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I have collected a list of orbital mass simulator launches and there fates: Antares A-ONE, mass simulator Orbit: approximately 150 by 160 miles (240 km x 260 km) with an inclination of 51.6 degrees Fate: Burned up in atmosphere Falcon 9, Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit (basically a mass simulator) 249.5 kilometers (155.0 mi) x 252.5 kilometers (156....


13

It had a heavy concrete foundation to which the metal structure of the stand was attached. Shown is test stand 1-C at Edwards Air Force Base. And in use with an F-1 running. There was an F-1 stand in Huntsville as well. This one's structure was described as: The structure's base consists of four concrete piers which reach 105' above grade and extend 40' ...


7

Longest Static Fire of a rocket engine: With you showing interest in the SSME firing (which was probably not attached to a full stage), the Glen Research Center operated a xenon gas engine (0.236 N thrust) continuously from 2003 to 2009 (48,000 hours or 5.5 years). Longest Static Fire of a complete solid-fuel stage: (See other answer for longest liquid-fuel ...


6

You can get a pretty good idea by looking at SpaceFlightNow. Upcoming flights, along with their estimated days, are: First Half of the year- Arabsat NET June- STP2 In addition, for the really long term stuff, look at SpaceX's manifest, which also includes: VIASAT Inmarsat Thus far that seems to be all of the missions planned for Falcon Heavy, although ...


5

In qualification testing, you want to be able to examine the parts after the test. If you can learn why a part failed, you can improve the design. It also becomes harder to identify the cause of failure since you're doing all your tests at once. Was it a supply voltage spike, temperature changes or a cosmic ray that made the part fail? Again, not being ...


4

The success rate of the Saturn V is attributed, among other factors, to the extensive testing, in particular testing beyond the design parameters. The three stages of the Saturn V had the nominal thrust durations: S-1C: 160-170 seconds S-II: 360-370 seconds S-IVB: 450-500 second (combined) All stages were subjected to full-duration static firing tests, ...


4

The normal stuff - code reviews, unit tests, black box tests, load tests etc, etc. The biggest difference is the vigour. You have to go through detailed design review, a code review, there is often a requirement that certain percentage (often 80% or 90%) of your code be covered by automated tests, there are usually performance requirements you have to meet,...


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I only have a partial answer, but here is what I was able to dig up: That same Wikipedia page you link contains this: Tommy Sanford, director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, opined that the car and its rocket stage are no more "space junk" than the mundane material usually launched on other test flights. Mass simulators are often deliberately ...


4

What is interesting is that the first launch of the Falcon Heavy is not really representative of the Falcon Heavy. The side boosters were previously flown Block 3 Falcon 9 boosters. (Thaicomm-8 and CRS-9 mission boosters). The core booster was a new design based on the Block 3 Falcon 9. Every other Falcon Heavy will be based on the Block 5 design. While ...


4

The question assumes there is a concept of "Continuous Delivery" in space flight software. There is not. The required product assurance processes do not allow it. I'll consider ECSS standards here, as those are what I have experience with. Here you can find an introduction on the applicable software standards. ECSS defines 4 criticality levels of space ...


3

You are using web site development terms. While some of those concepts do indeed apply to the development flight software, some do not, and some are so far off as to make "completely off base" a minor criticism. In this post I'll describe some of things that can be done to test whether the software running on a spacecraft is doing what it is ...


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This answer addresses the last part of the question: "why can't qualification testing be automated". You have a good point, but we need to clarify some terminology. As an aside, the earlier parts of the question have some inevitable overlap with this question here by the same OP. Back to automation. There are two distinct concepts in testing for ...


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You have clearly already come up against the dilemma of "its expensive because its expensive". Your question is reasonable, notwithstanding the first answer about learning from hands-on post-test inspection and measurement. Don't lose hope, but here are some other points that confound things: There is often a strong emphasis on qualification testing being ...


3

When you need to slow down and soft-land a spacecraft, you need to consider How heavy is the craft? How fast will it be going when you try to stop? Will anything else be supplying stopping power? (i.e. a rocket motor above the payload) How heavy is the gear doing the stopping? (has to be offset with fuel) In 2015 NASA ripped a large supersonic parachute ...


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When you are testing a brand new rocket, particularly in that era, you didn't put a valuable payload on top. Typically mass simulators were used. There actually was a primary mission, as is indicated in your quote, but the mission was successful enough to more or less demonstrate the rocket would work. It was never launched because they got more than enough ...


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