Skip to comments.SpaceX 7 months away from 1st crewed test flight
Posted on 09/02/2018 10:12:28 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
One of the key differences between the two is that SpaceX was awarded $2.6 billion, while Boeing receiving $4.2 billion. SpaceX completed a pad abort test in 2015, while Boeing hopes to be able to achieve this milestone possibly this year. Boeing's abort test had been scheduled for this summer, but it was delayed due to a leak of highly-toxic hydrazine from one of the abort engines. The leak occurred after the command was issued to shut down the engines. Several of the abort engine valves failed to fully close.
As early as July 11, 2018, NASA internally believed (as noted on Ars Technica) that Boeing was in the lead in terms of conducting the first uncrewed and crewed test flights. Technical and other issues have seen SpaceX's Crew Dragon catch up to the aerospace titan's offering, with Crew Dragon currently scheduled for an April 2019 flight and Starliner set for "mid-2019." The first unpiloted test flights are currently targeting November 2018 and "early 2019," respectively...
SpaceX plan is to fuel its Falcon 9 after the astronauts have boarded Dragon, the same as the company has done during previous flights with uncrewed payload. While NASA has signed off on this procedure, known as "load and go," for the time being, it is contingent on the Hawthorne, California-based company successfully completing the space agency's certification process to prove any potential risks are within acceptable limits...
The Falcon 9 uses RP-1 (a highly-refined version of kerosene) along with liquid oxygen as its propellant. This would be loaded into the rocket starting at about 35 minutes before the start of the flight. If anything were to appear to be outside of what is considered normal, launch operations can be stopped automatically.
(Excerpt) Read more at spaceflightinsider.com ...
The block 5 has to launch seven times with no kabooms to get human rated. And the enhanced block 5 is the core booster of the Falcon Heavy, which has flown just once, but is required for the Crew Dragon. I'd be surprised if SpaceX isn't about to roll out a new booster. There's been a little hint online, recently, (they keep 'em close to the vest) that the Raptor is nearly read to go. The FH is too complicated to recycle quickly, and launching six more times just to prove that it's ready for a crew doesn't seem rational. I'll reiterate that we're about to see a single-stick, Raptor-based, bigger diameter booster, sufficient to throw the Crew Dragon into orbit, but with less payload capacity than the FH, which is more of a solution in search of a problem. Ping to the old APoD list.
Thanks, very interesting.
The fully reusable nuclear rocket will be a single stage to orbit system which will be able to make space-based solar power several times cheaper than coal power. [see, now that is good and nuts]
The current Falcon 9 Block 5 is a very powerful rocket, and is more than capable of getting the Crew Dragon into LEO.
It’s so powerful that Musk wanted to cancel Falcon Heavy except he couldn’t due to a military contract.
[snip] Confirmed earlier this year in a quarterly NASA Commercial Crew update, SpaceX assigned Falcon 9 Booster 1051 to Crew Dragons debut launch. That rocket booster and its complementary upper stage are already at SpaceXs McGregor, TX rocket testing facility undergoing a number of acceptance tests and checkouts as of today, confirming a number of critical facts. Most importantly, the presence of integrated the B1051 booster in Texas appears to imply that SpaceX has successfully fixed slight design flaws in their Merlin 1D engines and composite-overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), even if the paperwork to officially certify them for flight has not been completed. [/snip]
How badly did the Amos incident tear up LC-40?
I'd like to be around for the launch of the first SpaceX BFR next year. Bigger than Saturn V.
I think what we’ll see first is short hopper flights of the BFR second stage, and it will be a couple of more years after that before we see the entire first and second stage together. I can’t wait.
It's been fixed and back in use for quite a while already, but thanks for playing.
2019 for the landing tests (that's really what those hopper flights are for), with 2022 as the projected year for the first full flight test. I'd be surprised if those are out of Canaveral.
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