Rounding SpaceX has set tomorrow as the release date of the second Falcon Heavy, which was brought to platform 39A last week and its first stage engines briefly ignited as part of a routine static test.
The impeller, which remained without its payload, had its engines running at the local time of noon. Based on the results of the test, and after concerns about the weather, SpaceX said it would be good to go on Wednesday, April 10.
SpaceX boss Elon Musk was Care to handle expectations, noting that this Falcon Heavy would be using three new first stage reinforcements from Block 5 this time. The test flight had used two full thrust "proven in flight" thrusters, which landed successfully, and a central core, which did not.
The work required to tie three Falcon 9 propellers together was more challenging than the company expected, so a bit of prudence is warranted.
Static fire data looks good so far. This is the first release of Falcon Heavy Block 5, so we are being very cautious. The launch date could move. https://t.co/qTqXtQQe2k
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2019
However, caution did not stop Musk from telling his army of followers that the maximum boost increased almost 10 percent on last year's demonstration flight. SpaceX itself intervened, reminding rockets that the powerful Musk missile would generate more than five million pounds of thrust at takeoff.
The 27 Merlin engines of Falcon Heavy generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at takeoff, which makes it the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. pic.twitter.com/0LGaLgdi13
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 7, 2019
April 4 was a very busy day for Soyuz fans, with two of the venerable launchers sent into space, one from French Guiana and the other from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
# ProgressMS11: TAKE OFF! ?
The Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle along with the Progress MS-11 spacecraft took off from the #Baikonur Cosmodrome at 11:01:35 UTC. The purpose of the flight is to deliver propellant, food and other cargo to the ISS.
Transmission → https://t.co/ip4MnegEqX pic.twitter.com/QJAeGLc0Tr
– РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) April 4, 2019
The first launch, the Soyuz-2.1a variant, was to take the Progress freighter MS-11 (also known as Progress 72) in orbit on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The blue-touch paper was lit at 11:01 UTC, sending the spacecraft and its 3.7-ton (3.4-ton) cargo of food, water and air for the six crew aboard the orbiting lab.
The launch was carried out with little drama and the unmanned freighter's docking to the ISS Pirs docking compartment at the Russian end of the station occurred only three hours and 21 minutes later.
It's going to be a busy month aboard the ISS. Both the SpaceX Dragon and the Cygnus of Northrop Grumman must visit him, loaded with more supplies. Boeing & # 39; s Starliner, which was supposed to arrive also in April or May. Yes, that will not happen in the short term.
The launch of the tag team continued with a launch at 17:03 UTC of a Soyuz ST-B in French Guiana, slightly delayed. The Arianespace mission, the company's fifth O3b mission, launched the four final satellites in orbit for the O3b constellation, bringing the total of the constellation of the Middle Earth Orbit (MEO) to 20. The communication satellites of the Ka band will stalk at an altitude of approximately 8,000 km, serving customers in almost 50 countries.
The launch marked the second of 2019 for the Soyuz of French Guiana, and there is one more planned for this year.
The consequences of Indian debris continue as the NASA administrator gathers troops for Lunar Trump 1
At 8,000 km, these O3b satellites should be safe from debris caused by India's anti-satellite demonstration, although NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine took a break during his meeting at the April Fools Town Hall & # 39; Day to punish the country for flying a pbading spacecraft.
Bridenstine told attendees that the agencies had identified a cloud of 400 pieces of debris and were tracking 60 that were 10 cm or more in size, of which 24 had a higher apogee than the ISS. He described doing that intentionally as a "terrible thing" and "not compatible with human space flights."
Those who expected a little more heat in the sentence after the mostly silent response of the governments were disappointed. While Bridenstine said the risk for the debris from the ISS had increased by 44 percent for 10 days (we asked NASA to clarify what the "44 percent" really meant and it will update when we find out), too He pointed out that it was low enough to dissipate in a short time. Unlike China's much higher altitude test, much of the debris that is still in orbit.
Iridium CEO Matt Desch sighed: "Well, that stinks" when he learned that his satellites could also be in the way of the generosity of India.
Well, that sucks. We have an established regime for the remaining cataloged remains, and we will follow it in the next weeks while those objects are still in orbit. I worry more about satellites that can not dodge, or uncatalogued objects … As I said, sorry.
– Matt Desch (@IridiumBoss) April 5, 2019
Reaching the Moon is, of course, where it is. After having lit a fire under the funds of the Space Launch System (SLS) team with the threat of commercial providers intervening in the fray, the NASA administrator took a step back, surprise, the SLS program estimated that Fact could get something out of the way. Land in 2020.
However, SpaceX fans were intrigued to learn that NASA has calculated that a Falcon Heavy (which, at the time of writing, only managed one flight) could send Orion to the Moon. Single.
Getting boots on the Moon by 2024 is still a challenge. Although great in dreams, Bridenstine remained sadly scant in details. While NASA's Lunar Gateway, a mini space station destined for deep space, is on the drawing board, no plans were made for what a lander would look like (we imagine that there is a frantic shaking of the concepts of Constellation at this time) and not Plans on how to halve the schedule.
And, of course, there is also the small question of a change in the administration of the United States. In case President Trump is re-elected in 2020, the landing could take place at the end of his second term. However, a change in leadership could result in the usual "badlash" of the policy change that has affected the agency since the end of Apollo.
Bridenstine noted that Moon landings in the Apollo still occur even with a change from the Democratic to the Republican governments, and that the name of Richard Nixon is on the Apollo 11 lander plate. We suggest a look at the history , starting with the excellent, although dense, After apollo to see how sharp Nixon was in the Moon program initiated by JFK.
And then there's the little issue of the NASA budget. Accelerating things will not be cheap.
Starhopper jumps twice when the second Falcon Heavy turns on its engines
After a long wet dress rehearsal (WDR) session at the SpaceX site in Boca Chica, Texas, the engineers finally turned on the only Raptor engine installed in the "Starhopper." The nose of the demonstrator was damaged when strong winds blew, and SpaceX decided not to bother to replace it.
After all, Starhopper is only meant for suborbital "jumps".
A submission to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late last year suggested that initial tests started 500 meters before rising to 5,000 meters for "higher altitude" tests that could occur approximately once a week.
Those high goals are still a bit far away.
The first test, on April 4, lit the raptor but Starhopper, still firmly tied to the ground, barely moved. A second test, on April 5, caused the truncated rocket to tighten against its bonds.
Starhopper has just taken off and hit the binding limits! pic.twitter.com/eByJsq2jiw
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 6, 2019
Fortunately, there was no unplanned rapid dismantling.
It's probably enough to send a capsule around the Moon, right?
Landing of the Israeli moon near
Already in orbit around the Moon is the Beresheet landing of Israel.
SpaceIL expects to land between 22:00 and 22:30, Israeli time, on April 11.
LEROS engines have propelled spacecraft to Mars, Mercury and Jupiter, but never to a landing. The motor installed in Beresheet has shortened its nozzle to avoid contact with the lunar surface and has increased its thrust. The Nammo team has also verified that the engine will be able to manage multiple "hot reboots" during the landing. ®
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