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Postby Shyster » Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:43 pm

Shyster, do you envision even more launches coming from Wallops over the next decade or so? Would love to see more launches from my house. One of these years I'm going to make a trip of it and drive down to watch

I was shocked that there were over 1000 full time employees at Wallops alone.

Yes, we should see more launches. While the pace of Antares or other rockets probably won't increase, Rocket Labs is planning regular launches from its new pad at Wallops, I think up to a dozen or more each year. The first Electron launch from Wallops should take place before the end of this year.

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Postby tifosi77 » Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:55 pm

Soichi Noguchi is a space veteran and will become only the third person in history and the first non-American to launch to space on three different spacecraft: Shuttle, Soyuz, and Crew Dragon. Only NASA astronauts Wally Schirra (Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo) and John Young (Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle) hold a similar distinction. No one to date has ever launched into space on four different vehicles.
This is a seriously cool factoid. :thumb:

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Postby tifosi77 » Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:58 pm

Also re jobs in spaceflight

Since I entered the interview pipeline at SpaceX, I've been following them on LinkedIn. It is not an exaggeration to say that they post new jobs at the rate of nearly 100 a week, and that pace has been constant since I started following them 3 months ago. There have been individual days where they post two dozen spots. It's bananas. I haven't done a deep dive to see how many of them are re-posts, or double posts, but even if a chunk of them are dupes, that's an insane amount of activity. They currently have 474 job listings open.

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Postby Shyster » Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:54 pm

ULA appears to have successfully launched the classified NROL-101 payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office and the US Space Force. Like other classified launches, they cut away from the video feed a couple minutes in, but everything was nominal at that point. It's not clear exactly what sort of satellite or satellites this mission was carrying, and there are a number of options. Satellite watchers will be able to make more educated guesses once they can observe the payload in orbit.

This was the first launch of an Atlas 5 rocket with the new Northrop Grumman-built GEM-63 solid rocket motors, which replaced the Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ-60A solid-rocket motors used on previous Atlas 5s. The GEM-63 have the same performance and were designed to be "drop in" replacements, but they're supposedly substantially less expensive.

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Postby DigitalGypsy66 » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:09 pm

Here’s some civilian footage from Myrtle Beach


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Postby Shyster » Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:24 am

The SpaceX Crew-1 has been delayed by weather from Saturday to Sunday. Tropical-storm remnants are causing high winds over Florida, so SpaceX and NASA decided to push the launch 24 hours. The delay will increase the amount of time it will take the Crew Dragon to get to the ISS from around eight hours to a little more than a day. The launch should be around 7:45 pm eastern time.

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Postby Shyster » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:22 pm

SpaceX had a successful launch yesterday and should be docking with the ISS in a few hours. After launch, there was a brief issue with propellant-line heaters not working properly, but SpaceX quickly solved that problem, and the Dragon has been performing perfectly since then.

In news that will disappoint shafnutz05, the first Electron launch from Wallops has been pushed back to 2021. Rocket Lab is waiting for NASA to certify the autonomous flight termination system (AFTS) that will be used on the rocket to provide range safety. NASA controls the launch range at Wallops, where LC-2 is located. According to Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, “There’s a very long certification process that, quite frankly, we probably underestimated how long it would take.”

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Postby shafnutz05 » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:10 am

Thanks for the update!

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Postby Freddy Rumsen » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:44 am


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Postby Shyster » Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:07 pm

Around the same time the Crew Dragon was docking with the ISS, Arianespace was launching a Vega rocket carrying two scientific Earth-imaging satellites for Spain and France. The flight appeared to be nominal through the burns of the Vega's first three solid-rocket stages, but when the liquid-fueled fourth stage (called the AVUM or Attitude Vernier Upper Module) lit, the vehicle appeared to under-perform and veer off the planned trajectory. Today, Arianespace announced that an analysis mission telemetry, coupled with data from the production of the vehicle, led them to conclude that the data cables for two of the thrust-vector-control actuators were inverted, so when the AVUM tried to steer left it would actually go right, and vice versa. That's a real :face:

This is the second failure of the Vega rocket in the last two years. In July 2019, a Vega rocket lost a satellite for the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces when the second solid stage burst in flight, which caused the vehicle to break up. Arianespace only returned the Vega rocket to flight just this year in September.

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Postby tifosi77 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:14 pm

ISS passed overhead last night, so that was the first time we had a sighting of it with a crew vehicle docked. That was kinda neat.

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Postby PFiDC » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:00 pm

"Where they will stay until Spring"

lucky bastards

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Postby shafnutz05 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:21 am

ISS passed overhead last night, so that was the first time we had a sighting of it with a crew vehicle docked. That was kinda neat.
:thumb:

Yup, it's back to making evening passes right now.

Tonight its two passes are no more than 25 degrees above the horizon, but tomorrow night should be great. It will cross almost right over the zenith.

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Postby tifosi77 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:46 pm

Yeah, last night's pass was I think 75° overhead, so it was total neck-crane territory. We were even able to maintain eyes-on as it passed over clouds, which surprised me. It was also the first time we were able to see a separate reflection for a solar array, so it looked like a tiny lowercase 'd' going by. Oh, and it was the first time we had a sighting where we lost eyes because it crossed its visual terminator for sunlight, not because of our own ground-based line-of-sight. So it just sort of faded to black over 3 seconds while still almost directly overhead.

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Postby Shyster » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:23 pm

The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico is headed for demolition. It was seriously damaged when a support cable failed in August, and a second cable recently failed, which caused even more damage to the reflector dish and to other cables. Engineers no longer think the structure is capable of repair.

https://www.cnet.com/news/legendary-are ... ng-damage/

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Postby Freddy Rumsen » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:27 pm

Biggest one will be again in West Virginia where I went to high school.

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Postby shafnutz05 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:24 am

Yeah, last night's pass was I think 75° overhead, so it was total neck-crane territory. We were even able to maintain eyes-on as it passed over clouds, which surprised me. It was also the first time we were able to see a separate reflection for a solar array, so it looked like a tiny lowercase 'd' going by. Oh, and it was the first time we had a sighting where we lost eyes because it crossed its visual terminator for sunlight, not because of our own ground-based line-of-sight. So it just sort of faded to black over 3 seconds while still almost directly overhead.
Nice! Yes the views of the ISS crossing into Earth's shadow are always cool.

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Postby Shyster » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:59 pm

SpaceX conducted a successful launch of the Sentinel-6 mission from Vandenburg AFB this morning. The satellite was jointly developed by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and is designed to study the oceans. I believe this was the first SpaceX launch from Vandy in well over a year. It used a new booster core that executed an on-shore landing at Landing Zone 4. SpaceX is also prepping for a Starlink launch from Florida. That one is scheduled for late tomorrow night. It will be the seventh flight for that particular core.

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Postby Shyster » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:38 pm

Looks like China today successfully launched the Chang’e 5 mission collect and return soil and rocks from the Moon. This is the first mission that will return lunar samples since the Apollo days. The launch used China's relatively new Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket.

It looks like we'll be seeing more of the Long March 5. A while back, China had revealed plans for the Long March 9, which would be a super-heavy Saturn V-class rocket. Those plans appear to have been scrapped, and instead China is proposing a new rocket that would use three Long March 5 cores together in the same way as the Delta 4 Heavy and Falcon Heavy. It wouldn't have the lift capacity of the proposed Long March 9, but it would be cheaper, easier, and faster to develop.


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Postby Shyster » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:39 pm

Neat video from Scott Manley on how a specific planned mission for the DoD played a major role in the design of the Space Shuttle. The DoD not only wanted the Shuttle to fly from California, but it wanted a very specific one-orbit-mission capability. That mission profile ended up never being flown, and the Shuttle never launched from Vandenberg. Discovery had been scheduled to launch from Vandenberg in late 1986, but the loss of Challenger earlier that year led to the cancellation of all west-coast launches.


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Postby shafnutz05 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:29 am

This is going to be a great sight.

https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentia ... ec-21-2020
Astronomers use the word conjunction to describe meetings of planets and other objects on our sky’s dome. They use the term great conjunction to describe meetings of the two biggest worlds in our solar system, mighty Jupiter and the glorious ringed planet Saturn. The next great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be December 21, 2020. That date is, coincidentally, the date of the December solstice. It’ll be the first Jupiter-Saturn conjunction since the year 2000, and the closest Jupiter-Saturn conjunction since 1623, only 14 years after Galileo made his first telescope. At their closest, Jupiter and Saturn will be only 0.1 degree apart. That’s just 1/5 of a full moon diameter.

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Postby Ad@m » Mon Nov 30, 2020 11:37 pm


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Postby Willie Kool » Tue Dec 01, 2020 12:30 pm

The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico is headed for demolition. It was seriously damaged when a support cable failed in August, and a second cable recently failed, which caused even more damage to the reflector dish and to other cables. Engineers no longer think the structure is capable of repair.

https://www.cnet.com/news/legendary-are ... ng-damage/
It collapsed this morning. :(


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Postby Shyster » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:41 pm

In some good space news, the Chinese Chang’e-5 lander successfully touched down on the moon to collect lunar samples. The lander touched down on a part of the moon that may contain rocks created by late-stage volcanism, which could be billions of years younger than those collected from the manned Apollo and unmanned Soviet missions.

In other China news, it looks like the Long March 9 super-heavy launch vehicle is back in the table. It wasn't mentioned at a program a few months ago, which led observers to question whether it had been canceled. But the secretary-general of the China National Space Administration recently said that the vehicle is still under active research and development, although it's not expected to be ready until around 2030. It now seems that China will be developing both the Long March 9 and the as-yet-unnamed triple-core version of the Long March 5.

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Postby Shyster » Sat Dec 05, 2020 7:36 pm

Space news.

The return capsule for the Hayabusa-2 asteroid sample-return mission operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA, has been recovered from its landing site in Woomera Test Range in the Australian outback. Hayabusa-2 launched in December 2014 and rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu in June 2018.

The launch of a SpaceX cargo mission to the ISS was scrubbed today due to bad weather. This will be the first launch of the cargo version of the Dragon 2 capsule, which going forward will be used for both manned and unmanned missions. I believe the next attempt is tomorrow.

The first high-altitude flight for SpaceX Starship SN8 could take place as soon as Monday. The flight is now expected to reach an altitude of 12 km before SN8 comes back down to attempt a landing.

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