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SpaceX (general discussion)

Flyaway

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Lot of new info in this article.

SpaceX readying Starhopper for hops in Texas as Pad 39A plans materialize in Florida



For instance, up until recently, the company was planning to utilize Raptor SN4 for the untethered hops. However, the company has now decided to utilize this engine only for fit checks, and will instead perform the hops with SN5 – the latest Raptor to come out of SpaceX’s factory in Hawthorne, California.
It is understood that the Texas-based vehicle has been designated Mk.1 while the Florida-based vehicle has been designated Mk.2.
SpaceX already has two launch pads in Florida, but both are being actively used to support the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Therefore, the company had been looking at a variety of options for launching Starship.

However, Pad 39A has recently become the frontrunner to support Starship. While it is perhaps the obvious choice when considering its large size, the launch complex is also needed to support critically important Falcon launches.
 

Dragon029

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Yusaku Maezawa's invited another artist to join him on the DearMoon mission:

As with the previous invitation (given to Damien Chazelle; director of "First Man" [about Neil Armstrong]), it's not entirely certain if Ringo's accepted the offer or not.
 

Flyaway

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Little legal recourse for astronomers concerned about Starlink

Despite complaints by individual astronomers and astronomical organizations, legal experts say there is little they can do under existing federal law and regulations to halt the deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.
“The rapid increase in the number of satellite groups poses an emerging threat to the natural nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies,” said the International Dark-Sky Association, a group devoted primarily to addressing terrestrial light pollution threats to astronomy, in a May 29 statement.
That statement also included an anecdote from James Lowenthal, a professor of astronomy at Smith College, who observed the initial Starlink train while on an outing with students. Seeing the satellites, he said, was a “shocking and devastating sight.”
Michael Listner of Space Law and Policy Solutions said in a June 3 interview that the only legal recourse for astronomers would be to file a case in federal court, including seeking a temporary injunction to block future launches. He was skeptical, though, that such a case would be successful, since damages to astronomers from constellations like Starlink are only “speculative” at this time.

Others noted that astronomers missed opportunities to comment earlier, such as when the FCC was considering SpaceX’s original application for the Starlink constellation or its more recent modification seeking approval to operate some satellites at a lower altitude. The public docket for that application, on the FCC’s website, primarily consists of letters and petitions from other satellite operators concerned about radiofrequency interference.
 

sferrin

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Notice how Elon Musk is the villain when there are at least 3 or 4 other group planning to put up constellations as big as Starlink.
 

martinbayer

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Notice how Elon Musk is the villain when there are at least 3 or 4 other group planning to put up constellations as big as Starlink.
I really don't think there's any surprise at all in someone getting criticized for actually doing something over other people who are merely claiming to be "planning" to do so...
 

Flyaway

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Notice how Elon Musk is the villain when there are at least 3 or 4 other group planning to put up constellations as big as Starlink.
I really don't think there's any surprise at all in someone getting criticized for actually doing something over other people who are merely claiming to be "planning" to do so...
One Web bigs to differ with you being as they already launched the first six in their constellation earlier this year.

 

sferrin

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Notice how Elon Musk is the villain when there are at least 3 or 4 other group planning to put up constellations as big as Starlink.
I really don't think there's any surprise at all in someone getting criticized for actually doing something over other people who are merely claiming to be "planning" to do so...
Given that the other players planning on constellations in the thousands are Amazon, Boeing, Thales (and one other that escapes me at the moment), I wouldn't poo-poo it.
 

Flyaway

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One legacy of Carl Sagan may take flight next week—a working solar sail

As early as next Monday night, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch a cluster of 24 satellites for the US Air Force. Known as the Space Test Program-2 mission, the rocket will deposit its payloads into three different orbits. Perhaps the most intriguing satellite will be dropped off at the second stop—a circular orbit 720km above the Earth's surface. This is the Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft.

After a week in space, allowing the satellites deposited in this orbit to drift apart, LightSail 2 will eject from its carrying case into open space. About the size of a loaf of bread, the 5kg satellite will eventually unfurl into a solar sail 4 meters long by 5.6 meters tall. The Mylar material composing the sail is just 4.5 microns thick, or about one-tenth as thick as a human hair.
 

sferrin

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Basic concept proven with Echo satellites. (Not solar sails but IIRC were affected by solar wind due to their light weight and large size.)

615521
 

sferrin

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SN5? SN6? What are they talking about? Raptor engines? They having that much trouble finding a good one?
 

Orionblamblam

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One thing that could be said about Atlas is with it's stainless construction being pressurized it sure had fewer wrinkles.
Indeed. The Starships look... well, terrible and amateurish. Even production V-2's looked better than this. These look like high school drama club productions.
 

sferrin

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Yep. For a hopper, who cares? If they intend to try a reentry though. . . .I don't know how much confidence I'd have in that wrinkly crap.
 

Orionblamblam

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Yep. For a hopper, who cares?
Me.
1) Craftsmanship. Pride in what you're making.
2) PR. Just looks like junk.
3) Wrinkly crap can catch a breeze more than a smooth, featureless surface. The flow field around a hopper *could* be quite entertaining. Not only could such winds rips bits off, those bits could serve as sails.

But, basically... #1.
 

sferrin

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Yep. For a hopper, who cares?
Me.
1) Craftsmanship. Pride in what you're making.
2) PR. Just looks like junk.
3) Wrinkly crap can catch a breeze more than a smooth, featureless surface. The flow field around a hopper *could* be quite entertaining. Not only could such winds rips bits off, those bits could serve as sails.

But, basically... #1.
And I get that. When I saw the first one they were building I thought, "YGBSM!" Buuuut... attention to that finish, that at least on the hoppers isn't THAT important, is more money/time and they seem to be moving a fast as humanly possible. The effort they're making you'd think Elon got a message from NASA saying, "the asteroid is going to hit in 3 years. . ." Frankly I'm surprised we didn't see more cries of "snake-oil" from the industry but, at this point, I think they're not certain he won't pull it off so why look like sour-grapes.
 

Grey Havoc

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One reason they may be rushing things (or trying to at least) is that a lot of the rest of Musk's empire isn't doing that well at the moment.
 

Dragon029

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The timeline for Starship hasn't really changed in a few years now; SpaceX is also privately owned, Elon isn't the CEO of SpaceX, and Tesla / SpaceX have no major financial tie other than a common majority shareholder who's not going anywhere.
 

Flyaway

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I find it fascinating to see how different the attitude to this project is on here compared to elsewhere. I actually think that’s no bad thing in the grand scheme of things.
 

jeffb

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Just to return to the StarLink issue briefly, how well are the legal frameworks around orbital objects set up? Especially those in LEO? What would be the legal ramifications for a foreign power or individual who, deciding they didn't like the way the Starlink constellation interfered with their view of the stars, started pulling them down? Asking for a supervillain friend.
 

Flyaway

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New photo of Starship orbital on east coast, Cocoa,Fl. Looking like a sleek bullet. Photos taken by ?

(Progress)

Aerial shots from the #StarShip development in Florida. The #SpaceX crews are stepping into overdrive, it appears that they are tied(as of right now) with the Boca Chica crews.

Photos acquired from the SpaceX Facebook page, as to who took these is unknown.
Confirmation in screenshot attached to below tweet that drone was flown legally

 

Moose

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SN5? SN6? What are they talking about? Raptor engines? They having that much trouble finding a good one?
Yes the SN_ series are the production run of Raptors. SNs 1-3 were test stand engines. 4 was essentially flight-configuration and used both to fit-check Hopper as well as for the first short burn, then removed to be broken down and inspected. SN5 was supposed to be the engine that did the first flight tests, but an unknown/unconfirmed issue came up so they decided to skip it and go to 6. Part of this is down to how fast they're moving; a more traditionally conservative approach would be to just wait on the program while the first flight engine was broken down and inspected, then wait longer while it was put back together it could be used for the next test. SpaceX is just assuming things are more or less good, and that they can go forward even if the inspections turns up some issues because those will get ironed out in future engines.
 

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SN5? SN6? What are they talking about? Raptor engines? They having that much trouble finding a good one?
Yes the SN_ series are the production run of Raptors. SNs 1-3 were test stand engines. 4 was essentially flight-configuration and used both to fit-check Hopper as well as for the first short burn, then removed to be broken down and inspected. SN5 was supposed to be the engine that did the first flight tests, but an unknown/unconfirmed issue came up so they decided to skip it and go to 6. Part of this is down to how fast they're moving; a more traditionally conservative approach would be to just wait on the program while the first flight engine was broken down and inspected, then wait longer while it was put back together it could be used for the next test. SpaceX is just assuming things are more or less good, and that they can go forward even if the inspections turns up some issues because those will get ironed out in future engines.
Minor correction - it was actually the SN2 (serial number 2) engine that was used for the first tethered hop in April and subsequently sent to be broken down for inspection. SN1 and 3 were apparently always intended for bench testing and SN4 was initially expected to be used for the first untethered flights. However it was only used for fit check a couple weeks ago and SN5 was expected to be the first flight engine, but it was apparently damaged during testing (Musk tweeted it needed "repairs"), and now the rumors are SN6 should be the first flight engine...
 

Moose

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SN5? SN6? What are they talking about? Raptor engines? They having that much trouble finding a good one?
Yes the SN_ series are the production run of Raptors. SNs 1-3 were test stand engines. 4 was essentially flight-configuration and used both to fit-check Hopper as well as for the first short burn, then removed to be broken down and inspected. SN5 was supposed to be the engine that did the first flight tests, but an unknown/unconfirmed issue came up so they decided to skip it and go to 6. Part of this is down to how fast they're moving; a more traditionally conservative approach would be to just wait on the program while the first flight engine was broken down and inspected, then wait longer while it was put back together it could be used for the next test. SpaceX is just assuming things are more or less good, and that they can go forward even if the inspections turns up some issues because those will get ironed out in future engines.
Minor correction - it was actually the SN2 (serial number 2) engine that was used for the first tethered hop in April and subsequently sent to be broken down for inspection. SN1 and 3 were apparently always intended for bench testing and SN4 was initially expected to be used for the first untethered flights. However it was only used for fit check a couple weeks ago and SN5 was expected to be the first flight engine, but it was apparently damaged during testing (Musk tweeted it needed "repairs"), and now the rumors are SN6 should be the first flight engine...
My thanks, updated the notes I'm using to keep it all straight:cool:
 

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and all those bits and pieces flew right into the power-head (engine injector assembly)! Must have been a very ugly engine tear-down. Full-flow has its drawbacks. And I assume the stator was a down-stream type or it would have taken out the turbine wheel as well.

David
 

Flyaway

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~1000 flights with little maintenance?!? What?! Seriously, what specifically about raptor makes it anywhere near capable of that compared to previous engines?! Something about the seals / bearings / materials / full flow producing max enthalpy?

Other rocket engines were designed for no (or almost no) reuse. Raptor is designed for heavy & immediate reuse, like an aircraft jet engine, with inspections required only after many flights, assuming instrumentation shows it good. Using hydrostatic bearings certainly helps.
 

Michel Van

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Elon Musk on twitter
Since Raptor produces 200 tons of force, cost per ton would be $1000. However, Raptor is designed for ~1000 flights with negligible maintenance, so cost per ton over time would actually be ~$1.
Was NASA not saying that about SSME in 1970s?
Blue Origin goes for more realistic 25 use for there BE-4 engines
 

sferrin

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Elon Musk on twitter
Since Raptor produces 200 tons of force, cost per ton would be $1000. However, Raptor is designed for ~1000 flights with negligible maintenance, so cost per ton over time would actually be ~$1.
Was NASA not saying that about SSME in 1970s?
And? Does that mean it'll never happen?
 

fredymac

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Well they got the side boosters back but they seem to be having bad luck with the center core. On the flip side, they finally caught the fairings.

 

Flyaway

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Falcon Heavy Night Launch With Incredible SpaceX Nebula!

Astronomy Live

Published on Jun 25, 2019

Launch of STP-2, featuring a dramatic display of the SpaceX nebula/rainbow, along with twin booster landings at LZ-1 and LZ-2.

Tracked with UFOTraker, recorded with an 8" Meade LX200 telescope and Canon T5i camera.

 

sferrin

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Well they got the side boosters back but they seem to be having bad luck with the center core. On the flip side, they finally caught the fairings.

The first center core was due to a fuel shortage IIRC, the second weather (they'd actually landed it just fine). This third one was by far the highest speed they tried landing from. If they repeat that profile I have no doubt they'll stick it next time.
 

sferrin

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Yeah, that's a bummer. FH launches are definitely exciting.
 
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