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Space ISS NASA Transportation

SpaceX Dragon Set To Launch 111

Posted by timothy
from the go-cat-go dept.
SpaceX's first regular launch to the International Space Station is set to go off at 8:35 (Eastern time) Sunday evening; the first SpaceX launch to successfully reach the ISS was more of a test, though it did bring some goodies to the crew. Wired has a live video feed in place. Slashdot reader Lee Sheridan is in Florida for the launch; if you're one of the billion Facebook users, his photos of the mission briefing and Falcon 9 lift vehicle being lifted to vertical are public. The SpaceX twitter feed might be fun to watch, too. Update: 10/08 00:09 GMT by T : Bonus points for intelligent parsing of the acronym-laden communications on the live feed.
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SpaceX Dragon Set To Launch

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  • Simplicity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @07:39PM (#41580269) Homepage Journal

    One thing that strikes me is how modern technology has simplified so many things. Mission control is so much simpler and streamlined - just flat screen monitors on tables. Much cleaner. Even the launch system, using a static support tower angled away from the rocket, appears (at least to my untrained eye) much simpler these days than the mechanized support systems that had to release or pull away from the rockets.

    Launch looks perfect so far. Second stage just ignited.

  • pop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by strack (1051390) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @10:00PM (#41581013)
    i watched the launch, and on the closeup view of the engines from spacex, one of those engines definitely went pop at 1:20 into the flight. you can see the debris coming off. its unmistakable. i guess its a testament to the value of having the ability to sustain a engine failure and still get into orbit.
  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:01PM (#41581321) Homepage
    Do the simple math:

    SpaceX is being paid by NASA $1,600,000,000 to launch 12 vehicles to the International Space Station, each of which carries 2,000lbs of cargo. Total contract pays them $1,600,000,000 to carry 24,000lbs of cargo to the International Space Station. The Space Shuttle carried 28,000lbs to the International Space Station for about $400 million per launch.

    We could have flown the shuttle once a year for 1/4th the cost, gotten more payload to orbit, and have gotten crew to the ISS. For 1/2 the cost, we could have rotated ISS crew every six months and taken 2x the amount of payload to the space station. We should have continued work on the Crew Return Vehicle, and we should have gotten Ares-I working and under control.

    The current path that we are on is total bullshit.
  • Re:SpaceX stream (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:03PM (#41581323)

    The reason for the takedown appears to be due to a rapid unplanned disassembly of engine 1 during Max-Q: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6zsZiVa998&wadsworth=1

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:09PM (#41581359)

    I think test flights for the abort system (which has been developed) start in 2013. First a launch pad abort test, then in-flight at max q. That may have changed. The 30 day life support systems have been tested. I think the last estimate I heard for start of manned missions is mid-2015.

    I don't know what rocket configuration they're planning to use to put manned dragons up, but the capsules can handle over a ton, and I know they were meant to start launching the Falcon Heavy configuration in 2013 as well.

    They've been pretty speedy. I hope to see them doing the human shuttling soon enough, and hopefully a Red Dragon delivery to Mars. It'd be nice to have a little forward pressure on NASA, for a change.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:00AM (#41581563)

    I just moved to Merritt Island 2 weeks ago and I got to watch it take off, it was pretty cool, we are relatively close to the launch site and it took like 2 minutes before the sound even reached us.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:34AM (#41581701)
    Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] Falcon 9's payload to LEO (low earth orbit) is 29,000 pounds (not 2000 lbs). LEO is up to 1,200 miles [wikipedia.org], whereas the ISS orbits at 205 to 255 miles [wikipedia.org]. (The 10,700 lb capacity mentioned by the other reply is for geosynchronous orbit which is FAR higher and not where the ISS lives.)

    This turns your calculations on their head; both vehicles have more capacity than NASA wants for servicing the ISS, and the Falcon 9 is (already) only 1/4 the cost of the (very mature) shuttle per launch.

    I am wondering what Falcon 9's success rate will be though. They've only had a few launches. Surely one will blow up sooner or later.

  • Re:In Orbit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Altanar (56809) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:33AM (#41581931)
    Except... *ahem*.. The catestrophic failure of engine one at T+1:20 [youtube.com]. Shielding and control systems easily compensated, though.

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