Rocketry General Thread

#1

Check below for current stuff!

[OUTDATED] To whom it may concern: 20 minutes to the rocket launch. Watch it on spacex.com or youtube. I'm kind of surprised that there hasn't been any thread for real-life rockets yet... or is may search foo too weak? :smiley:

EDIT: Launch has been moved back by 65 minutes. Meh.

EDIT2: And aborted. Retry possibly tomorrow, otherwise we're pending for a date announcement.

EDIT3: 2nd attempt is go but flaky weather. Will update as the countdown runs down.

EDIT4: 2nd attempt scrubbed due to weather. New launch date pending. I'll post below when we know more.

EDIT5: Next launch attempt would have been today, however it has been scrubbed in favor of Tuesday.

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Most recent spacex launch and landing test footage(Orbcomm)
#2

Cool, I didn't realise they streamed it. Shame I'm working tommorrow and can't manage the 65 minute delay frowning

#3

That's pretty cool, I had no idea they streamed this kinda stuff smile

#4

My search foo is too week. Thanks!

#5

Which is why I thought posting this might be interesting. smiley You're welcome! Sucks that the launch was aborted. Hopefully we'll have more luck next time!

#6

It's yours now xami !

#7

Yeah I'm kinda bummed about not seeing it launch but oh well I'll try and catch the next 1 smile

#8

So launch attempt 2 is go from SpaceX's side, however the weather is not looking good. No webcast this time sadly, it is rumored that they don't want to keep showing delays and it looks like it might happen again today. While I can understand that I feel that those watching are fully aware of the factors surrounding the delays, meaning there shouldn't be a negative backlash either way. I'll update again later in case anyone is interested.

I'll of course try to update once another webcasted launch is coming around for you newcomers. I think seeing one is a worthwhile experience. smiley

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#9

The problem is, they got so many delays that it is scaring clients away. Between that and the corruption marketing power playing in favour of the more established companies, particularly in the US where most of their market seems to be, it may make things quite difficult for them.

I really hope they can get past that, though. A new actor bringing cheaper launches will force others to evolve and lower launch prices globally, if successful. In fact, we are already seeing such effects. Arianespace took them as a serious rival since pretty much their first launch, and are already beginning to move ; I would expect the other big players to do the same.

It may take years before we see actual wide effects, be it by SpaceX developing into a big player or the big players adapting to SpaceX, but I would expect a steep price reduction on launches in 15 years.

Now that the rocket side seems to evolve, let's just hope that Skylon can give us a replacement for the Space Shuttle - or rather, what the Space Shuttle was originally supposed to be : a reusable spaceplane with (relatively) cheap flight cost.

#10

And scrubbed.

@ThornEel: Well, they might be having a ton of delays (and I agree that it seems to be getting out of hand), but on the other hand they are already a good bit cheaper than the alternatives. I guess the saying that you can pick any two from cheap, fast, and good still holds true. I'd put SpaceX at cheap and good so far.

I do believe that they will get past these problems. I've never heard helium being a huge problem on any of the other launch systems, but that might be because I lack information on them. I hope SpaceX keeps continuously updating the production line to keep improving their boosters.

Yes, Skylon looks really good. However it currently still seems like one of those projects that will take decades to produce results. I hope it stays strong and await its first flight eagerly.

#11

I missed the original launch time for this but it seems like I'm in luck! Any news on the launch window for tuesday?

#12

Not that I can find, but I'll update as I get it. It will however be longer – 2.5 hours instead of 1 hour, I've read. Weather currently doesn't look good for Tuesday either, it is believed that they'll be hoping for a hole where they can launch within the 2.5 hours.

#13

So erhm.. a more expensive company launching regardless of weather would be fast and... ?

#14

I guess that "good" here means things like not blowing up often and putting the payload in a very exact orbit, or reliability of the launch itself.

For example, Ariane 5 (not counting the first few failures when it still had teething problems) is extremely reliable - it was supposed to launch people, after all, which means extra reliability constraints. It can also put its payload in orbit with an incredible precision. And it easily churn out half a dozen rockets a year (it often launch 2 satellites at once - again, massive payload because it was supposed to launch people).
But compared to, say, a smaller, simpler Proton, it is sooo expensive. There is a reason why you'll find Soyuz and Vega too at in Arianespace's catalogue.

On the other hand, said Proton, while being able to launch fairly often as well, tends to messily crash or otherwise fail about once or twice a year.

For the moment, SpaceX is on the third point of the triangle, cheap, good (AFAICT - at least they have yet to blow satellites up), but they have a hard time launching 3 rockets a year.
Maybe launching rockets regularly will mean driving prices up. Or maybe it will mean not being quite as safe and precise. Or maybe they will continue this way and provide a good and cheap service - if you are not in a hurry. Or maybe they will manage to balance all three.
Either will be a good thing - they are already forcing other players to adapt, and that won't change.

The funny part is that SpaceX rockets, like all rockets, are based on decades-old technology. It's been refined over time, but you'll note that Soyuz, one of the top rockets and the only way for the three biggest space players to send people as of today, is 50 years old.

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Most recent spacex launch and landing test footage(Orbcomm)
#15

Just a heads up for anyone interested: next attempt will be next Monday, July 14 at 9:21AM EDT (15:21 CEST).

Also Orbital Sciences will be attempting a launch on Saturday, July 12 at 1:14PM EDT (19:14 CEST). More info here. Just like SpaceX, they have a contract for resupplying the ISS; this will be their second launch to fulfill that contract.

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#16

NASA giving out more then one contract then?

#17

Yes – two currently, with options for more once they have been fulfilled, IIRC. I think there would be a good chance that there would be more, but those two companies are the only ones that could technically reach the ISS with cargo.

And Orbital Sciences has rescheduled: Sunday, July 13 at 12:52 p.m. EDT is the new target. Let us hope that they don't "pull a SpaceX". stuck_out_tongue

#18

All right, launch is up in 5 hours! Sadly I won't be able to watch over at http://www.spacex.com/webcast/ due to me working at the time. I'll check the after launch compilation then. smiley

Update: launch moved back because of range issues. It is always something, isn't it? Webcast will begin in just over an hour – if this keeps up I might have time after all!

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#19

We have a new T-0 time of 11:15am ET. Webcast begins at 11:00am ET.

I love the fact that someone about to send a rocket into space is using that acronym to refer to their timezone. It just rather annoys me that they don't give any indication which timezone they're actually talking about.. it's either UTC-4 or UTC-5, so I guess I'll go with UTC-4 and check back an hour later if they aren't doing anything then?

#20

Actually, they are currently at it: ~2 min to final go poll! smiley

EDIT: Ups, my mistake: launch is done, my livestream was behind. The rocket has launched!

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