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SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Kraken wrote: Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:54 am Imagine if we have neighbors next door, though. I hope we don't bring their property values down too much.
I'm just hoping they won't want to build an interstellar bypass through our solar system.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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The skies are overcast all week here, but I did get to see how the conjunction looked from South Africa just after sunset.

Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Article on the current status of SpaceX's testing at Boca Chica, big things are afoot for 2021! Starship SN9’s time to shine – test series targets a New Year’s resolution

Excerpt:
Starship SN9 is currently tracking an early New Years’ launch, providing the upcoming test series clears the path for what will be a similar flight to SN8, albeit aiming for a “softer” landing.

With the vehicle on the launch mount, the first test will involve cryoproofing as early as Monday, ahead of a three engine Static Fire test. Should the trio of Raptors – and their silver ringed host – perform as expected, a 12.5 KM test flight could come as soon as the first or second week of January.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Interesting article: To all the rockets we lost in 2020 and what we learned from them

Excerpt:
Launching rockets is hard. Most of the time we get it right, but sometimes unexpected things happen. Perhaps it's because of a stage failure or perhaps it's because of using a daring prototype, like SpaceX's Starship. But, as devastating as a failure can feel, it can help the teams behind these launches to learn and grow, helping them to continue to improve spaceflight.

Below is a list of the craziest rocket explosions and failures of 2020 (not including situations where a rocket had an anomaly en route but was still able to reach orbit (such as SpaceX's Falcon 9 Starlink rocket launch of March 18) or the numerous launch aborts of 2020 due to situations like weather or technical issues).
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Catch the Peak of a Meteor Shower Featuring Fireballs With Colorful Trails

2021’s Quadrantid meteors marred by moonlight
Technically, the Quadrantids meteor shower began last year—December 28, 2020, to be specific—but they peak tonight. And what’s so special about these meteors? In addition to being the first of the year, they’re also some of the best, according to NASA, thanks to coming in swiftly (at a rate of 60 to 200 meteors per hour), and because they are bright fireballs that often come colorful trails.
Enlarge Image

Im guessing the colorful trails are due to the chemicals the meteors are made of. Neat that one shower has so many different ones in it's makeup.

Why meteors glow in vibrant colors

Enlarge Image
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Starship SN9 speeds toward Static Fire and test flight

Excerpt:
With Starship SN8’s test flight still fresh in the memory, SN9 is set to complete an accelerated pad flow with a Static Fire test and launch this coming week. A triple Raptor Static Fire test is tracking early this week. Pending acceptable test results, the launch of SN9 could take place just a few days later.

Meanwhile, Starship SN10 is now an integrated stack inside the High Bay, ready to roll to the launch site as soon as SN9 departs. SN11 and SN12 are undergoing their own buildup operations inside the Mid Bay, with the former only lacking a nosecone.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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2020 Space Exploration. A Year in Review.

Btw, I have previously said that I consider SpaceX rockets the equivalent of space taxis. That makes their contribution no less spectacular nor important. I am moved to tears every time I see their launches. To them and to everyone exploring space I wish good luck and Godspeed in 2021.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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raydude wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:46 pm 2020 Space Exploration. A Year in Review.

Btw, I have previously said that I consider SpaceX rockets the equivalent of space taxis. That makes their contribution no less spectacular nor important. I am moved to tears every time I see their launches. To them and to everyone exploring space I wish good luck and Godspeed in 2021.
Awesome. It really was a good year for spaceflight.

Here's hoping Perseverance has a soft landing and Starship reaches orbit this year. Maybe Artemis 1 will even fly in '21. ;)
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Felt like I was watching some Elon Musk commercial. Appeared even NASA had been taken over as it looked like their transport vehicles were Teslas.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Daehawk wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:45 pm Felt like I was watching some Elon Musk commercial. Appeared even NASA had been taken over as it looked like their transport vehicles were Teslas.
Indeed they are. Custom Model X with hookups for the suit electronics.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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In the old videos of the Apollo era I thought they had the astronauts dress and hook up air in a sealed clean room and wear their sealed suits and helmets out and then to and into the rocket. These guys had no helmet mask on and their head out the car window. Thought it was a germs thing. Guess not.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Daehawk wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:28 pm In the old videos of the Apollo era I thought they had the astronauts dress and hook up air in a sealed clean room and wear their sealed suits and helmets out and then to and into the rocket. These guys had no helmet mask on and their head out the car window. Thought it was a germs thing. Guess not.
It was a germs thing, you don't want your Apollo astronaut catching a cold and then being stuck for ten days in a vehicle with interior space the size of a minivan. Remember Apollo 13? How one of the astronauts had a bad head cold? Imagine all three of them sick 🤢.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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jztemple2 wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:08 pm
Daehawk wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:28 pm In the old videos of the Apollo era I thought they had the astronauts dress and hook up air in a sealed clean room and wear their sealed suits and helmets out and then to and into the rocket. These guys had no helmet mask on and their head out the car window. Thought it was a germs thing. Guess not.
It was a germs thing, you don't want your Apollo astronaut catching a cold and then being stuck for ten days in a vehicle with interior space the size of a minivan. Remember Apollo 13? How one of the astronauts had a bad head cold? Imagine all three of them sick 🤢.
Plus what would happen if they passed the flu on to Kubrick?

BOOM! The whole show goes bust.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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raydude wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:46 pm 2020 Space Exploration. A Year in Review.

Btw, I have previously said that I consider SpaceX rockets the equivalent of space taxis. That makes their contribution no less spectacular nor important. I am moved to tears every time I see their launches. To them and to everyone exploring space I wish good luck and Godspeed in 2021.
Get those tissues ready, we have another launch this Thursday :D
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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SpaceX targets bold new 'catch' strategy for landing Super Heavy rockets

Excerpt:
SpaceX plans to get even more ambitious with its pinpoint rocket landings.

Elon Musk's company routinely recovers and reuses the first stages of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, bringing the boosters down for soft vertical landings about 9 minutes after liftoff on ground near the launch pad or on autonomous "drone ships" in the ocean.

These touchdowns are impressively precise. But SpaceX aims to achieve something truly mind-blowing with Starship, the next-generation system the company is developing to take people and payloads to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations.

"We’re going to try to catch the Super Heavy booster with the launch tower arm, using the grid fins to take the load," Musk said via Twitter on Dec. 30.

That's right: SpaceX wants to bring Super Heavy, the giant first stage of the two-stage Starship system, down directly on the launch stand.

Meanwhile, want some size comparisons?
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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jztemple2 wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:01 pmMeanwhile, want some size comparisons?
Image
That's pretty cool.

I assume that if you zoom in really closely, that's Elon down under the nose. :D

One of the coolest things I ever saw was the pair of boosters from Falcon Heavy landing together. Seeing the Super Heavy snagged from the air might just beat that.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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When's he gonna have it transform into a humanoid robot and stick a super hero landing pose? :)
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Scott Manley has more on this:

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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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A conversation with NASA's Planetary Defense Officer: Defending Earth against dangerous asteroids: Q&A with NASA's Lindley Johnson

Excerpt:
It's a cosmic roll of the dice. There's no doubt that a major asteroid or comet strike could cause extensive devastation and profoundly affect life on Earth.

The largest hit in recent times was the object that exploded over Tunguska, Siberia, in June 1908 with an energy impact of five to 15 megatons. Then there was that spectacular and destructive airburst in February 2013 over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The Chelyabinsk explosion generated a shock wave that shattered windows on the ground, and the resulting flying glass shards injured more than 1,000 people.

While these run-ins are few and far between, those in the know call them wakeup calls.

Thwarting an incoming object that has Earth in its crosshairs will mean deflecting or disrupting the hazardous object. That's a task of planetary defense, an "applied planetary science" to address the near-Earth object (NEO) impact hazard.

Lindley Johnson is NASA's Planetary Defense Officer and program executive of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. An email from him includes the on-the-job line: "Hic Servare Diem," Latin for "Here to Save the Day."

Space.com caught up with Johnson to discuss recent events and what's on the planetary-defense agenda in the coming year.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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jztemple2 wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:17 pm A conversation with NASA's Planetary Defense Officer: Defending Earth against dangerous asteroids: Q&A with NASA's Lindley Johnson

Excerpt:
It's a cosmic roll of the dice. There's no doubt that a major asteroid or comet strike could cause extensive devastation and profoundly affect life on Earth.

The largest hit in recent times was the object that exploded over Tunguska, Siberia, in June 1908 with an energy impact of five to 15 megatons. Then there was that spectacular and destructive airburst in February 2013 over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The Chelyabinsk explosion generated a shock wave that shattered windows on the ground, and the resulting flying glass shards injured more than 1,000 people.

While these run-ins are few and far between, those in the know call them wakeup calls.

Thwarting an incoming object that has Earth in its crosshairs will mean deflecting or disrupting the hazardous object. That's a task of planetary defense, an "applied planetary science" to address the near-Earth object (NEO) impact hazard.

Lindley Johnson is NASA's Planetary Defense Officer and program executive of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. An email from him includes the on-the-job line: "Hic Servare Diem," Latin for "Here to Save the Day."

Space.com caught up with Johnson to discuss recent events and what's on the planetary-defense agenda in the coming year.
I actually got to meet Lindley Johnson back in 2014 when he was the NEO Programs Exec. I was in my 2nd year at APL and I was on the Balloon Observing Platform for Planetary Science (BOPPS) mission. It was a way for NASA to rapidly deploy sensors to view space objects that had only recently been discovered, i.e. asteroids and comets using high altitude balloons carrying a telecope with an IR camera. Stuff that would be out of viewing range in the time it takes to put together a rocket and payload, since putting together a balloon mission was much faster.

I didn't get to talk to him much because he was a bigwig and I was a new employee and as such I didn't really know anyone outside my immediate sphere of responsibility. So since I was the person in charge of the data product pipeline I only really interacted with the PI, the instrument engineer, the software engineer who wrote the code that transfers data from the telescope and camera to the ground, and the IR camera optical engineers.

Also at the time I was struggling with learning Java on the job in addition to learning the JAI imaging library and only barely managed to finish the pipeline days before launch.

Anyway, my most vivid memory of Lindley was him staring at the telescope engineer during the mission. Balloon ops being what they are, the entire ops team was in a giant hangar along with other balloon payloads in states of assembly. Our equipment was on these long folding tables and since this was in the middle of the New Mexico desert we got the occasional insects that wandered in, including a tarantula one time. Anyway, so Lindley was standing right next to this APL engineer and staring at him. This was the engineer who was riding my ass the whole time I was there. He was an APL veteran and didn't think I knew anything and because of that filtered all my questions as if I was a newbie. And he made his views about me known loud and clear during many rants. Anyway, so this APL prima donna was suddenly stuck because his telescope controlling software wasn't working right. During the mission! The balloon was already at the right altitude and our camera was sitting idle because he couldn't get his telescope to point at the comet! So he's banging away at the keyboard then sitting pensively thinking and the entire time Lindley Johnson is staring at him wondering why this dude was holding up the mission.

Long story short, he managed to fix his software, we got good views of the comet, my software worked and produced some meaningful data, the PI exclaimed "wow! I didn't think we'd be able to do this!" and we got a big "Congratulations! Good Job" from Lindley after the mission was over. Then another congratulations from him at an official ceremony back at APL.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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2 stories....

A mysterious 'wobble' is moving Mars' poles around
Like a toy top that teeters as it loses speed, the poles of Mars are wandering ever-so-slightly away from the planet's axis of rotation, moving about 4 inches (10 centimeters) off-center every 200 days or so, researchers reported in a study published Oct. 13, 2020. That makes Mars only the second known planet in the universe to exhibit this phenomenon — known as the Chandler wobble — with Earth being the first, according to the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) news blog, Eos.org.

The Earth has been spinning faster lately
Scientists around the world have noted that the Earth has been spinning on its axis faster lately—the fastest ever recorded. Several scientists have spoken to the press about the unusual phenomenon, with some pointing out that this past year saw some of the shortest days ever recorded.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Daehawk wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:43 pm with some pointing out that this past year saw some of the shortest days ever recorded.
Damn, pretty much every day last year seemed endless :wink:
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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From Space.com, Blue Origin will launch its upgraded New Shepard space capsule Thursday. Here's how to watch live.

Except:
"Mannequin Skywalker" will fly to space Thursday (Jan. 14) as part of a big test for Blue Origin's budding human spaceflight program — and you can watch the event live.

The company's New Shepard rocket and space capsule are expected to lift off at 10:45 a.m. EST (9:45 a.m. local time or 1545 GMT) from the company's West Texas facility to evaluate upgrades to the crew capsule's performance. You can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company's website here. Coverage will start 30 minutes before launch, and the company will provide live updates on Twitter.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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And from Space.com, Blue Origin's 1st upgraded New Shepard spacecraft for astronauts aces launch (and landing)

Excerpt:
Blue Origin just took another big step toward human spaceflight.

The company, which is run by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, launched its first upgraded New Shepard spacecraft for astronauts, the RSS First Step, on an uncrewed suborbital test flight from West Texas today (Jan. 14).

"The success of this flight puts us one really big step closer to flying astronauts," said Blue Origin's Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut and orbital sales, during a live webcast. "There's going to be a lot of fun ahead in 2021."

New Shepard lifted off at 12:18 p.m. EST (1718 GMT), and its two elements — a rocket and a capsule, both of which are reusable — aced their landings shortly thereafter. The booster came down for a powered, vertical touchdown in its designated landing zone near the launch pad, and the capsule then settled down softly under parachutes a short distance away, raising a plume of desert dirt about 10 minutes after liftoff.

The New Shepard capsule reached a maximum altitude of 350,827 feet (106,932 meters), according to Blue Origin. That's about 66 miles (107 kilometers) up, above the traditionally recognized 62-mile (100 km) border of space.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Awesome.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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From Space.com, NASA will test-fire its 1st SLS megarocket for moon missions today. Here's how to watch.
NASA will attempt to fire the engines on its Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket for the first time today and you can watch the fiery action live online.

As part of a critical test before the rocket behemoth lifts off for the first time, the agency plans to ignite the four main engines on its heavy-lift core booster this at about 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT) today, Jan. 16. The test, which is designed to simulate the core stage's performance during launch, will take place at the agency’s Stennis Space Center, in Mississippi.

You can watch the test live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of NASA, beginning at 4:20 p.m. EST (1920 GMT). You'll also be able to watch the test directly from NASA here.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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About 5 minutes until the test fire begins....
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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couple of minutes away from firing
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

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Shut down at 67 secs, sounds like they didn't get to the gimbal testing. So a partial success.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

Post by Kraken »

Was supposed to go 8+ minutes, right? The duration of its actual flight. Oh well, at least it didn't RUD. I reckon they'll have to repeat this test now. Does that rule out the November launch?
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

Post by jztemple2 »

Kraken wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:03 pm Was supposed to go 8+ minutes, right? The duration of its actual flight. Oh well, at least it didn't RUD. I reckon they'll have to repeat this test now. Does that rule out the November launch?
I suspect that there will be some horse trading regarding what the green run needed to accomplish versus what happened. Had they gotten through the gimballing tests, things would be more straightforward. And it depends on what caused the early shutdown. If it was ground related or a simple issue they might rationalize that since the first launch is unmanned that there could be some risk carried to the Artemis One launch, but without that gimballing I don't think they can get away without another green run. What you might see then is another testing firing and if they get through about half the time duration and get their gimballing and throttling tests done, if they shut down early after that they could call it a success and proceed with the schedule and without another firing test.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

Post by jztemple2 »

Of course everything I talked about above goes under review after Jan 20th. I expect the Biden administration won't be as gung-ho on spending so much money to get boots on the moon by 2024, a pretty shaky prospect anyway. Expect to see some committees formed to review all the Artemis planning and after that, programs being cancelled or postponed.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

Post by Kraken »

I fully expect Biden's director to revert to the original 2028 schedule, which is reasonable. Need to build and test a lander and get the nucleus of Gateway in place, then make sure all the pieces work together, and that wasn't going to happen by '24 (as I'm sure you'll agree). Maybe that won't take four "extra" years, but to plan only two test missions before going for the landing was...aspirational, as they say.
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

Post by jztemple2 »

Kraken wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:03 pm Maybe that won't take four "extra" years, but to plan only two test missions before going for the landing was...aspirational, as they say.
As my NASA counterpart love to say to get folks spun up, the Space Shuttle program was the first manned program where we had people on board for the first ever flight :shock:
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Re: SPACE - random thread about space stuff

Post by jztemple2 »

From Space.com, NASA knows what caused the early engine shutdown of its 1st SLS moon rocket during major test

Excerpt:
After analyzing data from the test, NASA has determined that the problem was not with the engines or other hardware, which remain "in excellent condition," agency officials wrote in an update today (Jan. 19). Rather, the shutdown "was triggered by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the core stage during the test."

Those parameters concerned engine hydraulics — specifically, the system designed to gimbal, or pivot, each engine during flight. On Saturday, the preset parameters for Engine 2's system were exceeded, and the core stage's flight computers ended the test automatically, NASA officials wrote in the update. If this same issue crops up during an actual flight, the SLS will be able to fly through it, they added.
From the NASA blog,
These preprogrammed parameters are designed specifically for ground testing with the flight hardware that will fly NASA’s Artemis I mission to ensure the core stage’s thrust vector control system safely moves the engines. There is a thrust vector control (TVC) system that gimbals, or pivots, each engine, and there are two actuators that generate the forces to gimbal each engine. The actuators in the TVC system are powered by Core Stage Auxiliary Power Units (CAPU). As planned, the thrust vector control systems gimbaled the engines to simulate how they move to direct thrust during the rocket’s ascent.

During gimballing, the hydraulic system associated with the core stage’s power unit for Engine 2, also known as engine E2056, exceeded the pre-set test limits that had been established. As they were programmed to do, the flight computers automatically ended the test. The specific logic that stopped the test is unique to the ground test when the core stage is mounted in the B-2 test stand at Stennis. If this scenario occurred during a flight, the rocket would have continued to fly using the remaining CAPUs to power the thrust vector control systems for the engines.

During the test, the functionality of shutting down one CAPU and transferring the power to the remaining CAPUs was successfully demonstrated. This gimballing test event that resulted in shutting down the CAPU was an intentionally stressing case for the system that was intended to exercise the capabilities of the system. The data is being assessed as part of the process of finalizing the pre-set test limits prior to the next usage of the core stage.
And...
Data analysis is continuing to help the team determine if a second hot fire test is required. The team can make slight adjustments to the thrust vector control parameters and prevent an automatic shut down if they decide to conduct another test with the core stage mounted in the B-2 stand.
Sounds a bit weasel-worded to me. "The specific logic that stopped the test is unique to the ground test when the core stage is mounted in the B-2 test stand at Stennis. If this scenario occurred during a flight, the rocket would have continued to fly using the remaining CAPUs to power the thrust vector control systems for the engines". However, it was known that this run was going to be on the B-2 test stand (duh) so either they didn't plan on this happening, which still means there's something not understood, or they knew that the test might shut down early, in which case they have been a bit misleading in their built-up to this test, which kept stressing a full duration run.

If I was a member of the United States House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology I'd like to know why they think they can opt out of doing another attempt at a full duration hot fire after not accomplishing the goals they set before this test. This just reminds me of the Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test where after failing to achieve the planned goals they tried to rationalize why they didn't need to do another test flight.

And maybe I'm just a wee bit cranky today :roll:
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