SpaceX's Dragon capsule successfully returns from 12th ISS resupply mission
September 17, 2017
SpaceX has confirmed that the Dragon capsule used to ferry cargo including supplies and experimentation material has returned to Earth as planned, with a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
The Dragon went up to the International Space Station on SpaceX's CRS-12 resupply mission, which launched in August. Dragon brought a number of experimental payloads to the ISS, including a supercomputer built by HPE that is designed to test whether software hardening alone, without any additional hardware changes vs. a standard supercomputer configuration, can keep the computer operating as intended in the harsh conditions of space.
Dragon was also loaded up with experimental results and other cargo during its month-long stay at the ISS, and with good splashdown and proper deployment of its parachutes after re-entry, those should be intact and ready for Earth-based researchers to analyze.
This is the 12th successful ISS resupply mission SpaceX has conducted using one of its Dragon cargo capsules. The capsule used this time around is also intended to be the last brand new capsule SpaceX employs for this purpose – from now on, it hopes to only use refurbished Dragons used on previous missions.
SpaceX first re-used a Dragon capsule back in June of this year, and while the company later said that its first attempt really didn't actually save it any money vs. using a new one, it hopes to gain efficiencies over time by turning around Dragon for repeat use more quickly and easily.
Note: Above image is the Dragon capsule used for Space's CRS-10 mission. The company hasn't released any photos of the CRS-12 capsule, and won't until it has a chance to recover it from its ocean landing spot.
The first ("boost back") burn would surely have been visible, but since this was a down-range (rather than return-to-launch site) landing for first stage, I'm not sure about the second ("re-entry") burn.What annoyed me about this launch's coverage is that they had a *great* ground-based view as they approached MECO, and switched to on-board cameras instead of showing the stage separation and first stage braking burns from the ground cameras.....
SpaceX rocket engine explodes during test at Texas facility
The company doesn’t expect the failure to cause any launch delays
by Loren Grush
Nov 8, 2017, 1:04pm EST
On Sunday, one of SpaceX’s rocket engines exploded during a test at the company’s facility in McGregor, Texas — and now it’s investigating what happened, The Washington Post reported. The mishap occurred during a “qualification test” of a Merlin engine meant to be used during a Falcon 9 launch in late 2018. SpaceX says that no one was injured during the event and that it shouldn’t affect the company’s launches moving forward.
“We are now conducting a thorough and fully transparent investigation of the root cause,” SpaceX spokesperson John Taylor said in a statement to The Verge. “SpaceX is committed to our current manifest and we do not expect this to have any impact on our launch cadence.”
The failure comes at the height of a very successful year for SpaceX. The company has launched 16 missions this year, the most it has ever done in a year and double the amount of launches SpaceX did in 2016. SpaceX also landed 13 of those rockets back on Earth after launch, and it has yet to lose any vehicles during landing attempts this year. Looking ahead, the company has two scheduled Falcon 9 missions in the coming weeks, and it’s hoping to finally launch its Falcon Heavy rocket — an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 — before the year is out.
But now, SpaceX is back to doing another failure investigation, after having recovered from its last big anomaly in 2016. Last year, one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets exploded on a Florida launchpad during a routine fueling procedure, destroying the vehicle and the satellite it was supposed to carry into space. After grounding its rockets for four and a half months, SpaceX ultimately concluded that investigation earlier this year and returned to flight in January. Even before that in 2015, one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets disintegrated after launch, while en route to the International Space Station. This mishap does not seem to be at the same scale as those two failures, but it is the first big setback the company has suffered in an otherwise picture-perfect year.
However, the explosion isn’t expected to have too much of an impact, since the Merlin engine being tested was for the upcoming Block 5 configuration of the Falcon 9. The Block 5 is the final upgrade to the rocket that SpaceX has been developing this last year, which will supposedly have even higher thrust and improved landing abilities. Until that upgrade is finalized, though, SpaceX has been flying a transitional version of the Falcon 9 known as the Block 4.
Now, SpaceX plans to suspend all Block 5 engine testing at McGregor until the accident investigation is included, though Block 4 engine testing will proceed. The company will also start repairing the test bay the engine exploded on, which should take two to four weeks to complete. SpaceX expects repairs to be done before the investigation is over, but just in case, the company has an additional test bay at McGregor it can use. However, that second test bay sustained some minor damage in the explosion, too, but repairs should only take two to three days before testing can resume.
In the meantime, the company will forge ahead with its launches, and SpaceX says it hopes to give public updates on the investigation in the coming weeks.
Correction November 8th, 3:48PM ET: SpaceX originally said that all engine testing would be suspended at McGregor, in error. A SpaceX representative subsequently contacted The Verge correcting that only Block 5 engine testing would be suspended at the facility. Additional details were given about the state of the second test bay at the McGregor facility.
WHY ARE THEY STILL USING ROCKETS??? The new technology called a Centrifugal Propeller, will replace rockets. It converts centrifugal force into directed thrust at a right angle to the plain of the centrifuge. It can be powered by a small nuclear reactor like the one made by Candu Reactors, and it looks like (probably not a coincidence) a flying saucer. It continually accelerates and so you will have gravity in your spacecraft while accelerating and decelerating. It will make a trip to the moon, asteroid belt, or Mars, little more than a day trip. And yet this new technology has been largely ignored. I have tried to bring this technology to Spacex but it is impossible to reach Musk or anyone capable of making a decision in that company. I think that I will be trading short on Spacex stocks.
DRAGON RESUPPLY MISSION
SpaceX is targeting launch of the Commercial Resupply Services 13 (CRS-13) mission from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force station in Florida for 8:46 a.m. PST, or 16:46 UTC, on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, with a backup launch opportunity on Wednesday, December 13 at 9:24 a.m. PST, or 16:24 UTC.
This mission marks the first time SpaceX is flying both a flight-proven Falcon 9 and a flight-proven Dragon spacecraft. Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported the CRS-11 mission in June 2017 and the Dragon spacecraft previously supported the CRS-6 mission in April 2015.
Dragon will deliver about 4,800 pounds of cargo and material to support science investigations aboard the space station. After about one month attached to the space station, Dragon will return with results of earlier experiments, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. You can watch the launch live below and find more information about the mission in our press kit..
They've just pushed, again, to the 15th. But launch fever is never good, always want to get it right.SpaceX is launching at 9:24 AM EDT tomorrow, using for the first time a recycled, er, I mean flight-proven booster *and* a recycled, er, I mean flight-proven Dragon capsule for the ISS milk run:
Fixed that for you.SpaceX is launching at 9:24 AM
EDTPST tomorrow, using for the first time a recycled, er, I mean flight-proven booster *and* a recycled, er, I mean flight-proven Dragon capsule for the ISS milk run