Saturday, August 04, 2007

If you thought the photos were cool...

Check out this high-quality video of the launch.

I grabbed this screenshot as the first stage separated.
(click the image to start the video)

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Unbelievable shots of DemoFlight2

When I saw these, I almost wet my drawers. It's amazing that we see these kinds of photos all the time, but this time for me it was just awe-inspiring. I have actually touched that nozzle. I watched as engineers worked on the finishing touches of the rocket.

And now I see it looking down from outer space. That is just awesome.

So here you go:

T+17s: Falcon1 leaving Omelek island in the mid-Pacific

T+2m58s: First Stage Separation

T+3m9s: Fairing separation

T+7m17s: Second Stage Engine firing away

T+8m12s: End of Mission... high above the horizon

Amazing stuff.

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Demo Flight 2 Review Update Released

Hey everyone.

I know it's been a little while, but there's a great report released by SpaceX on DemoFlight2. You might have already seen it, but in case you didn't, I thought I'd post it to the blog.

Some quick excerpts for the A.D.D. among us:

Did the hot-fire abort during the previous launch attempt have any effect on any of the anomalies or observations?
No relationship between the March 19 (PST) abort and the above mentioned anomalies has been found. The engines are designed and tested to be re-started in rapid succession. All vehicle and ground systems showed nominal prior to the decision to attempt launch again.

What caused the abort of the first launch attempt?
Cold fuel caused the combustion chamber pressure to be approximately 0.5% below the engine computer abort limit after engine start. Investigation revealed that the fuel was colder than normal due to the previous day’s launch attempt. Draining back colder than normal fuel into insulated tanks did not allow sufficient time to warm to expected levels for the next day’s operation. The solution is to add warming to the fuel conditioning regimen and verify fuel temp in the T-2 hours launch commit criteria.

And, the conclusion to the report:
This mission represents a large step forward for SpaceX and the Falcon 1 launch vehicle. Although short of complete success, a significant majority of mission objectives were met from both a programmatic and technical perspectives. Open issues were identified, but no items are anticipated to require major re-designs to fix.

Obtaining flight data from the vehicle was the primary objective of this test flight and was clearly achieved based on both the quantity and quality of performance and environmental data. Additionally, concept of operation, procedures, ground systems and control automation systems were validated. A rapid response capability was also demonstrated with a hot-fire abort within 70 minutes of launch.

Stage 1 recovery was not demonstrated and represents the only operational domain from which data was not attained by this mission. Additionally stage 2 coast and Kestrel re-start was not demonstrated, nor was Payload simulator deployment. Eight anomalies were identified which will be addressed prior to the next mission.

For the full report, click here.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hooollllyyyyy Shhiiiiiittttt!!!!

It made it. It's in space. The final frontier!!!

Mofo, that is awesome beyond words.

Will update when I know more.

Here's a sweeeeet photo from the rocket as it left the atmosphere.

Nothing much more to say...

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Main Pressure Chamber Abort

Pressure for the Main Chamber was 0.2% under the abort limit.

Missed by a hair...

Attempt will continue after analysis.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Terminal Count Abort

Strongback has been raised. Waiting for analysis.

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Ignition enabled...

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t-5 minutes

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T-Minus 8min

Auto-sequence has begun and the strongback has been lowered.

All systems still go.

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t-minus 15min

No holds planned at T-15. Looking gooood...

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Falcon 1 on Omelek

For those that don't have access to the webcam, here's a live photo from 1 minute ago.

t-minus 20min

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T-Zero at 4:45pm

As many of you probably know, the launch is in progress as we speak. I've been (painfully) in a car while this has been happening.

The status is that t-zero was moved from 4pm to 4:45pm to examine a data connectivity error between El Segundo (SpaceX head office), and Kwaj.

20 minutes to Ground Zero.

For the live webcam, go to:


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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Static Fire Successful

In preparation for launch of the DemoFlight 2, the team on Kwaj performed a static fire test yesterday. A static fire is when the rocket is fully loaded with fuel, and taken all the way through countdown and then held down as the engines are fired.

The reason for the static fire is to go through the countdown and check all systems. The static fire was successful and proceeded without any aborts. (aborts would be a computer alert to abort the launch based on any small system failure)

Initial review is very positive, almost to the point of a perfect countdown. There was an alert on the GPS system, but it is a back-up system designed to help with accuracy of the rocket's position in space, but not flight-critical.

Regardless, the SpaceX team are examining the GPS thoroughly to understand what caused the alert. Once the scope of the problem is understood, it will determine when the launch will occur.

In the meantime, here is a killer video of the static fire:


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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gearing up...

In the Control Room on Kwaj

The SpaceX team are back on Kwaj gearing up for a launch over the next few months.

Sunset on Omelek with the Upgraded Falcon 1

Current status for Falcon 1 is good with the full wet dress rehearsal complete. For those that don't remember what a wet dress rehearsal is, it's when the SpaceX team take the launch vehicle through the full countdown, within one minute of T-zero.

That includes evacuating the launch pad crew off the island, and filling all fuel tanks, taking the vehicle through all checks for launch, up until firing the engines.

It's great news that the wet dress showed only a few non-critical issues.

A static fire is the next step, which is the same as above, but the engines will fire while the rocket is held down. The static fire could happen as soon as Saturday. The reason for the rush is because Kwaj needs to reconfigure for an incoming missile test and the window we've got for the static fire is tight.

Anybody seen an incoming Missile Test before?

I'll keep sending updates as I get them. Once we get close to launch, I'll get everyone the Webcast information. I will post as soon as I have it.

Disclaimer: Nothing has changed and this is still not official SpaceX information. Please refer to the appropriate people at SpaceX for any and all launch information.

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