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Third Falcon 1 Launch May Be This Afternoon

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the this-would-be-easier-if-we-had-a-stargate dept.

Space 76

ElonVonBraun writes "The web is abuzz with rumors that SpaceX will attempt its third rocket launch today. In the past two days, they have also done successful tests of their bigger, stronger rockets. When the launch does happen, sometime during this five-day window, there will be a webcast. Betting odds are that they will do it around 4PM PST."

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I'm waiting 997 launches. (4, Funny)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447359)

For the launch of the Millennium Falcon.

Sorry, it's Saturday morning and I'm on /. there's no excuse.

Re:I'm waiting 997 launches. (1)

Denger256 (1161267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447587)

You should have said you are waiting for launch 1138.

36 hours (1)

Vulch (221502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447379)

Elsewhere SpaceX have said they'll give 36 hours notice of the launch time.

Re:36 hours (1)

Nit Picker (9292) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447927)

So where do we go to see this notice? The spacex web page appears to be quite short of news.

Broadcast Quality Video Please (4, Informative)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 6 years ago | (#24448481)

Elon Musk's brother Kimbal has a page with a little info here []

There is some discussion here [] also has a discussion area for Armadillo Aerospace where actual members of the team and even John Carmack sometimes respond to posts.

Where else do people go to discuss SpaceX?

Please join me in begging SpaceX to seed a torrent of their broadcast quality video of the launch. Mod me up to +5 so someone there will be more likely to see this plea.

Re:36 hours (1)

Vulch (221502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24448885)

Being a journalist on their press release distribution list will probably be the quickest way, otherwise just keep refreshing the SpaceX site.

Re:36 hours (1)

Vulch (221502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24450457)

Though that now seems to be quite a bit less...

Midnight. Oh well...

Coincidence? Or maybe something more sinister.. (4, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447383)

I guess they're trying to get the hell off planet before CERN's Hadron Collider dooms us all.

Re:Coincidence? Or maybe something more sinister.. (2)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447493)

Or before the BuyNLarge corporation overrun the planet with trash, leaving behind several waste allocation load lifter-earth-class robots to clean up our mess!

Rocket Science (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447495)

I'm quite ignorant in this regard, so bear with me when I ask:
How much of what these private companies are doing is new?

Are they innovating in the field of rocket science or are they just re-implementing the best of 1950s & '60s technology? Because AFAIK, the biggest difference between now and then is our advances in material sciences.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447633)

They are doing it much cheaper than the government agencies.

Re:Rocket Science (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24448561)

It's not a case of "private versus public". Orbital has their own custom rockets, too, but they're not particularly cheap. SpaceX has a custom version of a Russian Zenit that they launch, and again, while their prices are a bit low, it's nothing to write home about. And even most of our "government" rockets were built and are operated by private companies on a basis where lowering operations costs means more profit for them.

The big deal about the Falcon is that it's largely "from scratch". Rocketry has been heavily burdened with history, in that we have a case where nobody wants to invest the large amount of money it would take to start from scratch when you can adopt an existing system and adapt it. Another big issue is the design route they chose. Rocketry is mostly about labor costs, so they set about looking at how much they could possibly reduce labor at each step of the way -- as few people needed as possible to build it, to transport it, to launch it, and so on -- without compromising on the amount of payload you can get out of the launch. They came up with some rather interesting solutions. One of my favorite is their adoption of a hybrid approach between conventional rigid tanks and balloon tanks. Rigid tanks can support their own weight during launch, but are heavier, and thus reduce payload. Balloon tanks would collapse if not pressurized, and so are more expensive to handle, but they reduce a lot of weight and thus increase payload capacity. SpaceX took a hybrid approach: their tanks are rigid enough to support themselves on the ground, so the rocket is easy to transport, but not rigid enough to withstand the forces of launch without being pressurized. It's a "best of both worlds" approach.

SpaceX has really demonstrated some impressive things so far, including nearly making it to orbit on their second launch (all but for either a bump or a baffle, both of which have been remedied) on a rocket that's almost completely designed from scratch (which is a much bigger deal than it sounds, given all of the new systems). My favorite, which I'm sure impressed potential clients, was the ability to hold down the rocket, abort just seconds before launch, reinspect and refuel the rocket, and then relaunch within hours of the abort. That's darned impressive.

I am not without concerns, of course. Mainly, on the Falcon 9. They've demonstrated quite a few successful test firings, including their recent tests of a full compliment of 9 engines. But they've not yet seen an engine failure, and it looks like they don't plan to simulate one. On the Soviet N1 moon rocket, they had the problem where one engine failure would lead to damaging the surrounding engines, ultimately dooming the rocket. The Falcon is designed to reduce this risk, but I'll feel a lot more comfortable about it once I actually see it happen in practice. Apart from that, I like the design. The ability to hit your launch target after losing one engine, if achievable, will be quite impressive and should significantly boost reliability. And their performance is nice, too. And if their stages prove recoverable, like they hope, that should help with improving prices all the more.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24448655)

Grr, that'll teach me not to preview. *SeaLaunch* deals with the Zenits. :P

Re:Rocket Science (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24449703)

on the contrary, it will teach you to preview ;)

Re:Rocket Science (4, Insightful)

lordmundi (637779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447641)

in the case of spacex, much of it is quite innovative... the entire approach is innovative (think new young guys with new ideas vs experienced retired nasa engineers helping companies design rockets)

physically, they've built a new rocket engine from the ground up, which hasn't been done in a long time. They've also going with an approach in their falcon 9 which alows them to lose engines and still accomplish the mission, enhancing reliability.

of course, the cost per pound launched into space is also dramatically lower.

it is exciting in my mind because of their new ideas and approach.

Re:Rocket Science (4, Informative)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447845)

They've also going with an approach in their falcon 9 which alows them to lose engines and still accomplish the mission, enhancing reliability.

Just a note on this, engine-out capability is nothing new. Except for a few seconds at certain critical stages of flight, the Saturn V first stage could lose an engine with no consequences to the mission. And in fact it did so on two Apollo flights (6 and 13), with the former resulting in a different orbit due to losing two engines, and the latter causing no problems. The Shuttle is also capable of reaching orbit after an engine failure, although it's much less likely to be able to make the originally planned orbit. This happened once (STS-51-F) resulting in an "abort to orbit", and did not impact the mission work.

Of course, this capability is still tough to achieve and it can definitely be a good thing to have.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

lordmundi (637779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24448179)

yes... i wasn't suggesting it was new. I was suggesting that it was innovative for a commercial launch vehicle and that it was being allowed due to new, cheaper engines being designed and built from the ground up.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453669)

They've also going with an approach in their falcon 9 which alows them to lose engines and still accomplish the mission, enhancing reliability.

That's more marketing hype than anything else - a properly designed modern rocket engine should only shut down once every hundred thousand or so flights. I.E. this is an incident that is virtually unheard of. If they actually require this 'feature', that indicates the Merlin 1C is not up to modern standards.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

lordmundi (637779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24455429)

that's a good point... but perhaps the standards (and cost) of the engine are lower because of this "feature". I mean.. they have 9 engines on the bottom of that thing... and 27 of them on the bottom of the falcon 9 heavy. I'm not an expert, but perhaps the redundancy allows them not to spend so much building overly redundancy systems in the engine design itself???

That was my thinking anyways.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24456415)

Rocket engines don't have redundant systems (within a single engine) to start with except the controller which isn't very heavy or expensive. (Which with modern electronics isn't prone to failure anyhow.)

Re:Rocket Science (3, Interesting)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447661)

That's kind of like asking whether the Burj Dubai is doing anything new over the ancient Egyptians, or whether it's just advances in materials science.

Rockets live and die on materials. Going to low-Earth orbit with a single stage requires that over 90% of your vehicle's mass be fuel. (Multiple stages helps this out, which is why it's done.) Getting the remaining 10% to be anything other than engine and fuel tank is really tough, and requires advanced designs and, you guessed it, highly advanced materials. Advances in electronics help as well, both due to taking up less mass for controllers on the vehicle, and for being able to run better simulations and use better design tools.

In terms of stuff going out the back making the rocket go forward, there's nothing new here. But in terms of getting to space faster and cheaper, there's plenty new.

Think of it like a 787 compared to a 707. All the fundamental principles are there, but all of the incremental improvements used on the 787 come together to give you a significantly better rocket.

(And of course the Falcon is hardly unique in this respect; any modern rocket will benefit similarly. What is interesting about the Falcon is that it exists outside of what I'll call the military-industrial complex, for lack of a better term.)

Re:Rocket Science (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447963)

(And of course the Falcon is hardly unique in this respect; any modern rocket will benefit similarly. What is interesting about the Falcon is that it exists outside of what I'll call the military-industrial complex, for lack of a better term.)

Hardly. A good chunk of their budget has come from USAF/NASA/DARPA contracts.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

ernstjason (1238076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447757)

These days its more public, they don't have to hide everything from the reds :P

Re:Rocket Science (2, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447763)

I would say that their main innovations are business and engineering practices, rather than core technologies. Basically doing the old things with new computers and a focus on simplicity and efficiency (monetary, not fuel).

Re:Rocket Science (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 6 years ago | (#24447825)

"Are they innovating in the field of rocket science or are they just re-implementing the best of 1950s & '60s technology?"

who the hell cares if they're reimplementing 1940s V2 technology, they're BUILDING stuff and they're GETTING INTO SPACE cheaply using their own money.

Let NASA do all the innovating with its huge government budget and army of employees and continue to innovate those $1 billion-each shuttle launches.

Re:Rocket Science (1)

rapierian (608068) | more than 6 years ago | (#24449233)

Apart from the advances that most of the other posters are mentioning, I would mention that Spacex has really focused not just on the rockets, but on the production line, which I consider their biggest innovations. Once they've got the kinks worked out, Elon Musk (the company president) has revealed that they've got a production line that will be able to turn out these rockets at an amazing pace of multiple rockets per month. This will really lower the costs to space, and is my favorite thing about Spacex.

The Tucker Max Movie: Idiot's Delight (spoilers be (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24447501)

I am planning to answer some questions people have been asking about my job in the next week or two, but today I'm forced to lower the bar of quality for this blog due to the fact that I feel like I have mono, so I have selected an equally low subject matter about which to write briefly and poorly: Tucker Max
If you don't know who Tucker Max is, then congratulations on having finally managed to shake the most lunkheaded and dimwitted of your old ZBT fraternity brothers, who, if you were still talking to them, would be emailing you about how hilarious his blog and books are.
Why? Because he's a dude who meets and sleeps with some fairly attractive women and then tells stories about it that are often unflattering to one or both parties. Since I do coverage, I am professionally equipped to summarize the majority of these stories thusly: Tucker Max is an asshole but the kind of asshole that all of his asshole friends love because his antics distract them from the thinning hair and gentle mediocrity that characterize their post-college years. Most Tucker Max stories involve him doing or saying crazy/offensive things, getting into trouble for them, and then going home with one of those girls who, when a guy says something sort of awful to her, hits him on the shoulder and says "you asshole" but also smiles and sticks to him like glue for the rest of the night. My dad was nice to me, so I don't have this reaction, but I guess it takes all kinds. Invariably in Tucker's stories, someone gets pissed off and says his jokes aren't funny, and if that someone is a woman, she's dismissed as ugly and/or fat and therefore too bitter and angry to get the joke, while if that someone is a man, he's dismissed as being a meathead and therefore not cool or smart enough to get the joke. If you are confused by this last, let me clear it up for you: Tucker Max is unaware that he is the definition of a hazey, rapey, fratty meathead. He thinks he's a witty humorist, which almost makes me believe that he's fake and that Miguel de Cervantes is alive and writing.
Why this diatribe? Because a friend at an agency slipped me a copy of the script for the currently-in-production Tucker Max movie, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, written by Tucker Max and some dude named Nils Parker. I am very excited to talk about this script, especially since I didn't read it for my job so I feel I can get into a bit more detail than usual. My primary goal won't be to expose how sexist or otherwise offensive the script is because that's obvious and easy and not the most interesting thing to talk about here. Here's what is:
Holy crap, It's terrible. I'm talking Godawful. Even with the offensive factor set aside, it's in my top 10 worst comedy scripts ever read (out of probably over a thousand). This thing is poorly structured, obvious and predictable at every turn, with flat, one-dimensional characters who ALL sound exactly the same and an ending that falls flatter than humorless girl in a Tucker Max story. And even if I liked the central joke of the script -that Tucker is an offensive asshole, but if you don't love him for it you are probably ugly and a woman-- it would be still be a clunker because the way that Max and Parker make that joke (over and over and over again) is stupid and uncreative. I love broad, juvenile comedies done well. I also love real, juvenile people who make juvenile jokes and know many comedy writers do this for a living in a way that is funny and smart. But funny and smart are operative words here. And the Tucker Max jokes aren't. Often, they aren't even jokes, just clichés recited at the expense of some bystander in a way that just makes you feel embarrassed for everyone involved..
But this is all too vague. Let me give you an idea of what we're dealing with. Opening scene: police are called for a domestic disturbance only to find that the ruckus is coming from a woman whom Tucker Max is pleasuring so well that she's been screaming. Ok, fine, right off the bat the writer is proclaiming himself to be the best ever at sex. This writing technique, which I will call the "it's more important to me that you think I'm cool than that you think my script is good" maneuver, is always laughable and assumed (at least by this reader) to be untrue/compensation for some physical or mental deficit. But that's not why I call your attention to the scene. I call your attention to it because the address that Tucker lives at in his script about himself is 742 Evergreen Terrace. OMG, Tucker Max and Nils Parker, you guys watch The Simpsons??? I watch The Simpsons!!! This script must be funny because I'm already laughing my ass off at the fact that you were able to make meaningless reference to a fictional address!
One other highlight before I go down for my mono nap: A major comic set piece in the script is when Tucker makes his big sexual conquest over a midget. And that's the joke. Not that that she has a big, tall or tiny, little boyfriend who comes after Tucker, or that she looks at his junk and says "I've had bigger" (I am not saying that's very funny...but it is at least a joke) or, for that matter, anything anyone says throughout is humorous. Just that she's a midget. Because midgets are inherently funny, not to mention cutting edge for comedy. Especially when the writers emphasize how grotesque it is simply to be a little person and to have short, "sausage fingers" that barely wrap around a guy's...well you get the picture. Isn't that hilarious? She's small and therefore a freak. Comedy paydirt. I only wish I could get more! Wait, I've got it: Someone should get a bunch of midgets and like travel around the country with them so people can laugh at their comedy (i.e. that they exist) ...maybe get some other inherently funny people like ladies with facial hair to join in, and draw attention to the comedy show with like a big, bright tent or something. I am on fire with ideas today. My point isn't that the above is offensive, but that it's not even slightly funny. Ever. Ditto the rest of the script.
But, you know, even though I felt soiled by this script, and even more soiled for spreading the mess around to some of my legitimately funny friends who in turn felt equally soiled, I also had kind of a spring in my step afterwards. Because, while the butt of Tucker Max's jokes is always people who don't get his humor because they're defective in his eyes, in his own script he unknowingly turns himself into that same butt. Within the larger story of movie writing, he's just like one of the fat, humorless, bitter women that he's written as foils for himself in his screenplay, because no matter how much you or I tried to explain the joke to him (that he's such a bad, unfunny screenwriter that he's unintentionally hilarious) he wouldn't get it, just as his foils don't get his jokes. Only while they're fictions he's created to make himself seem funnier than he is, Tucker Max is a real person. And there's nothing funnier that a real, live, foil who walks around oblivious to what he is. Even if that foil character is making money off of books and movie deals, they're still fun to laugh at. And that makes me so happy that I almost hope his movie does well so that he'll never gain the kind of self-awareness that humanized David Brent.
I hope that's script reader-related enough for you. It's definitely about industry, since I definitely have to read stuff like this all the time. It's also the reason why people come to L.A. to write...seeing movies like this one and saying "I could do better than that." Screenwriter bait. That's what Tucker Max and his script are. Maybe he'll give an actual writer the confidence to take the first step, which is one silver lining. Another is that now I get to delete this screenplay from my computer's hard drive. I hope they serve beer in my recycle bin.

Onboard Trailblazer satellite runs linux-rt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24447899)

The trailblazer [] satellite onboard is built around a power PC GNU/Linux based platform. It's all COTS (Commercial off the shelf) stuff, too. The computer components of the satellite are not designed or shielded for space specifically (although crucial things like flash memory are in a RAID configuration).

get your timezones right (1)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24448499)

Oh, for crying out loud, you spend all your time with computers, get the damn timezone indicator right already. "PST" stands for "Pacific Standard Time". It's the middle of the summer, meaning Daylight Saving Time -- PDT.

Just avoid the whole problem and say "PT" or "Pacific".

Re:get your timezones right (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24449767)

Why not GMT-8 or something like it?

Re:get your timezones right (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24450247)

Or how about just, you know, GMT?

Re:get your timezones right (1)

BZWingZero (1119881) | more than 6 years ago | (#24450721)

Umm, SpaceX's website has the launch time listed in PDT and EDT and UTC. Also, the launch is officially scheduled for 7:00p EDT.

Re:get your timezones right (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24450797)

Umm, we're talking about the Slashdot summary, not about SpaceX's web site.

Press Release confirming 4PDT/7EDT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24449679)

ObSmashBros (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451435)


Webcast now running (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451561)

The webcast is now live.

Re:Webcast now running (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451615)

Is it just me, or are others not getting sound on it?

Re:Webcast now running (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451751)

I'm getting sound cutting in and out, and their webcast people have messed up a couple of pre-recorded clips. Here's hoping that they are much better at private rockets than public relations.

Re:Webcast now running (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451795)

The pre-recorded clips are quite a comedy of errors. The CEO's walkthrough of their facility just crashed out of quicktime and back to the Mac desktop, and their 'talking heads' haven't caught it.

Re:Webcast now running (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451875)

Got it -- it was just quiet. Now the countdown is truncated, though :P

Re:Webcast now running (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24452053)

they just announced they're confident they can launch today, and the webcast will probably resume in 30 min (8:30 PDT)

Webcast is up. (1)

KliX (164895) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451701)

Launch in approx 50 minutes. (01:55 BST)

just a few minutes away (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24451979)

They are about to launch. Just a few minutes away. All systems sound like they are go.

Clock restarted (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24452547)

Clock reset and counting again.

Launch is go for 8:00pm Pacific Time (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24452659)

I wasn't getting the webcast in FireFox but got it when switched to an IE tab.

Aborted at last minute (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24452755)

aborted at launch time

Re:Aborted at last minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24452767)

Still a chance for a launch tonight though.

Looks like a minor glitch (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24452813)

One of the hundred-some launch parameters was off by 1% :P They think they'll *probably* be able to restart the clock soon at a little over 10 minutes.

straight from the mouth of Launch Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24452833)

Their launch gantry is named "Strongbad." NASA would never tolerate such whimsy around the launch complex.

Re:straight from the mouth of Launch Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24452957)


not strongbad

Re:straight from the mouth of Launch Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24452991)

from the webcast blog:

Posted August 2, 2008 - 20:27 PDT

The strongback is down, we are heading for liftoff in just under 7 minutes.

Clock restarted, launched successfully (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453009)

After a restart from 500ms, they launched successfully. I'm very impressed by the short cycle time.

Re:Clock restarted, launched successfully (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453023)

Anomaly reported, cameras turned off. Interesting.

Re:Clock restarted, launched successfully (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453041)

Houston, we have a problem.... :(

Re:Clock restarted, launched successfully (3, Funny)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453099)

No. "Hawthorne, we have an Anomaly"

T + 2 mins and (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453031)


That was anti-climatic... (1)

memprime (879730) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453035)

...glad I caught that.

Major failure!! (4, Informative)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453039)

About 2 minutes after launch signal was lost from the vehicle.

Announcers just said there had been "an anomaly on the craft" and to check their website for details.


Re:Major failure!! (1)

rpj1288 (698823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453623)

From their website, it appears there was a problem during staging, and the lower stage was not jettisoned.

Re:Major failure!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24454313)

Yeah. The problem as I understand it is that the second stage failed to seperate from the first stage. The first stage engine (the new engine design with the kerosine cooling the nozzle and delivering better performance as a result) worked perfectly. First stage seperation failed though. Its still one really big rocket coming down. This is a pity. My first bet is that they have an ice issue. I'm not talking about an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), but rather that frozen water stuff. They are launching from a small (8 acre) tropical island, part of the Marshall Islands, and pumped really cold fuel into the rocket, then pumped it all out, then pumped it all in again, then had a countdown launch, which then stopped at about 1.7 seconds, then 30 minutes more before recycling the count back to 10 minutes. It was supposed to launch at 5:00 pm my time, and didn't launch till 930 pm (my time). So the rocket had 4.5 hours for large amounts of ice to build up. I think even the problem with the final abort

Re:Major failure!! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24456471)

Any ice built up on the skin would have either been broken up by vibration or melted by air friction during first stage flight. (And lacks the structural strength to prevent separation in the first place.) If there was ice built up in the interstage (where the stage separation systems are) thats actually a pretty serious design flaw.

The video cut out after two minutes (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453057)

The announcer said there was an anomaly. I think that's market speak for 'it blew up'.

Re:The video cut out after two minutes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24453065)

Keeping my fingers crossed, but I'm not too hopeful...

Re:The video cut out after two minutes (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453087)

Anyone else notice the roll oscillations before the video went out? I couldn't tell if it was divergent or not...

Re:The video cut out after two minutes (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453163)

I didn't. But perhaps I wasn't paying enough attention.

Re:The video cut out after two minutes (2, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453795)

Apparently the two stages of the rocket failed to separate after the 1st stages "Main-engine cut off", and the rocket ended up plunging into the Pacific Ocean.

As for what caused the rocket to stay together at a point it should have come apart (intentionally), that will be the major focus of the engineering investigation. The new Merlin-C engine (1st stage engine) did a fantastic job.

If only SpaceX can get the 2nd stage to work, they might actually have a real working spacecraft.

web feed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24453061)

The web feed just cut out about 1min into the flight. apparently there is a "anomaly" with the launch vehicle

BOOM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24453077)

Anomaly in the vehicle.

maybe rushing to launch after the first problem wasn't such a good idea.

watching the launch from the on board camera appeared to show some strangeness (to my untrained in rocket science eyes) in the way the fuel was burning.

Re:BOOM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24453101)

Yes I noticed the fuel stopped burning about 30 secs before the "anamaly" - it looked like it was just vaporizing...

oops a daisy...

Re:BOOM! (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453135)

No, that's what it normally looks like [] . The higher up you get, the wider the exhaust plume and the less "firey" it looks.

UH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24453111)

Thats why NASA Scrubs missions for weeks at a time.... not minutes.... Not so impressive a turnaround if it blows up...

Re:UH! (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453959)

This was a stage separation problem [] , one of the most common types of launch failures in orbital rocketry. The length of time of the scrubbed launch had nothing to do with it, just like the previous launch's "bump" and "slosh" had nothing to do with its prior abort, either. Quit attributing failures to false causes.

And by the way, don't forget that this is, for the most part, a "from scratch" launch system. Picture the atrocious failure rates early in the US space program. Developing a new launch system is very hard work.

So, as the record stands, SpaceX had one corrosion issue, and two stage separation issues. Good to know that this wasn't another corrosion issue; it was another case of a problem on stage separation, which they hadn't yet mastered. I wonder if their attempt to fix the "bump" from last separation is what led the stages to stick together.

On the upside:
  * SpaceX modified their Merlin engine to be regeneratively cooled and get more power since their last launch, introducing a new element of risk. This regeneratively cooled engine is what is to power the Falcon 9, so they wanted to get it test flown. The new engine performed flawlessly.
  * SpaceX has two more finished rockets lined up for launch. We should know their launch dates soon.
  * The Falcon 9 rocket has finished its static test firing series without a single failure. Its schedule shouldn't be delayed by this.

Kaboom (1)

Turiacus (1316049) | more than 6 years ago | (#24453119)

Apparently, the rocket exploded 2 minutes into the flight. Better luck next time. However I was impressed by the abort capability. That's pretty cool.

Third time was supposed to be perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24453433)

They were supposed to be ready for full roll out of this platform and no more issues were supposed to exist. That is clearly not the case. SpaceX has very bright people working for them, I've met them in person. I wonder if funding is going to be pulled and the company gutted if another failure occurs, granted this is only the third launch and it at least got off the ground, unlike all of the early launches NASA did with rockets going up only two feet and then exploding after falling down.

Re:Third time was supposed to be perfect (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24454139)

I can't really decide if you're just trolling, but I'll bite:

designing rockets from scratch *is* rocket science, it's pretty hard and there are a lot of things you'll only find during real tests with real hardware. Failures are expected, even if everybody hopes they won't. SpaceX is pretty close, but not quite there yet, and all those 'bright people' that you mention will be working hard to figure out what went wrong instead of bitching about it. Think of it as another lesson learned and instead of being upset at not working flawlessly be impressed by all the stuff that did work, such as the brand new engine (all nine of them), that they pretty much got right the first time.

By the looks of it SpaceX will be a serious contender in the short run, and I highly doubt that even if another failure occured that 'funding would be pulled if another failure would occur'. The parties that invest in this sort of thing are not usually known for getting cold feet easily.

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