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Blue Origin Thread (merged)

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9 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

Except Orion would be useless for that. It has a maximum flight duration of 30 days.

Well isn't it supposed to work in tandem with some kind of spacecraft? The point that makes the Orion interesting is that it can reenter from beyond low earth orbit  so that a spaceship wouldn't need to decelerate into earth orbit for the crew to be picked up. Reentering straight from an interplanetary trajectory reduces mission complexity a lot.

Edited by Canopus

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Launch probability 50% due to unfavourable meteorological conditions for the 18th. Source: http://spaceflightnow.com/2017/02/15/weather-could-stand-in-way-of-falcon-9-launch-saturday/

 

However an update by a source claims it is 60%, however this is an unconfirmed figure.

Edited by Oliverm001x

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2 minutes ago, TheEpicSquared said:

Indeed! Looking slightly more favourable, however, if the launch is postponed, it will not bode well with the already infested backlog of delayed contract launches. Iridium Next was delayed recently. Let us hope for clear skies on the day, and manageable jet streams. :) 

Edited by Oliverm001x

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4 hours ago, tater said:

The eventually removed the ejection seats. They were always entirely wishful thinking, however. There were 2 shuttle failures. The second would not have been survivable regardless, though I suppose ejection seats (if automated) might have saved crew in Challenger (the crew compartment clearly survived, but it is unclear if anyone, even with an ejection system could have initiated it due to the forces involved---automation in this regard is worrisome, since any failure in that system (wrongly initiating it) could be catastrophic).

The two ejection seats were always only for the two-man test flights. The crew members behind the pilots and on the lower deck would have had no way of getting out.

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2 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

The two ejection seats were always only for the two-man test flights. The crew members behind the pilots and on the lower deck would have had no way of getting out.

So if there was an emergency would they use the ejection seats? If they did eject the others would be doomed.

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21 minutes ago, munlander1 said:

So if there was an emergency would they use the ejection seats? If they did eject the others would be doomed.

There were no other crew on the flights with the seats fitted.

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1 hour ago, Nibb31 said:

The two ejection seats were always only for the two-man test flights. The crew members behind the pilots and on the lower deck would have had no way of getting out.

Yeah, obviously. I meant that a failure like Challenger might have been survivable for 2 pilots with ejection seats that were fully automated (unlike what they actually had) as an outside possibility as a boundary case. Really, the ejection seats were as I said, wishful thinking. My point is that an all-up SLS test on the first flight with crew would be less dangerous than STS-1 was.

34 minutes ago, munlander1 said:

So if there was an emergency would they use the ejection seats? If they did eject the others would be doomed.

My point was not that Challenger would have been survivable, but that that failure mode might have been survivable for one of the first Shuttle flights that had just the 2 crew with ejection seats. But probably not even then.

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Actually I think there were two flights of Columbia with ejector seats and a crew of more than two. For ethical reasons the mission commander requested they be disabled so that the two on the flight deck would share the fate of the rest of the crew.

 

They would have been of questionable use anyway. Pre SRB burnout there would be a high risk of passing through the fire trail. Post burnout you're going four times the speed of sound at sea level and ejection starts getting dicey.

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The SLS/Orion LES, OTOH, it a much better system, and likely saves the entire crew though a wide range of failure modes.

My first thought is that NASA is far too risk-averse to do EM-1 as a crewed mission, but if you actually think it through, I actually think that it's less risky than any particular Shuttle flight ever was, and certainly less risky than STS-1.

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For anyone concerned or interested in the cracked turbine blades issue on the Merlin-1D engines:

The Government Accountability Office publicly released a report on schedule concerns of the Commercial Crew program. It asserts that both contractors (SpaceX and Boeing) continue to face comparable delays due to technical issues. But interestingly enough, the turbine cracking issue is not one of the problems holding up human-rating of the Falcon 9. The report does mention that the issue previously existed, but then continues to state that SpaceX has already made changes to the manufacturing process that eliminated the cracking.

So I guess they got a handle on that. Good! Now please finally fix the helium pressurization system issues that have plagued Falcon 9 since its inception and caused both upper stage explosions, okay? :P

Edited by Streetwind

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On 16/02/2017 at 5:33 AM, CatastrophicFailure said:

This Saturday, 7am pacific/10 am eastern/can't add right UTC.

Weather looking iffy, but this article says they're finally going for an RTL landing again.:cool:

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/02/15/weather-could-stand-in-way-of-falcon-9-launch-saturday/

RTL = Return To Land?

Would make sense since it's an LEO mission. I almost typed 'LKO' instead 'LEO' again. Also a daylight launch and landing. Looking forward to that.

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13 hours ago, tater said:

The SLS/Orion LES, OTOH, it a much better system, and likely saves the entire crew though a wide range of failure modes.

My first thought is that NASA is far too risk-averse to do EM-1 as a crewed mission, but if you actually think it through, I actually think that it's less risky than any particular Shuttle flight ever was, and certainly less risky than STS-1.

The main problem is: What happens afterwards if the first manned SLS flight fails and kills its crew?

Will NASA be allowed to continue on (after working out the problems), just like the Russians did after the Soyuz-1 failure? Or will NASAs entire program with humane spaceflight beyond LEO be at risk of being cancelled?

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Should there be a loss of crew with SLS/Orion, it would likely be the end of NASA's manned spaceflight programs. There is no where near the incentive to keep them going that Apollo and Space Shuttle had.

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49 minutes ago, Tullius said:

The main problem is: What happens afterwards if the first manned SLS flight fails and kills its crew?

Will NASA be allowed to continue on (after working out the problems), just like the Russians did after the Soyuz-1 failure? Or will NASAs entire program with humane spaceflight beyond LEO be at risk of being cancelled?

Legit issue, but if the first mission were fewer people to mitigate the risk I don't see the problem. 

 

31 minutes ago, Frybert said:

Should there be a loss of crew with SLS/Orion, it would likely be the end of NASA's manned spaceflight programs. There is no where near the incentive to keep them going that Apollo and Space Shuttle had.

I doubt it. Challenger didn't stop manned spaceflight, or even Shuttle, and the same is true of Columbia. Spaceflight is risky, and intolerance of any loss means that they might as well not bother.

The likely failures seem to be LES survivable launch events, crew lives, the only impact is money, or a reentry issue, which becomes a review like Columbia, and a speech about how dangerous space is, but they knew what they were getting into.

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1 hour ago, Veeltch said:

RTL = Return To Land?

I believe it's meant to be "return to launch site" (RTLS). But apart from that both you and CatastrophicFailure have the right idea. The booster will touch down on land, just like it did for CRS flight 9.

Bonus: this is a broad daylight launch. If weather doesn't get in the way, we could get really kick-ass footage out of it :) They've shown the full sequence from boostback burn to drone ship touchdown twice now, would love to see the same for a land touchdown. Both previous RTLS landings were in the middle of the night.

Edited by Streetwind

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On 2/15/2017 at 6:40 PM, Nibb31 said:

Orion won't "carry" anything. It barely has enough dV to return from lunar orbit.

Claiming that Orion is a key part of a Mission to Mars is like saying that the dinghy carried on the Santa Maria was a key part of Columbus' expedition. If they are serious about going to Mars, they need to start designing the Santa Maria, not the dinghy.

just wait you'll see and it will be on an sls

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35 minutes ago, tater said:

Legit issue, but if the first mission were fewer people to mitigate the risk I don't see the problem. 

For those discussions, it doesn't matter if only 1 astronaut died or 7.

35 minutes ago, tater said:

I doubt it. Challenger didn't stop manned spaceflight, or even Shuttle, and the same is true of Columbia. Spaceflight is risky, and intolerance of any loss means that they might as well not bother.

The likely failures seem to be LES survivable launch events, crew lives, the only impact is money, or a reentry issue, which becomes a review like Columbia, and a speech about how dangerous space is, but they knew what they were getting into.

At the time of the accidents, the Shuttle had already proved its capability and they were necessary for the construction of the ISS. So after some analysis of the causes, they continued on.

For SLS it would mean a loss on the first flight. There would be no evidence that it is mostly safe.

If they do an unmanned flight first and fail, there won't be a major backlash so that they could continue on and do a second unmanned test.

If they do an unmanned flight first and the subsequent manned flight fails, they can always tell the public and congress that some problem with fatal consequences occured, but that there is no general problem with the spacecraft and rocket, since the unmanned test worked.

Also remember that before EM-1 (especially if it is pushed back to do it manned), it is expected that both Dragon and CST-100 had their first manned flight tests, i.e. in the eyes of the public the US already has the capability of manned space flight at much lower cost. Sure, they are much less capable, but will that message get through to the public?

If they really want to make Trump happy by giving him a manned launch during his first term, they should try to launch EM-2 in early 2020 (i.e. ideally situated before the elections). Considering that EM-1 should happen in 2018, EM-2 is planned for somewhere between 2021 and 2025 and that the reason for this long gap is probably lack of sufficient funding, that could be possible if they get Trump to provide them with extra funding.

Edited by Tullius

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Quite right. This will be the first ever daytime RTLS landing, so with no squirrelly over-the-horizon communication to get garbled in the final moments, the live footage should be pretty spectacular. :cool:

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Yeah, if they could manage such a launch in that timeframe. Honestly, if they are not capable of a 2 per year full up Orion launch, they should simply shut down SLS anyway, IMO. They shouldn't need decades to get to that point, either. It was 6 years and 2 months from "...not because it is easy, but because it is hard..." to Apollo 8 around the Moon, starting from virtually nothing at all (it was a couple months after Glenn's flight). They have the tools, just build the thing. They can talk about longer term funding (as was discussed in the House meeting with Schmitt, Stafford, et al, yesterday), but what they need is shorter term, aggressive milestones. The trouble, like most NASA issues, is that NASA is not about spaceflight, it's about jobs in spaceflight. As a result, the incentives are all for stretching everything out for the longest possible timeframe. The same people are employed if it takes them 10 years to build one rocket, or 10 weeks.

Edited by tater

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18 minutes ago, Mitchz95 said:

Hmm...

Uh-oh. They really are unlucky with these second stages. Hopefully they aren't trying to cut costs?

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23 minutes ago, Mitchz95 said:

Hmm...

If it's serious, I would not be surprised if it got delayed. In fact, I'd be fine with that, since I'd rather have a late launch than a failed launch.

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