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Space Technology

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off From Florida 112

An anonymous reader writes After two months of delays, SpaceX was successful today with its launch of six Orbcomm telecommunications satellites. All six satellites have been successfully deployed in orbit. The 375-pound satellites will offer two-way data links to help customers track, monitor and control transportation and logistics assets, heavy equipment, oil and gas infrastructure, ships and buoys, and government-owned equipment. From the article: "SpaceX plans to use Monday's launch to test a landing system it is developing to fly its rockets back to the launch site for refurbishment and reuse. During Falcon 9's last flight in April, the first stage successfully restarted some of its engines as it careened toward the ocean, slowing its descent. The rocket also was able to deploy stabilizing landing legs before toppling over in the water. The booster, however, was destroyed by rough seas before it could be retrieved by recovery ships. Monday's launch was the 10th flight of Falcon 9 rocket, all of which have been successful."
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SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off From Florida

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  • by koreanbabykilla ( 305807 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @03:27PM (#47450637) []

    Rocket booster reentry, landing burn & leg deploy were good, but lost hull integrity right after splashdown (aka kaboom).

    Detailed review of rocket telemetry needed to tell if due to initial splashdown or subsequent tip over and body slam

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @04:03PM (#47450867)

    It wasn't on the Shuttle's

    Yes it was.

    The Shuttle was never 'man rated'. It kiled its crew one time in sixty and had long periods during launch when an abort was not survivable. There's no way in Heck that NASA would put astronauts a SpaceX launcher that was as dangerous as the Shuttle.

  • by bledri ( 1283728 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @05:37PM (#47451563)

    SpaceX is not competing with NASA, because NASA doesn't make rockets. NASA has input on the design requirements, but all the real work is done by private contractors, like Lockheed and Boeing. SpaceX is just a new contractor and they operate just like the others. They have some interesting new engineering approaches that may reduce costs, but it's not any fundamentally new business model.

    Actually, it is a fundamentally different business model. You are correct that it was always private companies that did the final design and construction of the rockets, but historically Congress forced many decisions on NASA based largely on spreading the money around. For instance, NASA wanted the Space Shuttle to use liquid fueled boosters, but Congress insisted on the SRBs specifically so Thiokol Corporation of Utah would get the business. The same thing is happening with the STS under development now. Congress is forcing NASA to use Shuttle components in the first generation STS specifically to funnel money into certain congressional districts. Under the non-commercial contracts, Congress and NASA actually make design decisions that may not be optimum from an engineering perspective.

    The rules under which SpaceX performs NASA missions, are much different. NASA does not get involved in the design of the rocket/spacecraft beyond listing requirements that must be met. Some seed money is provided, for companies that win bids to compete. But ultimately the winners are paid a fixed price - which is also a big difference. Historically, these contracts were cost plus. This new approach does appear to be saving money and it is also leading to competing designs which is interesting as well. For instance with commercial crew, Boeing is building a fairly conventual capsule that lands under parachute, Sierra Nevada is building a lifting body that will reenter and glide like the shuttle, and SpaceX is building a capsule that will land propulsively (parahutes will only be deployed if there is a malfunction in the engines.)

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @09:27PM (#47453227)
    The Challenger accident. It would have been difficult to exploit an LAS with the normal Shuttle configuration. But if instead the Shuttle had been on top of the central oxygen tank rather than piggybacking, then an LAS would have been quite feasible - especially if NASA was using liquid fuel booster engines instead of solid fuel ones.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.