Tag Archives: SpaceX

Video of SpaceX Falcon 9 crashing and burning in the ocean is what progress looks like

18 Jan

I realize this might not be your first thought when watching the video clip, but it really is.

Those seven seconds of carnage were a great sign of success. That Falcon 9, about 10 minutes earlier on January 10th, was sitting on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The pad is 320km to the west of the barge. The barge is 100×300 feet, floating in the ocean.

The Falcon 9 launched, released the upper stage on it’s way to the International Space Station (which arrived flawlessly), and then the first stage managed to navigate itself to that barge.

That feat alone is pretty amazing.

The barge – all 30,000 sq feet of it – is TINY. Getting the Falcon 9 anywhere near it is impressive.

(Consider for comparison something with a landing envelope of say, 5 square kilometers (aka about 43,000,000 sq feet). In spaceflight terms, 5 sq km is an incredibly precise landing. 30,000 feet is 0.07% of 43,000,000 – or about 1500 times more precise.)

And then they almost landed it. If it hadn’t run out of that pesky hydraulic fluid used to control the aerodynamic fins – causing them to lock up – it probably would have made it, or at least come closer.

SpaceX will try again, and that’s what all this is about.

(Update: They’ll try again on the CRS6 launch, currently scheduled for Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 4:33 p.m. ET.)

Progress to make launching rockets more cost effective. Progress to find new ways to control rockets in flight. Progress to make them more efficient.

And one day, progress towards being able to fly a rocket to another world, land it, and then come back home with it — because remember, that is Elon Musk’s goal.

Video of that hard barge landing is exactly what progress looks like.

Read more here / watch a video clip of Jesse, Jerry, and yours truly chatting about it (and more!) on Sun News Network on Friday afternoon:

New Horizons, Dawn, SpaceX, long ISS stays are top space stories to watch in 2015

4 Jan

The year 2015 is poised to be a busy one for space exploration.

New Horizons arriving at Pluto is perhaps the biggest story in a number of years, and has certainly been a long time coming. Humanity exploring a new world (note I say world, not planet) in our own solar system is a notable event. New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto will be on July 14, 2014 at 7:49:59 a.m. ET.

Ditto Dawn’s arrival at Ceres. The possibilities of what could be found there are very intriguing. Dawn is set to arrive in orbit of Ceres on March 6, 2015.

SpaceX makes the top three for me on account of what they’re going to be trying to accomplish this year in terms of reusable rockets (January 6 launch upcoming Tuesday is definitely one to watch). This is pushing new boundaries in terms of rocket technology. Watching the continued development of Dragon V2 is also significant.

Though along with SpaceX, I consider the ongoing expansion of private space flight truly noteworthy. It will reshape how we view space travel, and the number of people who can achieve it.

Long duration ISS stays are also something to watch, as much as anything because of how they fit into the puzzle that is humans one day reaching Mars.

There’s also a solar eclipse upcoming on March 20, 2015, and two lunar eclipses this year: April 4 and September 28, 2015.

And much much more.

Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft during its planned encounter with Pluto and its moon, Charon. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments will characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 2.1-meter dish antenna, through which it communicates with Earth from as far as 7.5 billion km away. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft during its planned encounter with Pluto and its moon, Charon. The craft’s miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments will characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto’s atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft’s most prominent design feature is a nearly 2.1-meter dish antenna, through which it communicates with Earth from as far as 7.5 billion km away. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

SpaceX launches SES-8

4 Dec

The third time proved to be the charm for SpaceX.

The company successfully launched a commercial communications satellite into orbit on Tuesday evening.

Attempts to the launch the satellite last week were twice met with technical glitches.

Lifting off at 5:41 p.m. EST on Tuesday, December 3 the 22-story tall Falcon 9 rocket carried the 3,175 kg SES-8 satellite into an elliptical orbit that reaches 80,000 km – one quarter of the distance to the Moon.

Tuesday’s launch was from Cape Canaveral, Florida and was the seventh flight of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket – all successful.

The SES-8 satellite is owned by Luxembourg-based SES S.A., which currently operates a fleet of 54 satellites.

In the coming days SES-8 will maneuver itself into a circular, geo-synchronous orbit above Asia at an altitude of 36,000 km.

From there the satellite will be able to provide television, broadband and other communications services to customers in India, China, Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia.

The delivery of the SES-8 satellite “confirms the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle delivers to the industry’s highest performance standards,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in a statement after the launch.

SpaceX proving its ability to launch commercial satellites is a significant step in a lucrative industry.

This article by Harrison Ruess was originally posed on Sun News Network.

Time-lapse of SpaceX's Falcon 9 SES-8 launch

Time-lapse of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 SES-8 launch

The SpaceX Falcon 9 carries the SES-8 satellite into geo-synchronous orbit

The SpaceX Falcon 9 carries the SES-8 satellite into geo-synchronous orbit