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

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Good day,

Starting a space launch business is not easy or without problems. A bit of perseverance is required.
- LRK -

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of access to space ultimately by a factor of ten. Our design and manufacturing facilities are located in Southern California, near the Los Angeles airport, and our propulsion development and structural test facilities are located in Central Texas.

We have been waiting for the launch of the Space-X's Falcon 1, and it almost happened but one more delay. Use the "UPDATES" tab to take you to the News Updates page.

You can also add yourself to their e-mail notification.

Remember, operations moved from Vandenberg Air Force base to Kwajelein where they have been developing launch capabilities.

Want a job with them, better be good.
- LRK -

SpaceX has exceptionally stringent hiring criteria. You must have either a demonstrated track record of world-class ability in your field, outstanding academics or other evidence of exceptional ability. Particular value is placed on having won or ranked strongly in state, national or international prizes in technical achievement, or having personally built working hardware.
SpaceX is primarily an engineering driven company and needs exist for mechanical, electrical and aeronautical engineers interested in:

Rocket engine combustion
Advanced structural design & analysis
High Mach aerodynamics
Avionics, guidance & control

Prior launch vehicle, spacecraft or aircraft experience is desirable, but not required. There are also opportunities for those with a physics or mathematics background and an inclination towards the practical.

Hope we get to look up at them (well by way of video at least).

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
Falcon 1 Maiden Flight Update: Posted February 10, 2006
We were very happy to be able to execute a flight countdown all the way to lighting the engine. Although there wasn't a launch this time, we made a lot of progress refining the rocket and launch pad -- all work that needed to be done anyway. I will post a longer update next week, after we have enough time to finish forensics of recent events and formulate next steps.
[Note: there is a link on this page to view the static firing of Falcon-1.]
Posted February 9, 2006
After analyzing data from the static fire countdown, we decided to postpone the launch. The vehicle is being lowered for further investigation.

Once we have thoroughly checked out all systems, I will post an update on what was found and when the next countdown attempt will occur. Based on range availability and logistics constraints, a rough guess would be two to four weeks.
January 2006 Update
(Note: Subscribers to the email list receive the update earlier than it is posted on the website. Email address privacy is always respected.)

New Launch Time

The new launch time is February 8 at 4:30 p.m. California time with Feb. 9 as a backup day. We will actually be ready to launch earlier, but are planning to spend extra time reviewing and double-checking all vehicle systems.

Following the problem on Dec. 19, we flew a whole new first stage to Hawaii via C-5 just in time to catch the barge from there to Kwaj a few days before New Year's Eve. The new stage should arrive at Kwaj in about a week, whereupon we will switch it out with the damaged unit, which will be sent back to California for repair. The repair is not particularly difficult or expensive, but can only be done properly in a factory setting.

What Was the Problem?

As previously reported, we traced the problem to the failure of an electronic component in one of the first stage fuel tank pressurization valves. Although we have triple redundant pressure sensors and dual redundant pressurization valves, when this component shorted, it caused the valve controller board to reboot, effectively eliminating the redundancy.

This is the first time in 3.5 years of hard testing that we have ever seen this happen. Moreover, the component in question has a cycle life and power rating far in excess of the theoretical load that it should see. To address this specific problem, we are replacing the component with one that has a quasi-infinite lifespan and taking a few other steps that will isolate any issue with this component if it goes wrong in the future.

However, as I mentioned in an earlier update, we are not simply going to address this particular point problem and then merrily jump back into a countdown sequence. Throughout January, the SpaceX team will be doing another full review of vehicle systems, including propulsion, structures, avionics, software and ground support systems. We will be conducting additional engine tests, stage separation tests and avionics tests to once again attempt to flush out any issues. Even if we find nothing, the exercise is worthwhile.

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