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    NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

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    George1

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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:34 am

    Redmond rocket company could help send astronauts to Mars

    Jennifer McCormick, left, ran the program that designed and built orbit-changing engines for the Orion spacecraft, while Kim Wierenga, right, ran the program that designed and built engines that orient the capsule itself.

    A small rocket company in Redmond may soon have a hand in sending the next generation of astronauts to space.

    By designing and building new rocket engines for the Orion space capsule, Aerojet Rocketdyne has positioned itself to support missions that will carry humans into outer space.

    The Aerojet Rocketdyne teams that designed and built two types of engines the Orion spacecraft used were led by two of the company's top technical people, both of whom are women. That's notable for an industry that has struggled to recruit and retain women engineers.

    The Orion space capsule was designed and built by Lockheed Martin Corp. in New Orleans for NASA, and had its first successful flight in early December. The space capsule is able to carry up to four people, and has been designed for deep-space missions, including Mars.

    At a Tuesday briefing, engineer Jennifer McCormick said the new engines for the Orion are a big step for Aerojet Rocketdyne.

    "This does put us back into the manned arena," she said, adding that the company has used a lot of engineering to translate its skills in unmanned space flight into human-rated hardware.

    "There are more stringent requirements and inspections to ensure there won't be any anomalies during a manned mission," McCormick said.

    Manned missions need higher safety requirements and more redundancies, she said.

    Landing the contract to build 20 of the capsule's engines was a significant coup for Aerojet Rocketdyne. The new designs harnessed the company's long history of building rocket guidance engines for orbiting space vehicles, as well as for those probing deep space, back to when it was called Rocket Research.
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:05 am

    US to Scrap Delta IV Launch Vehicle, Replace Russian-Made Rocket



    United Launch Alliance President Tory Bruno said that the Delta IV space launch vehicle would be replaced by the Atlas V that uses the Russian made RD-180 rocket to launch US national security payloads into space.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The use of the Delta IV space launch vehicle will be discontinued in favor of the Atlas V that uses the Russian made RD-180 rocket to launch US national security payloads into space, United Launch Alliance (ULA) President and Chief Executive Officer Tory Bruno said.

    “Delta IV is entirely redundant to the Atlas V in terms of its performance,” Bruno stated in a US House Armed Services Committee hearing on space programs on Tuesday.

    “In this new environment, where the policy has changed to assure access through the existence of two providers, I will now retire the Delta medium class of space launch vehicles,” Bruno added.

    The ULA, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture providing launch services to the US government, uses the Russian RD-180 rocket to power the Atlas V launch vehicle into space.

    Bruno explained that retiring the Delta IV vehicle will allow ULA to reduce the cost of each launch, currently running $400 million per heavy payload.

    ULA will consolidate resources into the Atlas IV and to develop a new rocket to replace the Russian made RD-180, he said.

    The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibits the US Department of Defense from awarding or renewing contracts for launch vehicles that use Russian-made rockets. Under the NDAA, the current ULA contract to use the Russian RD-180 rocket runs until 2019 and will not be affected.

    Bruno noted that ULA maintained both the Delta IV and Atlas V in order to meet US government requirements to have two launch systems concurrently to ensure access to space in the event of failure or a problem.

    To meet the new government requirement to replace the RD-180, Bruno said ULA has developed two partnerships with the US space companies Blue Origin and Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA will decide which of the two forthcoming rockets to use based on when each model can be ready.

    There could be a two to five year gap, however, if a US-made rocket is not developed before the NDAA clause goes into effect, according to the US Air Force.

    To fill the gap, the US government has sought to license the US company Space X to be an alternative provider of national security payload launches. Space X argues it can compete with ULA by developing a cheaper rocket before the United States runs out of RD-180s.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/science/20150318/1019638384.html#ixzz3UhrtF9e7
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:55 pm

    CRS 2 contract sees new Lockheed Martin spacecraft, Dream Chaser reborn

    When Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser space plane was not selected under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), it was viewed by many as the, “death of a dream”. The play on words was not only a bit heavy it also appears to have been premature. Not only has the European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency displayed interest in the craft – but a new version of the craft, with a new mission, was unveiled yesterday. This follows the recent announcement by Lockheed Martin that it has designed a new spacecraft for the second round of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

    NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS 2) contract is poised to undergo bidding and both Lockheed Martin (LMCO) and Sierra Nevada Corporation have unveiled their offerings for this lucrative contract. In terms of SNC, the craft was the Dream Chaser Cargo System.

    Like the Dream Chaser that competed under CCP, the craft’s design hearkens back to an earlier design. When NASA made cuts to the International Space Station’s budget, one of the elements that the space agency cut – was the X-38.
    Dream Chaser Cargo rocket payload fairing image credit Sierra Nevada Corporation

    The cargo version of the Dream Chaser is seen in this SNC image with the new feature of having its wings tucked in. Image Credit: SNC

    The X-38 was designed to be a “lifeboat” for the orbiting laboratory and was in the midst of drop tests in 2002 when it was cancelled. The X-38 itself was based off an earlier design; the vehicle can trace its design lineage back to the X-24 test article which flew in the 1970s.

    The cargo variant of the Dream Chaser has an extra-added feature which makes it uniquely suited to being a cargo carrier. This version of the Dream Chaser is capable of folding its wings so that the spacecraft can better fit into the fairing of a launch vehicle. According to a release issued by SNC, this version of the Dream Chaser should be capable of handling all of NASA’s cargo requirements for both pressurized and unpressurized missions to the International Space Station.

    If this iteration of the Dream Chaser is selected for use on the next round of NASA’s CRS contract, it could serve to disrupt one of the two firms currently working on the first round of the contract – SpaceX. To date, SpaceX is the only company that is capable of returning significant amounts of experiments and cargo from the station. SpaceX’s Dragon has a heat shield, comprised of PICA-X, which allows it to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. The only other spacecraft capable of this feat is Russia’s crew-rated Soyuz vessel. All other spacecraft burn up upon reentry.

    SNC also touted the fact that the propulsion system which the Dream Chaser employs is: “non-toxic and non-hypergolic (meaning the fuels ignite when in contact with one another).”

    Like the crew-rated version of the Dream Chaser, which was based off of the HL-20 lifting body, this new variant is similar to NASA’s retired fleet of shuttle orbiters in that it is reusable, capable of a low-g return to Earth via a landing on a runway. This capability would allow NASA to have immediate access to the experiments that have freshly-arrived from the station. Something not even SpaceX is presently able to offer (the capsule-based Dragon requires that it be recovered from the Pacific Ocean and brought back to dry land first).

    “SNC is proud to offer NASA a complete system that exceeds all criteria set forth by NASA in the proposal,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems. “The autonomous and upgraded Dream Chaser Cargo System is a mission variant of the Dream Chaser Space System, whose heritage includes over 10 years of development and maturation, the last five of which were complete as part of an ongoing public-private partnership between SNC and NASA. Our Dream Chaser Cargo System provides unrivaled capability for pressurized and unpressurized cargo transportation, including accelerated return of cargo and critical science on every mission. It also enables a wide portfolio of other space exploration capabilities, including servicing/construction for future space stations, satellite servicing and deployment, as well as retrieval and orbital debris removal. SNC continues to grow its U.S. team which has expanded to 30 states. We are also expanding our international partnerships, and have agreements in place with many of the current ISS partners and global space agencies. Our SNC team looks forward to becoming a cargo transportation provider for NASA missions.”

    SNC is not the only company to offer up a new spacecraft for the upcoming phase of CRS. Lockheed Martin has submitted a system, comprised of three parts under the contract: the Jupiter reusable spacecraft, the Exoliner cargo freighter, and a robotic arm, which were unveiled on March 12.

    “Our approach is designed to deliver a large volume of critical supplies and cargo with each flight, and do so on schedule. That’s why we’re bringing together flight-proven technologies that are reliable, safe and cost-effective,” said Wanda Sigur, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems’ Civil Space line of business.

    Whereas SNC pulled from lifting body test articles, LMCO’s design comes from probes sent out into deep space. Specifically, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN and Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, were key LMCO-produced spacecraft that the company used when designing their offering under the next CRS contract.

    With the Space Shuttle Program relegated to the history books, established and newer firms are vying from the contracts to keep the station going after more than 16 years total time on orbit.

    SpaceX’s Dragon has encountered great success in terms of delivering crew supplies, cargo and experiments to the ISS. To date, six Dragon spacecraft have lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 to the outpost.
    LM Space Station Resupply illustration-3

    Three of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vessels have also flown to the space station under the first CRS contract.

    NASA will now conduct extensive reviews of all the offerings under what is essentially the second chapter of the Commercial Resupply Services story and move forward with those that it feels can best suit its requirements.

    After surviving several phases of NASA’s CCP effort, the crewed version of the Dream Chaser was not selected to move forward to the Commercial Crew transportation Capability round. The September 2014 decision prompted a protest from the Colorado-based company which was ultimately denied.

    Unlike NASA, both the Japanese and European space agencies are considering the crewed version of the Dream Chaser for their astronauts. Moreover, the craft has been eyed by commercial firms such as Stratolaunch as well.
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:20 pm

    US Prepares for Space Warfare, Citing Chinese Success

    Anti-missile technologies tested by China over the last decade have caused alarm for US officials. In terms of space defense, the United States may be losing out in the futuristic "counterspace" campaign.

    In 2007, a Chinese weather satellite circling in polar orbit was struck by a missile fired from the Sichuan province. This marked the first successful satellite interception test since the United States shot down its own P78-1 satellite in 1985.

    US Missile Defense Systems in S Korea Could Spark Asian Arms Race - Moscow
    Flash forward to last summer, when Beijing conducted a similar test, dubbed a "land-based anti-missile technology experiment" by the Chinese Defense Ministry. This has, evidently, caused some concern in military circles, which instead saw the trials as the latest example of offensive anti-satellite (ASAT) missile tests.

    "But just seeing the nature of these types of activities show how committed they are to a counter-space campaign," Admiral Cecil D. Haney, head of the Omaha-based nuclear forces command, said during a news conference at the Pentagon on Tuesday. "So we have to be ready for any campaign that extends its way into space."

    Beijing publicly opposes the development of so-called space weapons, agreeing with the general consensus that Earth’s orbit should remain a combat-free zone. The Chinese government insists that the tests are being conducted to strengthen defensive capabilities. But that has done little to allay Haney’s fears.

    "The threat in space, I fundamentally believe, is a real one," Haney said. "It’s been demonstrated."

    Rick Fisher, an expert on Chinese military affairs, also shares Haney’s concerns.

    "The remainder of this decade will likely see China continue to test ground-launched ASATs and begin to test air-launched ASATs," Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center told the Free Beacon.

    "However," he added, "Chinese sources indicate that laser-armed space platforms may not be ready until later in the 2020s. By this time China will also have lofted a dual-use space station and may have tested dual-use space planes."

    Haney also mentioned Iran, which he claims recently launched a space vehicle which "could be used as a long-range strike platform."

    Yet despite criticism of a perceived space weapons threat from other nations, the US is not without its own anti-satellite capabilities.

    In 2008, the Pentagon retrofitted one of the Navy’s SM-3 anti-missile interceptors. Concerned that a National Reconnaissance Office satellite was falling from orbit, the military used the SM-3 to shoot down the satellite. While that action was officially taken as a safety measure, its success was widely viewed as a sign that the interceptors could, theoretically, be used as anti-satellite weapons.

    "I will leave it at we are working for our space protection program," Haney said in response to a question about US space capabilities, and indeed, the US is providing ample funding for research into space defense. During fiscal year 2016, the Air Force has been granted $33.3 million toward research and development of its "space protection program," a more-or-less steady annual sum already budgeted through 2019.

    This is Haney’s main reason for holding his news conference. Aside from taking a moment to criticize the “provocative” actions of President Vladimir Putin, the admiral concludes by warning about the dangers of US budget cuts.

    "As a nation, we cannot simply afford to underfund our strategic capabilities," he said. "Any cuts to the president’s budget…will hamper our ability to sustain and modernize our joint military forces and put us at a real risk of making our nation less secure and able to address future threats."

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150325/1019995182.html#ixzz3VQVwKa00
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:31 pm

    Russia, US to Jointly Prepare Mars, Moon Flight Road Map – NASA

    Russia and the United States will work together on a roadmap to send humans to Mars and the Moon, according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

    Russia, US Aim to Create New Space Station After 2024 - Roscosmos Chief
    The Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos and its US counterpart NASA will jointly hammer out a "road map" program on flights to Mars and the Moon, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said on Saturday.

    Bolden, who is currently on a tour of Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, added that he had discussed joint efforts to send missions to the Red Planet with Roscosmos head Igor Komarov, including time frames and funding.

    "Our area of cooperation will be Mars. We are discussing how best to use the resources, the finance, we are setting time frames and distributing efforts in order to avoid duplication," Bolden said.

    The NASA chief also pledged to put US astronauts back on the Moon, saying that his country never abandoned its hope of a comeback.

    Bolden added that in the future, NASA is planning "to attract more private developers to our joint exploration projects of the Moon and Mars," as well as initiate an ambitious program to harvest minerals from an asteroid.

    NASA announced the extension of cooperation with its International Space Station partners, including Russia, for another nine years in February.

    The US-Russia cooperation on the development of the international Space Station is under way despite the fact that NASA halted the majority of its joint activities with Russia over the Ukraine crisis in April 2014.

    The last US mission to the Moon was Apollo 17; its astronauts returned to Earth from its closest neighbor on December 19, 1972.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/world/20150328/1020132249.html#ixzz3VgaNUMyt
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:19 am

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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:59 pm

    SpaceX Launches Rocket, Fails at Soft Landing Attempt

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150414/1020890976.html#ixzz3XNlCvFte
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:54 pm

    Dragon Spacecraft Starts Docking With Space Station – NASA

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/science/20150417/1021016512.html#ixzz3XZQwQKkE
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:24 pm

    NASA Probe Set to Plunge Into Mercury’s Surface

    After four years of circling the planet closest to the sun, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mercury Messenger probe is running out of fuel and losing altitude.

    It’s expected to crash into the planet sometime around April 30.

    “The spacecraft will pass behind the planet, out of view from the Earth, and will just not emerge again,” Daniel O’Shaughnessy, systems engineer with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory — which operates the spacecraft – told Reuters.

    The probe has discovered ice and other materials on Mercury and it’s the first close-up study of Mercury since NASA’s Mariner spacecraft made several flybys of the planet in the mid-1970s.

    The probe’s crash landing at nearly 9,000 miles an hour is expected to leave a crater of about 52 feet in diameter which scientists say will help them study the planet’s fast-changing weather, a phenomenon the Mercury found. Scientists will also study further how such a small planet has a strong magnetic field, which is something Messenger also discovered.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150417/1021036475.html#ixzz3XgrS6sI7
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:20 pm

    NASA Messenger Probe to Crash Land Into Planet Mercury

    The spacecraft is set to crash into the planet on Thursday, after 11 years in space, four of which it spent orbiting Mercury.

    NASA's Messenger spacecraft is expected to crash land into Mercury at a speed of more than 8,750 miles per hour [3.91 km/sec] on Thursday, and is predicted to leave a 16 meter crater in its surface, its final contribution to scientific discovery.

    Messenger, whose name is short for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging, is the first-ever probe to orbit the planet, and will run out of propellant, having completed a mission which began when it was launched in 2004. It traveled 4.9 billion miles [7.9 billion kilometers] — a journey that included 15 trips around the sun, during which it made several flybys: it flew by Earth once, Venus twice, and Mercury three times before entering into orbit round Mercury in March 2011.

    The next probe to study Mercury, the BepiColombo mission set for launch in 2017, "will be looking for signs of this crater, and if they can make measurements of it, they will know precisely how long that region has been exposed to space," explained Sean Solomon, the principal investigator of the Messenger mission and director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

    The three-meter wide Messenger is the first spacecraft to visit Mercury since the Mariner 10 performed three flybys of the planet in 1975, and the end of the mission marks "the beginning of a longer journey to analyze the data that reveals all the scientific mysteries of Mercury," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

    "For the first time in history we now have real knowledge about the planet Mercury that shows it to be a fascinating world as part of our diverse solar system."



    This video was captured by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft during a flyover of Mercury's north pole on June 8, 2014.

    Among Messenger's key findings is compelling support for the hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant frozen water and other volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters, a discovery which allows scientists to build a picture of how the inner planets, including Earth, acquired water and some of the chemical building blocks for life.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/environment/20150430/1021550952.html#ixzz3Ymoea0Z6
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    NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  AirCargo on Mon May 11, 2015 3:18 am

    Amazon's Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Launches Private Spaceship Test Flight (Photos, Video)
    With ultimate design goal of making reusable Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing(VTVL) rockets.

    http://www.space.com/29278-blue-origin-launches-private-spaceship-test.html
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    Live Stream International Space Station Earth Camera

    Post  AirCargo on Mon May 11, 2015 3:47 am

    If screen is black ISS is on night side of Earth, switching cameras or experiencing a malfunction.  Laughing

    Primary Camera
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-iss-stream

    Payload Camera
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload
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    George1

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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Tue May 12, 2015 3:55 pm

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    USAF To Certify Spacex Falcon 9

    Post  AirCargo on Sat May 16, 2015 4:48 am

    Air Force should certify Spacex Falcon 9 no later than June 2015 and Allow Spacex to nearly Halve the cost of Air Force Launches

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/05/air-force-should-certify-spacex-falcon.html
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Sun May 17, 2015 2:25 pm

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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  max steel on Mon May 18, 2015 10:16 pm



    US getting rid of its dependence on russians to fly american astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) ?
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  max steel on Thu May 21, 2015 4:45 am

    Yeah i know that genius .
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Wed May 27, 2015 4:03 am

    New Panoramic Picture of Mars Taken by Curiosity Rover

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/science/20150526/1022579393.html#ixzz3bIg8DxHy
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    NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  AirCargo on Fri May 29, 2015 9:01 am

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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  GarryB on Fri May 29, 2015 1:39 pm

    Sorry... but that is pathetic... when you talk about the first "ever" commercial human spaceflight mission, you should actually be talking about the first time a human pays to go into space... and that has already happened... and it wasn't the Americans who did it...


    Butchering the English language should be frowned upon, but it seems to just be encouraged in the west...

    They couldn't just say the first commercial human space flight mission by an American company...

    Aholes are so full of themselves... I really have little time for NASA.  tongue


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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  collegeboy16 on Fri May 29, 2015 2:33 pm

    GarryB wrote:Sorry... but that is pathetic... when you talk about the first "ever" commercial human spaceflight mission, you should actually be talking about the first time a human pays to go into space... and that has already happened... and it wasn't the Americans who did it...


    Butchering the English language should be frowned upon, but it seems to just be encouraged in the west...

    They couldn't just say the first commercial human space flight mission by an American company...

    Aholes are so full of themselves... I really have little time for NASA.  tongue
    hey, these are the people who won the space race, show some respect! /sarc
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    NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  AirCargo on Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:42 am

    Update: Vulcan Aerospace / Stratolaunch

    Largest aircraft to fly 2016 . . . . 80% of the aircraft is fabricated now . . . . about 40 percent assembled . . . . we should have final assembly done the end of this year.

    http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/missions/commercial/update-vulcan-aerospace-stratolaunch/
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:54 am



    _________________
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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

    Post  George1 on Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:47 pm

    During today's launch attempt of a Falcon 9 rocket the rocket was seen to disintegrate during first stage flight, it is not known what caused this yet.



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    Space X Falcon 9 goes boom

    Post  Godric on Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:52 pm

    I feel dirty using this site as a source here goes

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33305083

    Unmanned SpaceX rocket explodes after Florida launch

    An unmanned American Falcon-9 rocket has broken apart in flames minutes after lifting off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

    Debris from the SpaceX vehicle tumbled out of the sky into the Atlantic Ocean.

    The rocket, which had 18 straight successes prior to Sunday's flight, was in the process of sending a cargo ship to the International Space Station.

    As well as carrying supplies for the astronauts, the Falcon had also been transporting a new docking port.

    "The vehicle has broken up," said Nasa commentator George Diller, as TV images showed the white rocket falling to pieces.


    "We appear to have had a launch vehicle failure," he added.

    "At this point it is not clear to the launch team exactly what happened."

    The failure occurred 139 seconds into the flight.

    A SpaceX commentator reportedly suggested the vehicle had been able to to reach supersonic speed, but something had happened before the cargo ship was able to detach from the first stage of the rocket and reach orbit.

    thankfully it was unmanned and no one injured .... just goes to show how far behind the US has fallen in the space industry

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    Re: NASA Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft: Discussion & News

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