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View Full Version : Falcon 9 COTS Demo Flight 1 Today!


Ian Curtis
12-08-2010, 12:50 AM
Today will hopefully mark the 2nd launch of the Falcon 9, and first launch of a fully integrated Dragon capsule. SpaceX will be streaming the launch live at SpaceX.com (http://www.spacex.com), and NASA TV (http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html) will also carry the feed. This is a pretty big rocket -- it can carry significantly more weight to low Earth Orbit than the Titan used to launch Gemini capsules in the 1960s. Assuming this flight goes off well, in the spring a 2nd mission will test the Dragon further. The mission after that will kick off a contract with NASA to resupply the ISS. Should be an exciting morning!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/2e/Falcon_9_upright_on_pad.jpg/270px-Falcon_9_upright_on_pad.jpg

Their launch window opens at 9AM EST and closes shortly after 12:20.

For further information, see the Press Kit (http://www.spacex.com/downloads/cots1-20101206.pdf).

EricH
12-08-2010, 01:19 AM
IF they decide to proceed with the cracks existing in the Stage 2 nozzle, that is. They were going to decide tonight, but haven't announced yet. http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20101206

Now, you have 2 small cracks in a low-stress, non-mission-failure part of your ship. You're on the pad. I like SpaceX's approach: start seeing if there's something critical that they're missing elsewhere, and see if they can just trim out that portion of the nozzle and launch anyway, because that amount of efficiency isn't needed on this mission. Be interesting to see whether it's Go or No Go for Wednesday, or if they hold off a day or so.

Ian Curtis
12-08-2010, 01:34 AM
IF they decide to proceed with the cracks existing in the Stage 2 nozzle, that is. They were going to decide tonight, but haven't announced yet. http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20101206

Now, you have 2 small cracks in a low-stress, non-mission-failure part of your ship. You're on the pad. I like SpaceX's approach: start seeing if there's something critical that they're missing elsewhere, and see if they can just trim out that portion of the nozzle and launch anyway, because that amount of efficiency isn't needed on this mission. Be interesting to see whether it's Go or No Go for Wednesday, or if they hold off a day or so.

Whoever runs their Twitter Account is pretty optimistic. (http://twitter.com/#!/SpaceXer)

Spaceflight Now (http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/status.html) is pretty good at aggregating news from all the various agencies/people, they also say go.

Who knows though, waiting for last second holds is part of the fun. :)

EricH
12-08-2010, 01:47 AM
I think I follow their reasoning: It's not going to affect the flight at this point, so if we get a shot, let's go for it and hope that it's not a symptom of something far worse. Then, let's figure out how the cracks happened and what we need to do to not get any more of them.

Too bad I'll be scrambling for, or actually in, class from 0700 to 1000 CST tomorrow...:( I'd love to watch it.

EricH
12-08-2010, 12:11 PM
So far so good, but can't see anything on the webcast--it's (still) buffering. I'd guess a lot of traffic to the site.

Ian Curtis
12-08-2010, 12:45 PM
So far so good, but can't see anything on the webcast--it's (still) buffering. I'd guess a lot of traffic to the site.

Yup, they're not streaming the Dragon on-orbit testing.

If you missed it it's already on Youtube! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-ci9xIgNZM)

SpaceX's twitter feed (http://twitter.com/#!/spacexer) is also staying updated. If things keep going well they plan on firing the deorbit burn a little after 1PM EST, which means the capsule will be floating in the Pacific around 2, with a press conference sometime after that.

EricH
12-13-2010, 10:13 PM
Reported.