Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Good day and for some, Happy Thanksgiving shopping crush.

You want to launch cheaply, let a commercial firm do it, you say.
Too much hassle in the big government projects.

Not all that easy getting those first launches completed though.

You say SpaceX can do it.

Well a bit of perseverance required and stepping aside for the big guys that want to play with their sand lot.

Mother nature has her vote too.

Now need another load of liquid Oxygen for next try.

Even the 12.5 inch cube payload FalconSAT-2 has had to find different ways to space.
Cadet built satellite reaches for the stars

By Academy Public Affairs
FalconSAT-2 was shipped to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Site on Kwajalien Atoll in the Marshall Islands, located in the central Pacific. The satellite will ride into space aboard a commercial rocket, in a launch scheduled for Nov. 25 at 1 p.m.

FalconSAT-2 was originally slated for launch aboard a space shuttle in early 2003, but the Columbia disaster put that launch on hold until this year.

This satellite is the product of the Academy's Space Systems Research Center, where cadets "learn space by doing space," said Lt. Col. Tim Lawrence, center director. The center runs a multi-disciplinary two-semester astronautical engineering course where cadets put theory into practice by designing and constructing a small satellite for Department of Defense research programs. They will then operate the satellite from the Academy's ground station.
Well I expect we will have an interesting time looking up in the New Year as well.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg
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SpaceX Scrubs Maiden Flight of Falcon 1 Rocket
By Tariq Malik
Staff Writer
posted: 26 November 2005
8:50 p.m. ET
This story was updated at 9:38 p.m. EST.

SpaceX officials called off the inaugural flight of their Falcon 1 rocket Saturday after a launch countdown beleaguered by poor weather, an engine computer glitch and liquid oxygen fill tank problems.

"As I warned, the likelihood of an all new rocket launching from an all new launch pad on its first attempt is low," said SpaceX founder Elon Musk in a written statement.

SpaceX officials scrubbed today's planned space shot at about 8:00 p.m. EST (0100 Nov. 27 GMT), deep within a launch window that was extended to 10:00 p.m. EST (0300 Nov. 27 GMT) during the countdown.

Musk added that the Falcon 1 flight could be rescheduled within one week, but would likely take longer since additional liquid oxygen fuel must be delivered from Hawaii to the firm’s remote launch site on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands chain.

Today’s attempted space shot was slated to orbit the FalconSat-2 satellite on a mission for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force. The $800,000 satellite – built by cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy – is designed to study space plasma and its potential to interfere with navigation and communication satellites, U.S. Air Force Academy officials said.

The cube-shaped satellite measures about 12.5 inches (32 centimeters) per side and weighs about 43 pounds (19.5 kilograms), academy spokesman John van Winkle told, adding that the spacecraft carries one miniature electrostatic analyzer to study space plasma.

A tricky countdown

The El Segundo, California-based SpaceX hoped to make its commercial launch service debut with today’s planned space shot. The firm has spent about three years developing a family of Falcon boosters to grow from its Falcon 1 design and Merlin rocket engine.

"Unfortunately, in this business there is always a chance for something not to go [as planned]," said Larry Williams, SpaceX vice president for international and government affairs, as the countdown clock ticked down.

SpaceX launch officials initially set a four-hour launch window for today’s Falcon 1 flight.

Poor weather caused a one-hour delay early in the countdown, though an incorrectly set valve on a liquid oxygen fuel fill tank led to a longer hiatus that eventually prompted SpaceX officials to extend their launch window.

But the loss of liquid oxygen – which boils away during launch preparations and must be replenished regularly – was too great, SpaceX officials said, adding that a main engine computer glitch also caused enough concern to reschedule the mission.

Launch debut deferred

SpaceX aims at providing low-cost launch services for both small and large payloads. Falcon 1 launches have a set cost of about $6.7 million, Musk said before today’s launch attempt.

The firm’s Falcon 1 rocket is a two-stage booster that stands about 68 feet (21 meters) tall and carries a reusable first stage. Its Merlin 1 engine is designed to generate about 77,000 pounds of thrust and loft payloads of up to 1,256 pounds (570 kilograms) into low-Earth orbit, SpaceX officials have said.

SpaceX Sets Launch Debut for Falcon 1 Rocket
By Tariq Malik
Staff Writer
posted: 18 November 2006
8:00 p.m. ET

The private launch firm SpaceX will loft its Falcon 1 rocket on Nov. 25, marking the booster’s maiden flight and hopefully the first of many space shots to come, the company’s chief said Friday.

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of the El Segundo, California-based SpaceX, said his firm’s first Falcon 1 rocket will liftoff from its equatorial launch site at 4:00 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) on a mission to orbit a small U.S. Air Force Academy satellite.

"I actually don’t feel nervous, I feel relief," Musk told reporters during a press conference. "No matter what happens next week, this is something that is the first stepping stone in reducing the cost of access to space."

SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket carries a reusable first stage, the firm’s homegrown Merlin engine and a price tag of about $6.7 million, SpaceX officials said.

The rocket’s first flight will launch from the U.S. military’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Site on Omelek Island near Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands – where it will be 9:00 a.m. local time when the countdown reaches zero – though future spaceflights will also be staged from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, they added.

"We feel at peace with ourselves in this launch because we’ve really done all we can," Musk said. "I think that I can say with confidence that we’ve left no stone unturned."
SpaceX announces Falcon 1 launch date
Posted: Fri, Nov 18, 2005, 8:13 PM ET (0113 GMT)

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the launch vehicle startup established by entrepreneur Elon Musk, announced Friday that the first launch of its Falcon 1 rocket has been scheduled for Friday. The Falcon 1 will lift off from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands at 4 pm EST (2100 GMT) Friday, November 25, or 9 am local time November 26. The launch window lasts for four hours, and Musk said that would be several additional days available to conduct the launch if the initial launch is scrubbed. The Falcon 1 is carrying Falconsat 2, a small satellite built by the US Air Force Academy to study how space physics phenomena can affect GPS and other communications. Musk has spent about $100 million of his own money establishing the company and developing the Falcon 1, while also planning the development of two larger vehicles, the Falcon 5 and Falcon 9. SpaceX hopes to prove that the Falcon 1, with a list price of $6.7 million a launch, can provide reliable launches for a fraction of the price of
existing vehicles.
SpaceX schedules its maiden rocket launch
Falcon 1 due to carry military satellite to orbit on Nov. 25
By Tariq Malik
Updated: 9:23 p.m. ET Nov. 18, 2005

The private launch firm SpaceX will loft its Falcon 1 rocket on Nov. 25, marking the booster’s maiden flight and hopefully the first of many space shots to come, the company’s chief said Friday.

The Falcon launch vehicle family is designed to provide breakthrough advances in reliability, cost, flight environment and time to launch. The primary design driver is and will remain reliability, as described in more detail below. We recognize that nothing is more important than getting our customer’s spacecraft safely to its intended destination.

Launch Manifest
Below is the upcoming launch manifest. SpaceX has launch complexes at Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg and the Marshall Islands (Kwajalein Atoll), allowing direct launch to any inclination. Through our Kwajalein launch site on Omelek Island, SpaceX is the only US heavy lift provider with an equatorial launch location.
Privately-made Falcon 1 rocket roars on the pad
Posted: May 27, 2005

Rocket-launch newcomer Space Exploration Technologies Corp. today accomplished a critical engine firing at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, a long-awaited event that puts the company much closer to its inaugural blastoff later this summer.
28 May 2005
Falcon: Full launch 'wet' rehearsal completed
Staff report
Santa Maria Times

The makers of a commercial rocket said they successfully completed its test firing Friday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base, clearing an important hurdle along the path to its first liftoff.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. announced the successful completion of a full launch "wet" dress rehearsal, including pre-liftoff operations and a firing of the Falcon I rocket's engine for five seconds before it shut off at Space Launch Complex-3 West on South Base.

"Today we completed the largest milestone remaining before launch," said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. "In a few months, we will receive Air Force clearance to fly, and Falcon I will make its maiden voyage."

Musk developed the rocket to provide a low-cost vehicle to carry satellites to space.

Technical problems had interfered with the team's hopes of conducting this test twice earlier this month. But those problems seemed behind the team by Friday.

"The test went off perfectly this morning," said SpaceX spokeswoman Dianne Molina.

The rocket was expected to make a Friday night road trip back to SpaceX facilities in El Segundo to be checked out.

Falcon's first flight is scheduled for this summer.
Falcon rocket rides
slow road toward flight
SpaceX deals with hurdles associated
with engine and environmental rules
By Leonard David
Senior space writer
Updated: 6:05 p.m. ET Aug. 19, 2004

LOGAN, Utah - Time is drawing closer for the maiden liftoff of the privately financed Falcon 1 launch vehicle, built by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.

But the march to the launch pad has not been easy. The launch company, also known as SpaceX, has encountered engine troubles, supplier problems, mounds of regulatory paperwork and other costly woes requiring far more money to be spent than initially projected.

The SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket is headed for a September delivery to Launch Complex 3 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Once in position, the launcher will undergo an on-the-pad firing of its main engine, leading to a potential first flight toward the end of November.
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