon 9 will need to fly in expendable mode.”SpaceX’s first two launches to geostationary transfer orbit — with the SES 8 and Thaicom 6 satellites in December and January — also did not include first stage landing attempts.Falcon 9 launches for Orbcomm, which operates its satellites in low Earth orbit about 400 miles up, and SpaceX’s resupply missions to the International Space Station do not take up all of the rocket’s lift capacity, leaving leftover fuel for experimental maneuvers after the first stage’s main job is done.SpaceX said the next water landing attempt will be on the 13th flight of the Falcon 9, which is scheduled for launch as soon as Sept. 12 with a Dragon cargo capsule for the space station.Officials are targeting the following two Falcon 9 flights this fall as the first missions to try a landing on a solid surface.Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: .STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Dragon achieves success on COTS 2+ SpaceX capsule sails through space station demo flightA commercial spaceship built by SpaceX concluded a successful nine-day test flight to the International Space Station on May 31, 2012. The spacecraft lifted off from Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket, flew to the International Space Station and delivered supplies, and returned to Earth with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. – live updates! (.pdf download)Additional coverage for subscribers:VIDEO:CHASE PLANE SEES CHUTE DEPLOY AND LANDING VIDEO:LIVE COVERAGE OF DRAGON’S SPLASHDOWN VIDEO:DRAGON FLIES AWAY FROM SPACE STATION VIDEO:SPACEX DRAGON MANEUVERED TO RELEASE POSITION VIDEO:ROBOT ARM DETACHES DRAGON FROM HARMONY NODE VIDEO:CREW READIES TO REMOVE THE DRAGON VIDEO:PRE-LANDING PREVIEWS NEWS BRIEFING HIGH-DEFINITION:DRAGON AS SEEN BY CREW HIGH-DEFINITION:VEHICLE CAPTURED AND BERTHED VIDEO:HATCH OPENED AND CREW FLOATS IN DRAGON VIDEO:CREW CHATS WITH REPORTERS FROM INSIDE DRAGON VIDEO:SECURING DRAGON INTO DOCKING PORT VIDEO:ROBOT ARM CAPTURES DRAGON! VIDEO:DRAGON FLIES WITHIN ARM’S REACH VIDEO:APPROACH HALTED TO FIX LASER GLITCH VIDEO:DRAGON’S RENDEZVOUS WITH THE SPACE STATION VIDEO:THE FULL LAUNCH EXPERIENCE! VIDEO:FALCON 9 ROCKET LAUNCHES DRAGON VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS:ALONG THE NASA CAUSEWAY VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS:WESTERN TRACKING CAMERA VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS:NORTHERN TRACKING CAMERA VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS:SOUTHERN TRACKING CAMERA VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS:CLOSE-UP OF MAIN ENGINES VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS:ASSEMBLY BUILDING ROOF VIDEO:NASA ADMINISTRATOR SPEAKS ON SUCCESS VIDEO:POST-LAUNCH NEWS BRIEFING VIDEO:PREVIEW OF DRAGON’S TREK TO SPACE STATION VIDEO:STATION CARGO BEING CARRIED BY DRAGON VIDEO:SUMMARY OF FALCON’S LAUNCH COUNTDOWN VIDEO:ENGINE NO. 5 VALVE REPLACED VIDEO:NARRATED RECAP OF FALCON/DRAGON CAMPAIGN VIDEO:POST-ABORT NEWS BRIEFING VIDEO:LAUNCH ABORTED DURING ENGINE START VIDEO:PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE Dragon returns to Earth following historic flightPlacing an exclamation point on a flawless nine-day flight to the International Space Station, SpaceX’s commercial Dragon spaceship made an automated pinpoint splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, completing a feat never before achieved by private industry.MAP: Astronauts say crews would be comfortable in DragonTwo astronauts who helped capture and berth the Dragon supply ship said Saturday they would be comfortable flying a human-rated version of the craft on commercial flights to the International Space Station.Space station crew opens door on Dragon spaceshipAstronauts aboard the International Space Station opened the door on the lab’s first commercial resupply craft Saturday, accessing more than 1,000 pounds of food, clothing and experiments stowed inside. But one of the most vital functions of the privately-owned cargo ship – its ability to safely return space station equipment to Earth – is yet to be demonstrated.IMAGES: First commercial cargo ship arrives at space stationThe International Space Station’s robotic arm on Friday reached out and snared a cargo carrier built by SpaceX, making history after the privately-built Dragon spacecraft made a cautious laser-guided approach to the complex, becoming the first commercial spaceship to reach the massive scientific research facility.IMAGES: IMAGES: Dragon circling Earth after flawless predawn blastoffSpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket radiantly rose into a serene predawn sky over Florida on Tuesday, successfully launching a privately-owned capsule named Dragon into orbit on a seminal test flight to the International Space Station.IMAGES: Dragon flight testing to begin soon after launchSpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will almost immediately begin testing new components following its deployment in orbit, extending solar arrays, demonstrating sensors for precise navigation, and proving its safety procedures during the capsule’s first day in space.Falcon 9 countdown aborted in last second before launchComputers automatically aborted the countdown Saturday for SpaceX’s first commercial flight to the International Space Station, scrubbing the launch a half-second before liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket.IMAGES: IMAGES: Q&A with SpaceX founder and designer Elon MuskSpaceflight Now spoke with Elon Musk, the father of SpaceX and chief designer of the Falcon and Dragon vehicles, on the eve of his company’s biggest test yet – the historic first commercial flight to the International Space Station.SpaceX’s commercial mission is ‘just a test flight’Observers from Cape Canaveral to Capitol Hill will be keenly watching SpaceX’s commercial voyage to the International Space Station launching Saturday, and although officials bill the mission as a test flight, its outcome could buoy or blunt support for a private space race in human spaceflight.John Glenn Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!Celebrate the shuttle programFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Falcon blasts offThis collection of images shows the Falcon 1 rocket launching on its demonstration test flight. A camera mounted on the second stage captured stunning views of the first stage and two-piece nose cone falling away. The booster flew to space but experienced a problem that prevented orbit from being achieved.Photo credit: SpaceX Credit: SpaceXJohn Glenn Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!Celebrate the shuttle programFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Falcon flies to space but misses orbit BY STEPHEN CLARKSPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: March 20, 2007The Falcon 1 rocket, a gleaming symbol of hopes to revolutionize space exploration through private industry, took its second shot at orbit Tuesday night but fell back to Earth after experiencing a problem mid-way through the ascent. The view from a camera on the rocket shows the second stage engine firing. Credit: SpaceXA year after its maiden flight met a disastrous end, the SpaceX booster lifted off at 9:10 p.m. EDT (0110 GMT Wednesday) from a remote launch pad on Omelek Island, part of a U.S. Army base at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.Controllers lost contact with the Falcon during the burn of the second stage that would have placed the rocket into orbit around Earth.”We did encounter, late in the second stage burn, a roll-control anomaly,” Elon Musk, founder and chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., said in a post-launch call with reporters.Live video from cameras mounted aboard the rocket’s second stage showed increasing oscillations about five minutes after liftoff, just before the public webcast was cut off. The rolling prevented the necessary speed to achieve a safe orbit, instead sending the stage on a suborbital trajectory back into the atmosphere.Musk speculated leading candidates for the roll control problem included a helium leak or a failure of a roll control thruster. Both would be relatively easy to fix, he said.”Of all the possible causes, there’s very few that would really take much effort to address,” Musk said.Burning highly refined kerosene and liquid oxygen, the first stage’s Merlin engine produced nearly 80,000 pounds of thrust as it gracefully guided the rocket through clouds on an eastward trajectory from its launch site in the central Pacific Ocean.The Merlin drained its supply of propellant within three minutes, and the Falcon 1 shed its first stage a few seconds later. The upper stage then fired its Kestrel engine for a planned six-and-a-halfminute burn to place the rocket into low Earth orbit.But engineers stopped receiving live radio signals from the second stage several minutes prior to its scheduled arrival in orbit.Musk said the stage reached an altitude of about 200 miles when the roll oscillation caused the Kestrel engine to shut down.”The high likelihood is that it re-entered after less than a full orbit,” Musk said.The rolling motion could have caused the second stage’s propellant to slosh outward like a centrifuge, which would lead to the engine switching off, Musk said.The Falcon 1 was targeting an orbit stretching from 205 miles to 425 miles in altitude with an inclination of about 9 degrees. Engineers had programmed the second stage to conduct a second burn about 45 minutes into the flight to demonstrate the engine’s capability to reignite.Despite the control problem that doomed the mission’s goal of reaching orbit, Musk said he was pleased with the progress made by the company since the Falcon’s maiden test flight ended in failure last year.”I think I’ll characterize this as a very good day for SpaceX,” Musk said. “We successfully reached space and really retired almost all the risk associated with the rocket. So I feel very good about where things are.”Much of the risk with rocket launches come from engine operations and stage separation systems, and Musk said those performed well in Tuesday’s flight.”I would say we’ve retired probably in excess of 90 percent of risk associated with the rocket,” Musk said.”It definitely could have gone a little better today, but if we’ve retired almost all the risk associated with the rocket, I think it is hard to characterize that (as) anything but a success, at least in my book, because this is a test launch of the rocket and not a satellite launch,” he said.Bankrolled by the fortune of Musk, a technology mogul and co-founder ofthe online payment system PayPal, SpaceX designed and built the Falcon 1rocket to significantly lower the cost of space launches and revolutionizethe space industry.The 70-foot-tall booster came within moments of blastoff during Tuesday’s first attempted countdown, but computers ordered a dramatic last-second abort when the rocket’s first stage Merlin engine showed signs of trouble after ignition.Countdown software detected the engine’s chamber pressure was slightlybelow normal, but that was likely due to chilled rocket-grade kerosenefuel being fed into the engine, according to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vicepresident of business development.The launch team opted to load warmer fuel into the first stage fuel tanksand try again, and the countdown proceeded smoothly until clocks reachedzero.”This was a pretty nerve-racking day, to say the least,” Musk said. “Therocket business is definitely not a low-stress business, that’s for sure.”SpaceX officials said they remain confident in their plans to launchpaying customers’ payloads as soon as this year.”We’ve been in touch with our customers,” Musk said. “They are veryexcited by the results of this test, and so we feel really good.”The next launch of the Falcon 1 was scheduled for August carrying to orbit the TacSat 1 tactical research satellite for theNaval Research Laboratory. A subsequent mission to launch a MalaysianEarth-observation spacecraft was planned for late this year.But before those launches are given the all-clear, SpaceX will first haveto study what caused the problem encountered during Tuesday’s mission andfix it.Two small NASA experiments were bolted atop the upper stage duringTuesday’s launch. The Autonomous Flight Safety System was an instrumentdesigned to detect problems during rocket launches and automaticallyactiviate a flight termination system, which would bring down the rocket beforeit endangers the public.An inexpensive transmitter linked with NASA’s network of tracking and datarelay satellites was also aboard the rocket to beam live telemetry back tothe rocket’s control room.Engineers had also planned to demonstrate the Falcon 1’s satelliteseparation system by jettisoning a small 4.5-pound aluminum ring afterarriving in orbit.SpaceX’s second launch came a year after the Falcon 1 rocketsuffered a major failure during its maiden flight. Investigatorstraced the cause of that accident to a corroded aluminum nut in the firststage propulsion system, which triggered a fuel leak that led to apremature shutdown of the Merlin engine about 30 seconds after liftoff.SpaceX engineers overhauled countdown procedures and added upgrades to thefirst stage Merlin engine to increase reliability, according to thecompany’s Web site.Tuesday’s demonstration flight was sponsored by the Pentagon’s DefenseAdvanced Research Projects Agency under its program to develop responsivespace technologies such as low-cost small satellite launch vehicles.The booster’s first stage was fitted with a parachute recovery system,allowing it to slowly drop into the Pacific Ocean a few hundred milesdownrange from the Omelek launch pad. SpaceX positioned a ship to retrievethe spent rocket stage in hopes of refurbishing it for reuse on a futuremission.Musk said there should be no problems recovering the spent stage becauseit performed well and was dropped in the designated area.”We’ll be doing a thorough examination of that piece of hardware,”Shotwell said. “It’s not as easy to determine how well you did unless youcan actually (recover) the hardware.”Eleven more missions are currently manifested for SpaceX’s Falcon rocketfamily, and the contracts are valued at nearly $400 million, Shotwellsaid.In addition to the Falcon 1 booster, SpaceX is developing a much largerrocket to carry heavier satellites into orbit. Company officials expectthe Falcon 9 rocket to debut as early next year.The Falcon 1 can haul satellites up to about 1,270 pounds into low Earthorbit, while the Falcon 9 should be capable of delivering about 22,770pounds to low Earth orbit and up to 10,000 pounds to geostationarytransfer orbit, a popular destination for communications satellites,according to the SpaceX Web site.Also on the drawing boards is the Falcon 9 Heavy, which is expected tolaunch more than 60,000 pounds to low Earth orbit. That version could flyby 2010.SpaceX sells the Falcon 1 for as little as $6.7 million, while the Falcon9 price ranges from about $27 million to $78 million, according to companyofficials.SpaceX is also planning to begin launching missions from Cape Canaveral,Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., by 2009.Three Falcon 9 launches are already on the books as test flights forNASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. The programaims to partner with the private sector to create spacecraft to supply theinternational space station after the agency’s space shuttle fleet isretired in 2010.SpaceX was awarded a contract worth $278 million from the program inAugust, and the company plans to use its Dragon space capsule for thethree demonstration missions.Oklahoma-based Rocketplane Kistler also won a $207 million contract fromNASA and is developing a reusable launcher and orbital spacecraft foranother series of test flights by 2010.The remainder of SpaceX’s launch backlog includes six commercial payloadsand two launches for the U.S. military.Our play-by-play coverage of Tuesday’s launch and an extensive transcript from Musk’s post-flight call with reporters can be found .And a collection of images from the launch is posted .Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Project OrionThe Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA’s first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Follow the second test flight of the second SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket. Reload this page for the latest on the mission.WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2007SpaceX has issued an update on last week’s launch. You can read it .WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 20070630 GMT (2:30 a.m. EDT)A collection of images from the launch is posted .0545 GMT (1:45 a.m. EDT)The Falcon 1 rocket, a gleaming symbol of hopes to revolutionize space exploration through private industry, took its second shot at orbit Tuesday night but fell back to Earth after experiencing a problem mid-way through the ascent.Read our .0410 GMT (12:10 a.m. EDT)More post-launch news briefing quotes from Elon Musk:Question: What is the significance of today’s launch?”I think it’s really a big step forward for SpaceX. It gives me great confidence in our upcoming launches. Another thing to bear in mind, Falcon 1 is intended as a scale model, a test vehicle of our larger rockets. As we iron things out on Falcon 1, we’re really going to put that knowledge to work on Falcon 9.”Question: What is realistic aspiration for SpaceX some 10 years from now?”I feel very confident 10 years from now that we can be putting both satellites and people into orbit, and maybe beyond (Earth) orbit. I feel very confident in the future of commercial spaceflight, private spaceflight and I think this bodes very, very well actually for achieving some of the goals that I mentioned. It is really an excellent indicator that a small company can achieve great things….We had what I would call a relatively minor issue with the roll-control very late in the flight. But all the really big risk items, the ones we were most concerned, have been addressed. If you look at the early history of rocketry, I think they had something like 12 Atlas failures before the 13th one was successful. To get this far on our second launch being an all-new rocket — new main engine, new first stage, new second stage engine, new second stage, new fairing, new launch pad system, with so many new things — to have gotten this far is great.”0345 GMT (11:45 p.m. EDT Tues.)More post-launch news briefing quotes from Elon Musk:Question: Was the loss of telemetry associated with the roll-control problem?”It is very speculative at this point. It is hard for me to say. I think that is a possible cause.”Question: What was the debris seen floating away from the second stage engine?”What you might have seen was basically titanium half-hoops that are used to stabilize the nozzle on ascent. However, once you get to a certain temperature the bonding agent for those titanium rings comes off and the titanium rings float away, which occurred as expected.”Question: Do you expect to fly another test flight before starting operational launches?”We feel that there is really no need for an extra test flight…We really retired all of the major risk events, the ones we were most concerned about. So I really doubt there is any need for a third test flight. The next flight will be the TacSat mission, which is a Naval Research Lab satellite funded by the Office of Secretary of Defense. I don’t anticipate another test launch before that mission.”Question: Have you received assurances from both customers for this year — TacSat and the Malaysian RazakSat spacecraft?”I believe so. Certainly from RazakSat, and the TacSat folks have been on record before as saying no matter what happened to our second launch they were with us. So I assume that remains the same.”Question: What caused the roll oscillations?”I can speculate there are a few possible causes. It is could be a helium leak or it could be…we have a cold gas roll-control system, it could be that there was a problem with one of the roll-control jets. But it is difficult to say anything definitive until we have a close look at the telemetry…The only thing we can say definitely at this point is that there was a roll anomaly on the second stage that resulted in us not achieving the intended orbit and, like I said, not likely a full orbit. However, that is fairly easy thing to address. Certainly if it is a leak issue we’ll go over and make sure that any potential leaks are addressed in spades. If it’s roll-control, one of the cold gas thrusters, I think that would be a very easy thing to address as well. Of the possible causes, I think there’s very few that would really take much effort to address.”Question: Will the telemetry tell you enough to give you confidence for next launch with real payload?”I think so. It is hard to predict right now but I find it difficult to imagine a circumstance where it wouldn’t, where we wouldn’t know enough. What we will do at this point is if the telemetry is ambiguous as to the source of the issue, we’ll identify all of the possible sources and address all possible sources.”Question: Do you know the apogee of the orbit?”Well the maximum altitude was approximately 300 km.”Question: Was the second stage intact when it re-entered?”I don’t know quite yet. The stage was certainly intact at the loss of telemetry.”Question: Could the stage have fallen in a populated area?”No. One of the advantages of being at (Kwajalein) is it’s ocean for thousands and thousands of miles.”Question: Why would rolling cause premature engine shutdown?”If you have a significant roll, what could happen is that the propellants can centrifuge out.”0315 GMT (11:15 p.m. EDT Tues.)Some quotes from the media briefing with Elon Musk following tonight’s launch:Question: What is the fate of the second stage?”We didn’t achieve the desired orbit. But at this point I don’t exactly know the fate of the second stage. We got to 300 km. That’s about all I know at this point.””All that I can say for sure right now is it’s not in the intended orbit. The likelihood is that it re-entered after probably half an orbit or so.””The roll-control anomaly did cause the second stage to shut off prematurely. So that’s not achieving the intended orbit. However, I would say we’ve retired probably in excess of 90 percent of risk associated with the rocket. And it is worth noting, this was a test launch not a satellite launch.”Question: How disappointed are you?”This was a pretty nerve-wracking day, to say the least…The rocket business is definitely not a low-stress business, that’s for sure. I don’t think I’m disappointed actually. I’m actually pretty happy, so I’m sorry if I’m not conveying that…It definitely could have gone a little better today, but if we’ve retired almost all the risk associated with the rocket, I think it is hard to characterize that (as) anything but a success, at least in my book, because this is a test launch of the rocket and not a satellite launch. I think if it had been a satellite launch, you know, one could perhaps argue differently. But in terms of it being a test launch, the question being have we…learned essentially everything we need know to deliver a satellite successfully to orbit, I think the answer is absolutely. We’ve learned everything we need to know to deliver a satellite successfully to orbit.”0245 GMT (10:45 p.m. EDT Tues.)The following is a transcript of SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s opening comments to reporters:”I think I’ll characterize this as a very good day for SpaceX. We successfully reached space and really retired almost all the risk associated with the rocket. So I feel very good about where things are.”I feel extremely good about having successful satellite launches later this year, especially when I know we’ve got two satellite launches lined up for later this year — one is a Defense Department satellite and the other a Malaysian space agency satellite. We’ve been in touch with our customers. They are very excited by the results of this test, and so we feel really good actually.”The things we were most concerned about were the first stage ignition and liftoff, the trajectory, the first stage because that goes through the most difficult portion of the atmosphere where you can have high winds and potentially go unstable or potentially have a structural problem and that went flawlessly. We had zero anomalies whatsoever on the first stage.”Stage separation also went very well. Separation events are the No. 2 killer of rockets after engine issues. Both the stage separation and fairing separation went flawlessly. Second stage ignition also was perfect, and we achieved steady state burn on the second stage.”We did encounter, late in the second stage burn, a roll-control anomaly, which you may have seen on the video webcast. We feel that is something that’s pretty straightforward to address. So all in all we feel pretty good about this launch. “This was a test launch, which I think most people are aware. So, yes, I think it was a pretty good test.”0220 GMT (10:20 p.m. EDT Tues.)Musk promises to provide additional information later tonight about whether a low orbit was achieved or if the rocket re-entered.0218 GMT (10:18 p.m. EDT Tues.)”I think it is fair to characterize this as a success,” Musk says.0214 GMT (10:14 p.m. EDT Tues.)Musk says 90 percent of the Falcon 1 rocket’s technical challenges were proven out with this launch. He doesn’t foresee needing another test flight before launching the first operational mission in late summer carrying the U.S. military’s TacSat 1 spacecraft. 0204 GMT (10:04 p.m. EDT Tues.)Musk says “the high likelihood” is the vehicle re-entered the atmosphere prior to making an orbit.0156 GMT (9:56 p.m. EDT Tues.)Musk says the rocket didn’t reach the intended orbit and actually may have re-entered the atmosphere. The rolling motion caused the second stage engine to shut down early. Despite the problem, Musk considers this to be “a very good day” for SpaceX.0154 GMT (9:54 p.m. EDT Tues.)”We did have a roll-control anomoly,” Musk says of the second stage. Some oscillations could be seen in the last bit of video from a camera mounted on the second stage before the webcast stopped. Fate of the rocket remains unknown.0145 GMT (9:45 p.m. EDT Tues.)SpaceX founder Elon Musk will be addressing the media momentarily.0140 GMT (9:40 p.m. EDT Tues.)No further information is available at this time. To recap, the Falcon 1 rocket blasted off at 0110 GMT (9:10 p.m. EDT) tonight on a demonstration test flight from Omelek Island in the central Pacific Ocean. The first stage engine, which had experienced an abort on the pad earlier tonight due to low chamber pressure readings, powered the rocket skyward for nearly three minutes. The spent stage then separated for a planned parachute-aided splashdown in the ocean for recovery.The second stage ignited and the rocket’s nose cone jettisoned as the ascent continued. About two minutes into the second stage firing, a SpaceX spokeswoman said the stream of telemetry data from the rocket had been lost and the company’s webcast showing video from cameras mounted on the rocket was turned off.The fate of the rocket is not known. The second stage was supposed to fire until almost T+plus 10 minutes to reach the planned orbit featuring a high point of 425 miles, a low point of 205 miles and inclination of 9 degrees north and south of the equator.0124 GMT (9:24 p.m. EDT Tues.)”I just wanted everybody to know that we in the Washington, D.C., office are celebrating with champagne. We don’t have any information yet from the launch control center, but the Falcon clearly got to space with a successful liftoff, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing separation,” says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development.However, what happened during the second stage burn is not clear.”Regardless, we’re thrilled here.”0119 GMT (9:19 p.m. EDT Tues.)The last bit of video seen from a camera mounted on the second stage showed perhaps some oscillations just before SpaceX said telemetry had been lost and the webcast feed was cut.0116 GMT (9:16 p.m. EDT Tues.)We’re awaiting further information.0115 GMT (9:15 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 5 minutes, 5 seconds. Telemetry has been lost, SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell tells reporters. The webcast provided by the company has stopped, too. 0114 GMT (9:14 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 4 minutes, 20 seconds. Altitude 161 km.0114 GMT (9:14 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 4 minutes. The Kestrel engine continues to fire, burning a mixture of kerosene fuel and supercold liquid oxygen.0113 GMT (9:13 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Altitude 117 km.0113 GMT (9:13 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 3 minutes, 20 seconds. The two halves of the five-foot diameter nose cone have separated.0112 GMT (9:12 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 2 minutes, 55 seconds. The Kestrel second stage engine has ignited!0112 GMT (9:12 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 2 minutes, 50 seconds. Main engine cutoff. The Merlin has consumed its supply of fuel and shut down to complete its firing. And stage separation is confirmed. The separation system with a pneumatic pusher jettisoned the parachute-equipped first stage to fall into the Pacific for retrieval. An awaiting vessel will recover the stage to permit SpaceX the opportunity to thoroughly examine the hardware and potentially reuse it in the future.0112 GMT (9:12 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Nearing the end of first stage burn. Engine performance remains normal.0112 GMT (9:12 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Guidance is nominal. 0112 GMT (9:12 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 2 minutes. Falcon is soaring entirely on the thrust generated by the Merlin powerplant, which was developed in-house by SpaceX.0111 GMT (9:11 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 90 seconds. Altitude 13.9 km.0111 GMT (9:11 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 82 seconds. Falcon has passed the region of maximum aerodynamic forces, or MaxQ.0111 GMT (9:11 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 60 seconds. One minute into flight. The Merlin main engine continues to fire, burning a mixture of kerosene fuel and supercold liquid oxygen. Engine performance is reported normal.0110 GMT (9:10 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 45 seconds. Altitude 2.6 km.0110 GMT (9:10 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 30 seconds. The 70-foot tall rocket is climbing away from Earth.0110 GMT (9:10 p.m. EDT Tues.)T+plus 10 seconds. Tower is clear.0110 GMT (9:10 p.m. EDT Tues.)LIFTOFF! Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket, demonstrating a new low-cost pathway to space.0109 GMT (9:09 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 10 seconds. The vehicle tanks have been pressurized.0109 GMT (9:09 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 30 seconds. Launch pad water system has activated. 0109 GMT (9:09 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 60 seconds.0108 GMT (9:08 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 75 seconds. The vehicle has switched to internal power. 0108 GMT (9:08 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 85 seconds. The Range has telemetry lock.0108 GMT (9:08 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 1 minute, 45 seconds. SpaceX confirms all systems remain “go” for launch.0108 GMT (9:08 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 2 minutes. The liquid oxygen topping has been stopped and the systems are being configured for launch. 0107 GMT (9:07 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 3 minutes. Ignition is being enabled.0106 GMT (9:06 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Battery heaters have been turned off.0106 GMT (9:06 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 4 minutes and counting. Thrust vector control is being pressurized.0105 GMT (9:05 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 5 minutes. Weather conditions, although cloudy, are acceptable for launch.0104 GMT (9:04 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 6 minutes. Vehicle pyrotechnics are enabled.0103 GMT (9:03 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 7 minutes. The flight termination safety system is ready.0102 GMT (9:02 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 7 minutes, 30 seconds. The strong-back is fully retracted for launch.0101 GMT (9:01 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 9 minutes. The strong-back structure is being retracted away from the rocket again.0100 GMT (9:00 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 10 minutes. The Terminal Countdown sequence has been initiated.0058 GMT (8:58 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 12 minutes.0056 GMT (8:56 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 13 minutes, 30 seconds. A readiness poll of the launch team indicates all elements are “go” for liftoff.0054 GMT (8:54 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 16 minutes and counting. The day’s second launch attempt for the Falcon 1 rocket has begun. Liftoff time is 0110 GMT (9:10 p.m. EDT).0053 GMT (8:53 p.m. EDT Tues.)First and second stage fuel reloading has concluded.0046 GMT (8:46 p.m. EDT Tues.)The abort was triggered because the main engine chamber pressure was about 0.2 percent lower than allowable, says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development. The low pressure was caused by the fuel being colder than desired, she said. The refueling of the rocket is supposed to correct this problem for the next launch try tonight.0043 GMT (8:43 p.m. EDT Tues.)Topping of the rocket’s liquid oxygen supply is being performed.0040 GMT (8:40 p.m. EDT Tues.)Time to launch is now 30 minutes.0039 GMT (8:39 p.m. EDT Tues.)Propellant loading for the first and second stages is underway.0037 GMT (8:37 p.m. EDT Tues.)Refueling of the rocket is about to begin.0035 GMT (8:35 p.m. EDT Tues.)Officials are coordinating a fresh countdown starting from the T-minus 16 minute mark at 0054 GMT (8:54 p.m. EDT) for a liftoff of Falcon at 0110 GMT (9:10 p.m. EDT).0033 GMT (8:33 p.m. EDT Tues.)Fuel offloading is being completed.0030 GMT (8:30 p.m. EDT Tues.)Local radar shows some rain moving toward the island.0025 GMT (8:25 p.m. EDT Tues.)Cloud cover beginning to roll across the island. It is past noon Wednesday local time on Omelek.0022 GMT (8:22 p.m. EDT Tues.)The low chamber pressure is believed to have been caused by the RP-1 kerosene’s temperature, Shotwell says. The launch team is draining some of the fuel and will reload the propellant for the next try.0021 GMT (8:21 p.m. EDT Tues.)Now starting the second stage fuel drainback.0019 GMT (8:19 p.m. EDT Tues.)The first stage fuel offload is starting.0018 GMT (8:18 p.m. EDT Tues.)The ground crew will be partially offloading fuel and reloading the propellant for another launch attempt.0017 GMT (8:17 p.m. EDT Tues.)The available launch period ahead is 0028 to 0114 GMT (8:28 to 9:14 p.m. EDT).0015 GMT (8:15 p.m. EDT Tues.)The launch team is setting up for a recycle of the countdown to try again tonight.0012 GMT (8:12 p.m. EDT Tues.)The abort was tripped when computers detected main engine chamber pressure was less than 0.1 percent lower than the redline limit, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development, tells reporters. She added they are looking to recycle the countdown. Launch has not been scrubbed.0011 GMT (8:11 p.m. EDT Tues.)The Terminal Countdown abort procedures have been completed.0010 GMT (8:10 p.m. EDT Tues.)There is no word yet on what caused the countdown to be aborted in the final moments before liftoff. The Merlin first stage main engine was igniting when the abort was called.0006 GMT (8:06 p.m. EDT Tues.)The pad’s strong-back structure is being raised back into position next to the rocket.0005 GMT (8:05 p.m. EDT Tues.)A problem was detected as the main engine was firing to life, causing computers to halt the countdown. The vehicle was not permitted to lift off. Safing is in progress.0005 GMT (8:05 p.m. EDT Tues.)ABORT! A pad abort declared during main engine start.0004 GMT (8:04 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 30 seconds. Launch pad water system has activated. 0004 GMT (8:04 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 60 seconds.0003 GMT (8:03 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 70 seconds. The vehicle is switching to internal power. 0003 GMT (8:03 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 1 minute, 30 seconds. Range telemetry source switching as planned. This is where the problem occurred last night.0003 GMT (8:03 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 2 minutes. The liquid oxygen systems are being configured for launch. 0002 GMT (8:02 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 3 minutes. All systems remain “go” for launch.0001 GMT (8:01 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Battery heaters are being turned off.0001 GMT (8:01 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 4 minutes and counting. Thrust vector control is being pressurized.0000 GMT (8:00 p.m. EDT Tues.)T-minus 5 minutes. TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 20072359 GMT (7:59 p.m. EDT)T-minus 6 minutes. Vehicle pyrotechnics are being enabled.2358 GMT (7:58 p.m. EDT)T-minus 6 minutes, 30 seconds. The flight termination safety system has been confirmed ready. 2358 GMT (7:58 p.m. EDT)T-minus 7 minutes. The strong-back is fully retracted for launch.2356 GMT (7:56 p.m. EDT)T-minus 9 minutes. The strong-back structure that has been against the side of the Falcon 1 rocket is now slowly lowering away from the vehicle. 2355 GMT (7:55 p.m. EDT)T-minus 10 minutes. The Terminal Countdown sequence is being initiated.2353 GMT (7:53 p.m. EDT)T-minus 12 minutes and counting. 2350 GMT (7:50 p.m. EDT)T-minus 15 minutes. The mission director is giving his “clear to launch.”2348 GMT (7:48 p.m. EDT)A status poll of launch team members indicated no problems are being worked.2345 GMT (7:45 p.m. EDT)T-minus 20 minutes. The Range remains go for launch.2343 GMT (7:43 p.m. EDT)The downrange recovery ship is reported in position. The vessel will retrieve the first stage, which parachutes into the ocean to allow post-flight examination and possible reuse.2339 GMT (7:39 p.m. EDT)Both liquid oxygen tanks on the rocket have been topped off at 100 percent. The helium necessary pressurizing has been placed aboard the rocket as well. The Falcon now stands fully fueled for liftoff 26 minutes from now.2338 GMT (7:38 p.m. EDT)A check of the weather indicates some rain approaching but clear conditions are projected for launch time.2337 GMT (7:37 p.m. EDT)”We have a good vehicle ready for launch,” SpaceX launch control says.2335 GMT (7:35 p.m. EDT)T-minus 30 minutes and continuing to count down to the launch of Falcon 1.2334 GMT (7:34 p.m. EDT)And now the second stage kerosene fuel tank has been fully filled for launch. 2333 GMT (7:33 p.m. EDT)Loading of liquid oxygen into the second stage is reported complete. Topping of both the first and second stage will proceed to keep the rocket full of this cryogenic oxidizer.2330 GMT (7:30 p.m. EDT)T-minus 35 minutes. First stage RP-1 kerosene loading has just concluded successfully.2328 GMT (7:28 p.m. EDT)The first stage liquid oxygen tank has reached the 95 percent level, awaiting topping. The first stage fuel tank is 89 percent full. On the second stage, the LOX tank is 78 percent loaded and the RP-1 kerosene is passing the 74 percent mark.2325 GMT (7:25 p.m. EDT)T-minus 40 minutes. Propellant loading continues in progress. No problems have been reported by the launch team.2320 GMT (7:20 p.m. EDT)First stage liquid oxygen tank is now 90 percent full.2315 GMT (7:15 p.m. EDT)T-minus 50 minutes and counting. Weather looks good and there are no technical issues are standing in the way of liftoff at 0005 GMT today, SpaceX launch control reports.2309 GMT (7:09 p.m. EDT)Fueling of the Falcon 1 rocket is underway on Omelek Island. The first and second stages are being filled with a highly refined kerosene propellant and supercold liquid oxygen.2305 GMT (7:05 p.m. EDT)T-minus 60 minutes and counting. The Range is about to begin C-band tracking and flight termination safety system checks in preparation for today’s launch.2230 GMT (6:30 p.m. EDT)The 0005 GMT (8:05 p.m. EDT) target launch time has been confirmed.2220 GMT (6:20 p.m. EDT)”We are in a hold right now. We’ve got a potential RF (radio frequency) compatibility issue with the payload, which we’re working through. I anticipate we will come out of the hold in about 10 or 15 minutes and get back on track,” says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development.Weather conditions are acceptable at the launch site today, she added.2218 GMT (6:18 p.m. EDT)It appears launch time has been delayed further to 0005 GMT (8:05 p.m. EDT). 2215 GMT (6:15 p.m. EDT)Now SpaceX indicates the launch time has moved to 2330 GMT (7:30 p.m. EDT). 2210 GMT (6:10 p.m. EDT)SpaceX tells reporters that launch remains on schedule for 2300 GMT.2205 GMT (6:05 p.m. EDT)We’re still awaiting an update on SpaceX about the progress of the countdown. We’ll begin our play-by-play of the launch when information starts becoming available. 1601 GMT (12:01 p.m. EDT)SpaceX identified and corrected the software glitch that caused Monday’s launch delay, the company says, and liftoff has been rescheduled for 2300 GMT (7 p.m. EDT) today.”The abort that occurred a few minutes before T-0 was triggered by our ground control software. It commanded a switchover of range telemetry from landline to radio, which took place correctly, however, because of the hardware involved, this transition takes a few hundred milliseconds. Before it had time to complete, our system verification software examined state and aborted,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said today.”Our simulations done beforehand all passed, because the simulator did not account for a hardware driven delay in the transition. We considered putting the vehicle into a safe state yesterday and updating the ground control software to make the very minor fix needed, but the safer course of action was to stand down.”Yesterday afternoon and evening (Kwaj time), our launch team updated the software to address the timing issue and verified that there were no similar problems elsewhere. We ran the software through several simulated countdowns and then once again with the rocket and range in the loop.”Musk said all systems are now go for launch later today.0014 GMT (8:14 p.m. EDT Mon.)The launch team is preparing to start draining the fuel from the Falcon 1 rocket following today’s postponement. We’ll update this page when additional information about the problem and details of the next launch attempt are made available.0011 GMT (8:11 p.m. EDT Mon.)A new launch date has not been announced. But SpaceX says another try could be made on Tuesday or Wednesday.0010 GMT (8:10 p.m. EDT Mon.)SCRUB! Today’s launch attempt has been called off.0003 GMT (8:03 p.m. EDT Mon.)A possible explanation for the countdown abort being called:”At about a minute-and-a-half out of launch, we shift from communicating to the vehicle through the land lines to communicating through the Range RF (radio frequency). And it is possible we were just not picking up the Range RF signal. So that’s what I know so far,” says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development.2355 GMT (7:55 p.m. EDT)The problem appears to be related to the Range and telemetry. The team needs another 10 minutes to examine the situation.2350 GMT (7:50 p.m. EDT)Engineers are working on the problem that stopped the countdown. SpaceX has time available to troubleshoot the issue and try the launch again — so the flight has not been scrubbed for today.2346 GMT (7:46 p.m. EDT)The launch team has completed the post-abort procedures to put the rocket into a safe configuration. There was no immediate word on what caused the countdown abort to be triggered.2344 GMT (7:44 p.m. EDT)The pad’s strong-back structure has rotated back into position next to the rocket.2343 GMT (7:43 p.m. EDT)”We have a Terminal Count abort. Stand by,” the launch team was just instructed.2343 GMT (7:43 p.m. EDT)ABORT. The countdown has been halted.2343 GMT (7:43 p.m. EDT)T-minus 2 minutes. Liquid oxygen system is being configured for launch. 2342 GMT (7:42 p.m. EDT)T-minus 3 minutes. All systems remain “go” for launch.2341 GMT (7:41 p.m. EDT)T-minus 4 minutes and counting. 2340 GMT (7:40 p.m. EDT)T-minus 5 minutes. 2339 GMT (7:39 p.m. EDT)T-minus 5 minutes, 55 seconds. Vehicle pyrotechnics are being readied.2338 GMT (7:38 p.m. EDT)T-minus 6 minutes, 30 seconds. The flight termination system has been confirmed ready. 2338 GMT (7:38 p.m. EDT)T-minus 7 minutes. The strong-back is fully retracted.2337 GMT (7:37 p.m. EDT)T-minus 8 minutes. 2336 GMT (7:36 p.m. EDT)The strong-back structure that has been against the side of the Falcon 1 rocket is now slowly lowering away from the vehicle. 2335 GMT (7:35 p.m. EDT)Countdown has entered the final 10 minutes to launch. 2333 GMT (7:33 p.m. EDT)T-minus 12 minutes. 2331 GMT (7:31 p.m. EDT)T-minus 14 minutes. The mission director reports he is “go” for launch. No further holds in the countdown are planned.2328 GMT (7:28 p.m. EDT)A status poll of launch team members indicated no problems.2325 GMT (7:25 p.m. EDT)T-minus 20 minutes and counting.2324 GMT (7:24 p.m. EDT)The loading of kerosene propellant and liquid oxygen into the two-stage Falcon rocket has been completed.2323 GMT (7:23 p.m. EDT)Range Safety reports the resticted areas around the launch site are clear for liftoff. Also, winds have been verified acceptable.2315 GMT (7:15 p.m. EDT)Now 30 minutes to launch of Falcon 1.2257 GMT (6:57 p.m. EDT)NEW LAUNCH TIME. Liftoff is now targeted for 2345 GMT (7:45 p.m. EDT). Fueling of the rocket had been suspended while trying to correct the data transmission problem between Omelek Island and the company’s headquarters in El Segundo, California. Only a limited part of the launch team is deployed to the remote location, with a larger group overseeing the mission from California. With the data stream now working, engineers are processing ahead with the countdown.2252 GMT (6:52 p.m. EDT)”The data is back up in El Segundo. I do believe we are a little bit behind in the count. I think we delayed some of the propellant loading activities,” says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development. “It looks good for today, which is obviously good news.”How far behind the countdown is running or the target launch time isn’t clear at the moment.2229 GMT (6:29 p.m. EDT)”We’re still having data connectivity problems. The rocket is fine. Everything is good there. We’re still trying to determine whether we can launch without the data in El Segundo,” Shotwell says.2219 GMT (6:19 p.m. EDT)Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development, just told reporters following today’s launch that there has been some difficulty getting the telemetry stream from Omelek Island to the company’s headquarters in El Segundo, California. Shotwell indicated that the data transmission was a requirement for the launch to proceed today.2200 GMT (6:00 p.m. EDT)The final hour of the countdown should be getting underway. It is a sunny and windy day on Omelek Island. We expect a status from SpaceX momentarily. 1800 GMT (2:00 p.m. EDT)Launch of the Falcon 1 rocket remains targeted for 2300 GMT today. SpaceX plans to begin providing live updates to the news media one hour prior to launch. Watch this page for the latest as information becomes available.SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2007An update from SpaceX came late Sunday night, when the company announced the official launch attempt would be Monday at 2300 GMT (7 p.m. EDT).SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2007A private space company’s second shot at flying its low-cost rocket into orbit could come as early as Monday after engineers successfully completed a critical pre-launch test firing of its main engine Thursday.Developed by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the two-stage Falcon 1rocket currently stands ready for launch on a remote seven-acre island inthe middle of the Pacific Ocean.The SpaceX launch team cleared one of the final hurdles before launchThursday, when controllers loaded the booster’s first stage withpropellant and ignited the Merlin main engine for a static test firinglasting about four seconds.”We had a very successful static fire yesterday that proceeded smoothlywith no aborts,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said Friday in an updateposted on the company’s Web site.The launch team uncovered a small glitch in the rocket’s GPS guidancesystem shortly after the test, but the anomaly is not considered majorsince the Falcon 1 primarily relies on inertial navigation during itsflight, Musk said.Another update from SpaceX is expected Sunday, when the company isplanning to announce the official planned launch date.The Falcon 1 rocket will fly due east from its secluded launch pad onOmelek Island, part of the U.S. military’s missile test range at KwajaleinAtoll in the Marshall Islands.This week’s launch will be a demonstration mission for the Pentagon’sDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Two NASA-sponsored experimentpackages are bolted atop the booster’s second stage.Less than 10 minutes after launch, the Falcon 1’s second stage Kestrelengine should be commanded to cut off. SpaceX is targeting anorbit about 425 miles high with an inclination of about 9 degrees.SpaceX officials spent the past year wrangling with upgrades to the Falcon1 launch system after the first attempted flight of the new rocket endedin failure last March due to a rapid fuel leak in its first stage.A government investigation traced the cause of the leak to a corrodedaluminum nut in the first stage’s Merlin engine, which burns highlyrefined kerosene called RP-1 and liquid oxygen.The leaking fuel trickled down the outside of the Merlin’s thrust chamberand caused a fire after the engine ignited. The Merlin prematurely shutdown about 30 seconds after liftoff, and the 70-foot-tall rocket fell fromthe sky and plummeted into the ocean just offshore from the launch site.Last year’s failure caused SpaceX to implement several changes to therocket and overhaul much of the Falcon 1’s countdown operations. Engineersincreased the number of system aborts by a factor of 30, according toMusk.SpaceX also added upgrades to the Merlin main engine to make thepowerplant more robust, and new software was developed to conduct healthchecks of the Merlin after engine ignition before the seven-story talllauncher is released by hold-down clamps, Musk said.The return-to-flight launch was postponed from January due to an issuewith the second stage engine’s thrust vector control pitch actuator, whichpivots the engine’s nozzle to guide the rocket toward space.The problem, coupled with the unavailability of the Kwajalein Army Rangedue to another missile test, pushed the launch to this month.
The Minotaur rocket was visible from Charlton, Mass. Credit: Chad WhitlockMinotaur rocket makes sunrise ascent from VirginiaPosted: December 16, 2006The Orbital Sciences Minotaur 1 rocket launches at 7 a.m. from Virginia’s Wallops Island carrying the Air Force’s TacSat 2 and NASA’s GeneSat 1 spacecraft.Photo credit: NASA Credit: NASASTS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.STS-133 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Expedition 21The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.Hubble PatchThe official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle’s last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Minotaur rocket poised for its first blastoff from VirginiaBY STEPHEN CLARKSPACEFLIGHT NOW
SPECIAL HONORS: Graduated first of 976 in the Class of 1981 at U.S. Naval Academy; Distinguished Graduate U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Class 95. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Department of Defense Superior Service and Meritorious Service Medals, Navy Commendation Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 3 NASA Space Flight Medals, and various other service awards.
FC K? Assisted by Pierre Bengtsson with a cross following a set piece situation. 16:13 Booking Booking Jason Jarrett (Chester FC) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul. 25:10 Attempt missed.4: Tokyo, Michael Brodie drew with Injin Chi (WBC featherweight),” said the source. The Report has been told by a source close to the highest levels of the FA that any efforts to debate with the Premier League about introducing greater financial scrutiny are blocked by its member clubs and Football League members on the FA’s board. 45:00 +0:43 Attempt saved. 19:53 Michael Rankine (Hereford United) wins a free kick.
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