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Thread: SpaceX COTS-2/3 Flight

  1. #1
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    SpaceX COTS-2/3 Flight

    I thought we might have a separate thread for the next SpaceX Falcon 9 flight(s), to keep things separate from the completed COTS-1 flight from December 2010.

    If COTS-3 is not merged with COTS-2, we can either have a separate thread for that, or just append 3 after 2, depending on how everyone feels.

    Here's a link for the story about the COTS-2/3 proposed merge, in light of the COTS-1 success:

    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon...01209reaction/

    CJSF
    "Soon the man who sweeps the room brings the secret telegram, 'COMMENCE OFFICIAL INTERPLANETARY EXPLORATION.' "
    -They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon"

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I thought we might have a separate thread for the next SpaceX Falcon 9 flight(s), to keep things separate from the completed COTS-1 flight from December 2010.

    If COTS-3 is not merged with COTS-2, we can either have a separate thread for that, or just append 3 after 2, depending on how everyone feels.

    Here's a link for the story about the COTS-2/3 proposed merge, in light of the COTS-1 success:

    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon...01209reaction/

    CJSF
    It may be that the hurdles Space X has to cross are more political than technical now. There seems to be an element there who really don't want Space X or any commercial company to succeed.

  3. #3
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    I think NASa will allow it conditionally. So do COTS 2 and be ready for COTS 3, if 2 was flawless (as flawless as space missions go, heh).

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    Moving on up! (And quite quickly, too!)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    It may be that the hurdles Space X has to cross are more political than technical now.
    Disagree. There are still aspects of the Dragon that were not demonstrated, pretty much everything related to proximity ops. NASA is naturally cautious for its $100B asset. If they allow COTS 2 and 3 to be merged, Dragon will most likely have to first demonstrate all COTS 2 objectives before being allowed to berth.

    I don't see any political action against them with respect to Station resupply, just as I don't see any political favoritism towards them as some other people imply. I guess people see what they "want" to see.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    I don't see any political action against them with respect to Station resupply, just as I don't see any political favoritism towards them as some other people imply. I guess people see what they "want" to see.
    I agree. I've seen too many NASA and congressional comments regarding the privatization of LEO launches.
    It seems the big political struggle is with BEO.

    Most of the improvements will be in the craft's electronics, but SpaceX must also add solar panels and insert more redundancy in the Dragon's equipment. The flight computer will also receive upgrades before a station flight, according to Musk.
    I wouldn't approach too close to ISS if these additions were untested.

    Maybe these can be thouroughly tested in flight, but I would be apprehensive with a go-ahead with only one flight of a new configuration.

  7. #7
    Both the ATV and HTV were allowed to dock on their first flights (after first demonstrating automated "breakaway" capability). What's the difference between those programs and Dragon? More ground testing? NASA oversight or regular program reviews? Dragon is NIH? Or something else?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter View Post
    Both the ATV and HTV were allowed to dock on their first flights (after first demonstrating automated "breakaway" capability). What's the difference between those programs and Dragon? More ground testing? NASA oversight or regular program reviews? Dragon is NIH? Or something else?
    Much more NASA oversight from the start. Even then HTV needed to demonstrate it wouldn't crash into the ISS before being allowed to berth AIUI. Basically similar to what Dragon would have to do if C2 and C3 are allowed to be combined.

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    When's the manned flight?

  10. #10
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    I don't think that's been determined yet, and I'm sure any planning target dates will not hold up (which is probably why they aren't loudly publicizing any they might have).

    CJSF
    "Soon the man who sweeps the room brings the secret telegram, 'COMMENCE OFFICIAL INTERPLANETARY EXPLORATION.' "
    -They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon"

  11. #11
    There aren't any planning dates. They reported they're only planning on starting design work on a crewed Dragon sometime next year.

    You might as well ask when are we landing humans on Mars.

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    I guess this is as good a place to ask as any- is "Falcon"/"Merlin" a bird pun/theme thingy or just an accident?

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    I'm pretty sure it was done on purpose, Kai. A Merlin (also known as a pigeon hawk) is a species of falcon.

    CJSF
    "Soon the man who sweeps the room brings the secret telegram, 'COMMENCE OFFICIAL INTERPLANETARY EXPLORATION.' "
    -They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon"

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I'm pretty sure it was done on purpose, Kai. A Merlin (also known as a pigeon hawk) is a species of falcon.

    CJSF
    That's what I meant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I'm pretty sure it was done on purpose, Kai. A Merlin (also known as a pigeon hawk) is a species of falcon.

    CJSF
    And lets not forget its illustrious namesake:

    Rolls Royce Merlin

  16. #16
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    It's a theme thing. They have Falcon, Merlin, Kestrel and possibly Raptor (an LH2 engine) in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elukka View Post
    It's a theme thing. They have Falcon, Merlin, Kestrel and possibly Raptor (an LH2 engine) in the future.
    Cool! I was right!

  18. #18
    Falcon was AIUI a nod to the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    There aren't any planning dates. They reported they're only planning on starting design work on a crewed Dragon sometime next year.

    You might as well ask when are we landing humans on Mars.
    Not really dude. The crewed Dragon is not that far a leap from the cargo version. The work will be in the escape system. SpaceX plans to make the escape system part of the Dragon that will also allow dry land returns from space instead of water splashdowns. Outside of that, some seats, and control telemetry, and a TON of testing for NASA purposes, that's about all that is needed for a crewed Dragon. If SpaceX gets CRS $$'s, I'd expect to see a crewed Dragon in a couple years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mijoh1 View Post
    Not really dude. The crewed Dragon is not that far a leap from the cargo version. The work will be in the escape system. SpaceX plans to make the escape system part of the Dragon that will also allow dry land returns from space instead of water splashdowns. Outside of that, some seats, and control telemetry, and a TON of testing for NASA purposes, that's about all that is needed for a crewed Dragon. If SpaceX gets CRS $$'s, I'd expect to see a crewed Dragon in a couple years.
    Space X said after the COTS 1 flight that it would take them about three years from when they get the go ahead, so essentially its down to how fast NASA push ahead with CCDev, or rather how fast the Congressional funding lets them push ahead with it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Space X said after the COTS 1 flight that it would take them about three years from when they get the go ahead, so essentially its down to how fast NASA push ahead with CCDev, or rather how fast the Congressional funding lets them push ahead with it.
    My understanding is that COTS doesn't follow the standard federal process.
    Hopefully; we will see how it turns out in March if the schedule stays on target. Proposals have been submitted.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    My understanding is that COTS doesn't follow the standard federal process.
    Hopefully; we will see how it turns out in March if the schedule stays on target. Proposals have been submitted.
    You mean figure out how much a project costs and how long it will take, then add 50% for the 'inevitable' overruns when you submit it to Congress, and then take twice as long as that at three times the cost with nothing to show for it when it finally gets canceled?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    You mean figure out how much a project costs and how long it will take, then add 50% for the 'inevitable' overruns when you submit it to Congress, and then take twice as long as that at three times the cost with nothing to show for it when it finally gets canceled?
    I think you meant "...then hide 50%...". Congress doesn't fund contingencies, they only approve them as overruns.

    Basically, yes. But; with the fact that the project also has company investment, I'm not sure it really fits the idea of a contract for a project.

    Besides, I think the $500M for COTS was already approved so it's out of the hands of Congress now.

  24. #24
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    Article from Universe Today, about SpaceX's Dragon capsule docking instead of "station keeping" this fall with ISS!

    http://www.universetoday.com/87772/s...n-next-flight/

    CJSF
    "Soon the man who sweeps the room brings the secret telegram, 'COMMENCE OFFICIAL INTERPLANETARY EXPLORATION.' "
    -They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon"

  25. #25
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    Exciting news. It's about time we expedite this.

    I see from the graphic that Dragon will dock with the nadir port of Harmony. So it can dock directly to American ports? That's funny because the Space Shuttle couldn't.

  26. #26
    Dragon doesn't dock, it's berthed to the station. Like HTV and unlike ATV and Progress.

  27. #27
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    Grabbled by CanadaPoker?

    Will that be the case for manned missions as well?

  28. #28
    Yes to #1 and no to #2. The CBM will have to be replaced with a docking mechanism for manned versions because CBM cannot be un"docked" autonomously in case of an emergency.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    Dragon doesn't dock, it's berthed to the station. Like HTV and unlike ATV and Progress.
    I'm sorry, can you explain this in more detail? I don't really get the difference.

    CJSF
    "Soon the man who sweeps the room brings the secret telegram, 'COMMENCE OFFICIAL INTERPLANETARY EXPLORATION.' "
    -They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon"

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I'm sorry, can you explain this in more detail? I don't really get the difference.

    CJSF
    I presume that's being berthed means the spacecraft moves within grappling range of the Canadarm 2, it is grappled and attached to the port not under its own power, much like the way an MPLM is done.

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