Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
×
NASA Space Beer Star Wars Prequels

NASA Uses Its First Recycled SpaceX Rocket For a Re-Supply Mission (nypost.com) 93

An anonymous reader quotes the New York Post: SpaceX racked up another first on Friday, launching a recycled rocket with a recycled capsule on a grocery run for NASA. The unmanned Falcon rocket blasted off with a just-in-time-for-Christmas delivery for the International Space Station, taking flight again after a six-month turnaround. On board was a Dragon supply ship, also a second-time flier. It was NASA's first use of a reused Falcon rocket and only the second of a previously flown Dragon.

Within 10 minutes of liftoff, the first-stage booster was back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, standing upright on the giant X at SpaceX's landing zone. That's where it landed back in June following its first launch. Double sonic booms thundered across the area. At SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, cheers erupted outside the company's glassed-in Mission Control, where chief executive Elon Musk joined his employees.

The Dragon reaches the space station Sunday. The capsule last visited the 250-mile-high outpost in 2015. This time, the capsule is hauling nearly 5,000 pounds of goods, including 40 mice for a muscle-wasting study, a first-of-its-kind impact sensor for measuring space debris as minuscule as a grain of sand and barley seeds for a germination experiment by Budweiser, already angling to serve the first beer on Mars.

Also onboard were several hundred Star Wars mission patches created by a partnership between Lucasfilm and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the non-profit organization managing the ISS National Lab). Space.com reports that Elon Musk named the Falcon X after the original Millennium Falcon in Star Wars.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NASA Uses Its First Recycled SpaceX Rocket For a Re-Supply Mission

Comments Filter:
  • Space.com reports that Elon Musk named the Falcon X after the original Millennium Falcon in Star Wars.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F1d3QWsyk0

  • But... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Templer421 ( 4988421 )

    NASA said reusable rockets would not work!

    • No, that was Arianespace. ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      To be fair NASA has tried to create a reusable spacecraft several times (Space Shuttle, Venture Star, DC-X) but each time congress in their "wisdom" butted in. SLS is a perfect example, instead of giving NASA a simple mandate (build a reusable orbital launch vehicle) and a fixed budget a bunch of old politicians proceeded to give NASA a bag of parts (old shuttle hardware) and told them to make a rocket out of it somehow. Now NASA has its managerial issues to be sure, but the current management has done wo

      • I wish someone would give me a bunch of old shuttle parts. I bet I could make a car scoot with the engine from a turbo pump.

        With all the greenie 'progress' I might even be able to find Hydrogen, but LOX is a problem. Noise might be an issue, I've got cool neighbors and all, but that's a little beyond breaking in a hopped up V8. Tires...drivetrain, gonna cost a fortune, top fuel parts, maybe tank parts, gonna break them. Still worth a try.

        For the street of course. They wouldn't allow that monstrosity on

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @02:11PM (#55751795) Homepage

    The good news is that it seemed like NASA would be one of the last groups to use reused rockets because of their deep-seated bureaucracy. That they've used both a reused first-stage and a partially reused Dragon shows how far this has really come. And this sort of thing adds up to massive savings for the taxpayer, as well as making satellite launches cheaper for everyone else. Moreover, easy back of the envelope calculations also show that reusing first stages takes drastically less energy than throwing them away and so less CO2 is produced. (When SpaceX switches to their next rocket type which they intend to use the Raptor rocket engine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raptor_(rocket_engine_family) [wikipedia.org] which will use methane, which can be produced using the Sabatier process https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabatier_reaction [wikipedia.org], which will allow in the long-run actually carbon neutral rockets.

    The bad news is that as far as it seems, this sort of thing hasn't stopped the Space Launch System from continued to being funded https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System [wikipedia.org]. The SLS is essentially a massively expensive, very large rocket that can only be used once. It has cost billions of dollars and will cost billions more, and it isn't going to be ready for a very long time, and may end up launching only 2 or 3 times. In contrast, SpaceX continues to work on the BFR (Big Falco Rocket https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BFR_(rocket) [wikipedia.org], yes, "Falcon" can also stand for something else), is costing far less to develop than the SLS, will likely have a higher payload to low-earth orbit, and will be fully reusable. What this should be is a wake-up call to stop funding the SLS which is primarily massive pork for a small number of big defense and old space companies rather than a serious development of a useful launch system.

    • When launching stuff into space, CO2 is the least of our worries. It's a rounding error compared to everything else.

      • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @02:43PM (#55751907) Homepage
        Rounding error compared to what? We don't lose anything by reducing CO2 use. And the amount of CO2 produced by launches is not small. For example, the Falcon 9 uses around 25,000 gallons of kerosene per a launch, which is about the same CO2 output as a moderate sized US town. However, the total produced CO2 if you count that made in making a rocket is typically an order of magnitude or more higher. Moreover, if your concern is about other pollutants, then the Falcon 9 and other rockets that SpaceX uses are also particularly clean for those also. One of the reasons that SpaceX avoided using solid rocket boosters is because they are terrible from a pollution perspective. Solid rocket motors often use aluminium perchlorate which is bad for the ozone layer since burning it releases chlorine (and has an impact similar to CFCs https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090414-rockets-ozone.html [nationalgeographic.com]), as well as all sorts of other nasties which are produced since they are also burning PBAN or some other rubber-like substance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polybutadiene_acrylonitrile [wikipedia.org]. Yes, as a fraction of total pollution these are small, but we do better by reducing pollution from all sources in general, and every little bit helps.
        • For example, the Falcon 9 uses around 25,000 gallons of kerosene per a launch, which is about the same CO2 output as a moderate sized US town.

          As a moderate-sized US town launched into space? Or how exactly are you comparing it to a town?

          • Missed a phrase on my part; sorry. As about how much a medium sized town produces in a 24 hour period.
            • At about forty launches per year, as SpaceX planned for F9 cores, it comes out as about .005 gallons per US citizen per year. I'm pretty sure we don't need to care about that. Worst possible scenario, upon BFR's successful introduction, the Jevons paradox kicks in.
        • They're switching to methane-LOX anyway. And you can consider that the reduction in CO2 from Teslas and solar panels still means Elon Musk is Carbon-Negative. :-)

        • by ezdiy ( 2717051 )
          > Rounding error compared to what?
          Google 'bunker oil' and 'container ship'.

          > Yes, as a fraction of total pollution these are small, but we do better by reducing pollution from all sources in general

          No, we reduce Co2 by going after the few and worst offenders, like coal powerplants and car emissions, not 1% in the long trail. CO2 producers follow a Pareto pattern, so better use sorting algorithm optimized for it.

          >One of the reasons that SpaceX avoided using solid rocket boosters is because
        • by torkus ( 1133985 )

          My understanding was SpaceX avoided SRBs because they are not easily reusable. You can return them for full refurbishment and relaunch but ultimately the SpaceX concept/goal is launch, land, refuel, launch - more like a plane. You can't do that with a SRB.

          Pollution is a very minor worry. The rounding error statement is accurate. The amount of CO2 contributed by space launches (not just SpaceX) as a whole is minuscule in a global sense.

          While reducing pollution is good, focusing those reductions on the la

        • One of the reasons that SpaceX avoided using solid rocket boosters is because they are terrible from a pollution perspective.

          Um, no. From the start, they wanted reusable boosters. You can't easily throttle down or start/stop solid rocket boosters. If you're going to try to land a rocket, solid is about the worst choice. Pollution has nothing to do with it.

          • SpaceX experimented with trying to do parachute landings with the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9. If that had worked, then solids would have worked fine from a throttling standpoint. Solids do have other issues with reuse, in particular that you have to essentially crack open the whole thing and almost rebuild it from scratch which is why the solids from the shuttle were by many estimates more expensive to reuse than to just throw away. But at the same time, note that Falcon 1 wasn't really reusable at all- to a lar
        • There's almost always a tradeoff somewhere. Could be efficiency, could be complexity, could be some other emissions that get increased. In automotive ICEs, for example, there is a direct tradeoff between efficiency increases (and CO2 reduction) via increased compression ratio and combustion temperature, and the increase in nitrogen oxide emissions that results.

          "Every little bit helps" is an incredibly wasteful way to approach things, prone to generating unnecessary additional costs while achieving less. The

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      The good news is that it seemed like NASA would be one of the last groups to use reused rockets because of their deep-seated bureaucracy.

      Not so much NASA. They've tried re-usability on a few programs with varying degrees of success.

      Space Launch System

      This is where you need to look for the biggest roadblocks to re-use. The traditional aerospace suppliers have been in the business of selling disposable crap. Because that's how they know to make money. And they were not willing to step up and meet SpaceX's benchmark. I imagine that executives at ULA and it's minions are hoping for the next generation of pragmatists to step into Musk's shoes. They will be more lik

      • Nobody's going to be able to sell non-reusable rockets, with SpaceX and Blue Origin competing. Unfortunately, ULA's current re-use strategy, so-called "SMART reuse" isn't going to be competitive and they are going to have to come up with another plan, but both ULA and Arianne understand that they can't compete without reuse

        ULA's so-called "SMART reuse" is the wrong kind of efficient. It's actually more efficient in use of fuel and lifting power than SpaceX, but because they throw away the tanks and booster

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Solandri ( 704621 )

      The good news is that it seemed like NASA would be one of the last groups to use reused rockets because of their deep-seated bureaucracy.

      You do realize NASA used reusable rockets for manned spaceflight for 30 years? The Space Shuttle's main engines were reusable, as well as the solid rocket boosters (they would parachute down into the sea, where they were collected, disassembled, cleaned, repacked with fuel, and reassembled).

      NASA's problem with reusable spacecraft has always been cost, not engineering.

      • The Space Shuttle's main engines were reusable, as well as the solid rocket boosters (they would parachute down into the sea, where they were collected, disassembled, cleaned, repacked with fuel, and reassembled).

        The main engines were more like repairable than reusable, and the only thing recovered from the SRBs was the steel cores, everything else was predictably scrap by the time it was fished out of sea water after being submerged while still hot.

      • by torkus ( 1133985 )

        NASA's problem with...almost everything...isn't cost. Well not directly. It's bureaucracy - which leads to cost.

        They're really GOOD at engineering. Amazing even. But like often happens, you can't just let the geeks play. Someone(s) have to oversee them and "manage" them. Not to mention, NASA is one of the larger chunks of the budget that is available to be spent whatever way the political wind blows.

    • You're assuming the primary mission of SLS is to put stuff into space instead of distributing money to a large number of voting districts so that politicians can brag about bringing high-tech space jobs to that area.

      It's the same as the F-35. The fact that the plane actually flies (well, most of the time it does) is just a bonus.

  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @02:24PM (#55751827)
    She shops at SpaceX for used space capsules. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!o
  • So they launched hundreds of Lucas Film|Star Wars Mission Patches [purch.com] into space for what? To hand out to the visiting aliens?

  • They had to take care of some outstanding bugs and feature requests for the death star attack run simulator our astronauts use for training.
  • Has no more excuses for failing now.

    Just write the check to SpaceX from now on.

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.

Working...