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Questions tagged [spacex]

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, is a private space exploration company. It was the world's first privately held company to successfully launch a cargo mission into space.

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Falcon 9 second stage impact on first stage trajectory

In this video, you can see the Falcon 9 first stage flying through the second stage's plume post-separation. I would assume that this would alter the first stage's trajectory -- potentially causing a ...
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Why not land booster stages in a cone or net?

Why must you land the boosters on a flat surface? Why not aim for a cone a deep net that can accommodate rough seas, winds, etc? A picture is below - obviously I am not an artist nor an engineer.
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SpaceX Landing Platform video: why is the rocket moving so fast?

This is the video of the Falcon 9 first stage attempting a landing on SpaceX's barge. Why is the rocket moving so fast at impact?
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How can Falcon 9 first stage land vertical in a strong wind?

As I see it, Falcon 9 has to land on the barge in a vertical orientation and with no horizontal drift. It has fins that are ineffective at low speed. It has a rocket motor that can probably vector ...
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4answers
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Why does the Falcon 9 have 9 engines?

What are the reasons for using 9 engines in the first stage of the Falcon 9? Why not 8 or 10? Looking at the Raptor engine, they seem to be looking at 9 engines again. Is there some specific advantage ...
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3answers
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What happens to the Falcon 9 second stage after payload separation?

In a Falcon 9 launch, the second stage looks like it achieves orbit along with the payload. But is that impression accurate? Does SpaceX need to do anything to deorbit the stage? I can see a few ...
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1answer
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Why does SpaceX appear to get less funding from NASA for the same thing as competitors?

Been looking at the amazing success of SpaceX and from what I found, the contracts they get awarded don't seem to make much sense. It looks like they are simply getting paid less each time NASA awards ...
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How will Dragon v2's solar panels be protected during launch on top of Falcon 9?

When Elon Musk unveiled Dragon v2 last year, we got our first truly good look at what SpaceX's crew vehicle is like. Apart from the ability to propulsively land, one of the big changes was the lack of ...
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1answer
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Why does the Falcon 9 consume hydraulic fluid?

According to many news articles, the crash of the Falcon 9 during landing on 1/10/2015 was due to running out of hydraulic fluid for the steerable hypersonic grid fins. This was seemingly confirmed ...
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203 views

Position of the SpaceX barge for the January 10th launch

What was the on station position (lat, long) of the barge for the January 10th launch?
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6answers
18k views

Why did SpaceX attempt to land the booster on a barge instead of somewhere on land?

I understand the benefits of reusability for the rocket booster. But I don't understand why they're landing it on a barge. I've read tons of articles about this but not one has even hinted at an ...
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2answers
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SpaceX CRS-5 Launch: What is the footage that appears to contain bubbles?

I'm currently watching the live stream of the CRS-5 launch. They've been cycling through several different camera angles including one which looks a lot like bubbles in water, or perhaps blobs of ...
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Would it not be easier for SpaceX to make their first stage only partly reusable?

Very excited about the upcoming test to land the first stage of the next Falcon 9 on an ocean platform. Elon Musk & Co. make it sound incredibly difficult though. I'm assuming that the first ...
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8answers
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Why would SpaceX not use parachutes for the final descent of the first stage?

According to what I've read, SpaceX tried to use parachutes to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9, but it did not survive reentry. Now they plan to use 2 separate rocket burns to land: Reentry ...
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2answers
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How will SpaceX achieve landing of the Falcon 9 first stage?

What mechanisms and technologies will be used to control the descent and movement of the falcon 9 rocket's booster stage on its way to the landing pad?
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1answer
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Mars Semi Direct

I looked at a presentation of Robert Zubrin. In this presentation, he first about his (old) Mars Direct plan, then he talks a bit about Mars Semi Direct with the Falcon Heavy Rocket. He want to use ...
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1answer
907 views

Why will SpaceX do Pad Abort test from a truss, not a real first and second stage?

SpaceX will be doing a Pad Abort test at LC-40 in Florida for the Dragon V2 vehicle to close out the CCiCAP criteria. They will not be using a real first or second stage, instead building some kind ...
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3answers
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How will the SpaceX landing barge (ASDS) get to the proper location?

The barge, the ASDS (Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship) that SpaceX plans to demonstrate landing with is based out of the east coast of the US. But the landing site will be well downrange off the coast....
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0answers
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What will the SpaceX BFR booster look like? [closed]

SpaceX's next big booster is notionally known as BFR - Big F-ing Rocket [or Big Falcon Rocket]. (Like the B-52 is the BUFF - Big Ugly Fat F-er, it is a term of enderarment). We know that it will use ...
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2answers
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At what altitude does transonic compressibility become a non-issue?

I know that on the forthcoming SpaceX attempt at sea landing the first stage, they have added hypersonic fins to the first stage. I was curious as to what altitude transonic compressibility is an ...
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2answers
523 views

What will be NASA Policy on backup ISS docking/berthing ports, once commercial crew is up and running?

The news that Boeing will bid the CST-100 as a Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) vehicle raises a question: will they be using a docking port, to a PMA or berthing to a CBM port? The problem is ...
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Will we see the barge landing live during the SpaceX CRS-5 webcast?

I wonder if SpaceX will cover the barge lading of the Falcon 9 first stage live during the upcoming launch for the fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station or not? NASA TV's CRS-5 ...
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6answers
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How will SpaceX tie down a landed stage on the ASDS barge after landing?

The ASDS barge is a large flat surface. A large tall skinny structure will land on it. This is not likely to be very stable on its own. The center of mass is pretty low, since the empty stage tanks ...
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3answers
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Are there any drawbacks or potential dangers on using touch-sensitive instrument panels on spacecraft?

Just as seen on Orion and Dragon designs (I haven't checked on other current spacecrafts), there are a lot of benefits from using touch-sensitive panels instead of traditional electrical switches. ...
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1answer
260 views

Has Orion's touch-screen instrument panel been influenced by Dragon's v2 panel? (or vice-versa)

I recently read about Orion's touch-screen instrument panels designs, and remember seeing this first on the Dragon v2 unveiling (with a 4 panel design instead of 3). Was this design influenced in any ...
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Is SpaceX already researching, planning or designing, structures for Mars colonies?

Pretty much what the question states, is SpaceX doing early work on that aspect of Mars' colonization or are they at the moment giving full focus to the launch system, craft and lander? (which would ...
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1answer
237 views

How do the real costs of recovering a capsule compare, NASA vs commericial?

We have the example of many Dragon capsules recovered by SpaceX, renting a ship (American Islander) for the duration of the mission each time. It is registered to American Marine Corp. Contrast that ...
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1answer
571 views

Where will SpaceX take CRS-5 after it lands?

If SpaceX's plan to land the CRS-5 first stage on their Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship goes perfectly, there will be a 50 (ish) meter rocket on a barge in the Atlantic. Leaving aside the interesting ...
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5answers
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What is the function of the hypersonic grid fins on SpaceX's booster?

In Musk is testing x-wing style fins, spaceport drone ship there is mention of two Musk tweets: Testing operation of hypersonic grid fins (x-wing config) going on next flight. and Grid fins ...
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2answers
3k views

How much fuel can SpaceX save by landing the Falcon 9 booster on a barge?

It sounds from the text of this tweet like Elon Musk plans to continue to do barge landings over the long term: "Base is 300 ft by 100 ft, with wings that extend width to 170 ft. Will allow refuel &...
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2answers
643 views

Through what mechanisms would SpaceX test and examine the returned CRS-5 first stage?

A significant minority of the users over at the /r/SpaceX Reddit community seem to be of the opinion that SpaceX will attempt to reuse the Falcon 9 CRS-5 first stage provided it lands on the downrange ...
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4answers
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How is unpressurized cargo useful at the ISS?

The Dragon is designed to be able to bring unpressurized cargo to the ISS. How can such cargo be brought on board the ISS? What uses can such unpressurized cargo have?
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Has SpaceX considered using its abort system for cargo flights too?

If SpaceX starts reusing boosters, it has to be assumed there is an increased risk of catastrophic failure until proved otherwise. If my payload was going to be on top of one of those boosters, some ...
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3answers
8k views

Why is there so little price difference between the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy?

A Falcon 9 costs 61.2M dollars. A Falcon Heavy (1 Falcon 9 + 2 boosters) costs 85M dollars. That means 1 booster of the Falcon Heavy costs only 11.9M dollars. So, why does a Falcon 9 (9 Merlin 1D + ...
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1answer
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Who has built the largest number of Transport/Erector/Launch (TEL)?

I was looking at some SpaceX pictures and realized that with the last ten years, and the coming two years, SpaceX will have built a TEL for: Falcon 1 - Kwajelin Atol Falcon 1 - SLC-4 (before they ...
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1answer
828 views

What are the challenges of turning a rocket stage around and firing its engines into a supersonic wind?

So I went to the link in a recent question and discovered SpaceX turns its first stage around while it is going, what, several km/s in the upper atmosphere, restarts 3 of the engines and fires ...
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2answers
2k views

What is Retropropulsion?

In a recent news NASA, SpaceX Share Data On Supersonic Retropropulsion My question is what is Retropropulsion?
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3answers
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Can Dragon, or Dragon V2 be used to boost the ISS orbit?

One of the roles that Progress (and ATV) fulfill at the ISS is station reboost. This works because they can dock at the back of the Zvezda module, and boost inline with the station. I cannot find a ...
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1answer
544 views

How does SpaceX manage parallel processing at the LC-40 Complex?

After the SpaceX CRS-4 launch of Dragon on F9, Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX head of launch operations is quoted as saying: Koenigsmann said that shorter gaps between launches should become more routine ...
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4answers
2k views

Other than then N-1 (30 engines) has there been a single stage of a rocket with more engines than a Falcon 9?

The Saturn V had 5 engines (F-1) on the first stage, five engines on the second stage (J-2). The N-1 had 30 engines on its first stage (NK-15). The Falcon 9 (1.0 and 1.1) have 9 Merlin 1 engines on ...
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1answer
790 views

What is the value of the cross-track angle between the two designated CRS-4 first stage recovery zones?

For the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on its Dragon/CRS-4 cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station, according to Spaceflight 101, two downrange safety zones have been identified: The SpX-...
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1answer
637 views

What are the benefits of saying a commercial space development program is funded privately?

I'm just curious why this is important to SpaceX. The reusable launch system that SpaceX is developing was supposedly not funded by any of NASA's contract. What benefits would this give to SpaceX? ...
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1answer
756 views

Does the ISS team plan cargo flights when at half crew on purpose?

A number of times now, the cargo vehicles (Dragon, Cygnus, or HTV) seem to have arrived while the station was between crew switchovers. With indirect crew handovers, three crew depart in a Soyuz, ...
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1answer
2k views

Does the Falcon 9 v1.1 form a shock diamond when in flight?

How does the Falcon 9 v1.1 form this exhaust pattern with its nine Merlin 1D engines? Is it a bigger, rougher shock diamond? I am trying to learn more about how one could form with a cluster of ...
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2k views

How far downrange would a reusable Falcon 9 first stage land (without fly-back)?

Let's imagine a rocket like the Falcon 9 recovers its first stage via a soft landing, but doesn't attempt a return to the launchpad. For the sake of argument, let's imagine that there are no ...
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What missions could be done with Orion on Falcon Heavy?

Orion is being developed in tandem with the SLS. But Falcon Heavy is scheduled to fly earlier, early 2015, and be cheaper. So I wonder what kind of missions Orion could do with FH. Could it for ...
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1answer
486 views

Numbers for Falcon 9 booster MECO scenarios?

I hoping to look at learn more about Main Engine Cut Off (MECO) for various scenarios. 5 quantities I want are: 1) Booster mass at lift off. 2) Booster mass at MECO 3) Booster velocity at MECO (...
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1answer
401 views

Why is SpaceX testing Pad Abort at LC-40 (CCAFS) but Max-Q abort at Vandenberg?

Per SpaceNews article SpaceX has set November 2014 for a Pad Abort test from LC-40 in Florida, and January 2015 for a Max-Q abort test from Vandenberg Airforce Base in California. They have only done ...
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3answers
3k views

Why is it preferable for SpaceX to land their booster vertically rather than fly it down with wings?

SpaceX lands their booster rocket vertically, this seems complicated. The space shuttle landed with wings which seems more simple. Why is it preferable for the rocket to land vertically as opposed to ...
7
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1answer
531 views

SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable first stage propellant for return

How much propellant is required to return the Falcon 9 Reusable's first stage after separation?