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SpaceX halts Intelsat 35e launch twice in a row

Gold badge
Unhappy

SX have done well to increase their launch cadence

But I suspect they are also now keen to avoid any more stand downs due to rocket going boom, especially with Atlas V into the 50s and Ariane V in the 70's of successful launches.

Let's hope "third times a charm" for this payload.

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Bronze badge

Better safe than sorry

I'd rather they stalled the launch a couple of times than send it on a Long March into the sea.

Dear Americans - if you launch on the 4th of July, is it mandatory to fill the thing with fireworks too?

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Re: Better safe than sorry

Yes the fireworks are mandatory and will be coming out of the rear end of the rocket where they should be. Now if your looking for sparkles maybe less so. But the first/second stages will go boom on re-entry as they have noted no RTLS happening this time.

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Re: Better safe than sorry

There are some pretty nice "sparkles" as it hits the max pressure boundary and starts to go out of the atmosphere. The engines rocket plume flares out and starts to look like a starburst pattern. :)

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Re: Better safe than sorry

Don't be daft.

In many states buying fireworks is illegal as they are too dangerous. Have they heard of the NRA?

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Pint

Re: Better safe than sorry

Not where I am. We get plenty of out of staters (from CA) coming north to buy them. It'll be a long night tonight of barrages and drunken frivolity in these parts.

Icon ---> well it is a holiday, what more can one expect? Since I can sit in back yard and be entertained by all the neighbors launching things into the sky, I can all the beer I want.

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I guess it have to go boom, 4th of july and all

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BBRs are go!

Question - when they're not planning to recover the booster, do they re-use an old one? Maybe that's an option for the customer?

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Re: BBRs are go!

I suppose it depends on whether the customer is willing to use a cheaper, second hand rocket. One careful owner....

Being serious for a minute, I think SpaceX are waiting for the Block 5 Falcon's to roll off the production line. The design tweaks of the Block 5 variants are supposed to make reuse much easier.

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Bronze badge

Re: BBRs are go!

Question - when they're not planning to recover the booster, do they re-use an old one? Maybe that's an option for the customer?

I'm sure the customer would have been offered the option. They don't appear to have taken it though, as this is a brand new rocket.

I guess there's still some lingering doubts over the whole re-use thing, and that's fair enough; when you're launching a billion dollars into space, there are legitimate reasons to be a bit conservative about things. But that will change (and is changing). Every successful re-use launch that happens will make more and more likely for others to be willing to follow suit.

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Re: BBRs are go!

It's mostly an insurance thing. It's cheaper to launch a used rocket, some of these savings make it to the customer, which saves them money. They will likely need to pay some extra premium to their insurance.

If the savings are greater than the additional insurance premium it becomes financially interesting to use a second-hand rocket. It's likely that as reusable rockets become more common the premium goes down and the savings go up, tipping the balance more and more towards reused rockets.

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Re: BBRs are go!

Or the insurance premium goes back to the same as the figure out the re-use levels for the rocket. After-all you don't pay more/less travel insurance because your on a new aircraft.

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Re: BBRs are go!

> you don't pay more/less travel insurance because your on a new aircraft.

You'd probably pay significantly more for insurance if you wanted to go on an aircraft's first test flight. Not that anyone would let you go as a passenger, they'd refuse because it's too risky.

So eventually, when the insurance companies have enough data, the "flight-proven" reused rocket may be *cheaper* to insure than a new one.

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Re: some of these savings make it to the customer

But not many. SpaceX spent around a billion dollars developing reuse, and they want to recoup some of that by keeping most of the savings back. Apparently the main incentive to the customer is an earlier launch slot.

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Re: BBRs are go!

'I'm sure the customer would have been offered the option.'

Gosh, I wonder if SpaceX are employing a second-hand car salesman: 'Here you go squire, lovely little rocket this one, just been flown round the world a couple of times. That? Oh don't worry about that, it'll just buff out. Now shall we go back to the office and talk numbers?'

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Gold badge

"it depends on whether the customer is willing to use a cheaper, second hand rocket. "

I think the term SX prefer is "pre used."

Shotwell (in a recent radio interview) said the current versions are good for 3 reuses, the block 5 for 12.

OTOH I think the satellite mass is above the SX baseline price for GTO payloads so there's no published pricing.

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Re: "it depends on whether the customer is willing to use a cheaper, second hand rocket. "

The preferred term is "flight proven".

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Joke

Re: "it depends on whether the customer is willing to use a cheaper, second hand rocket. "

If they start to use the term "pre loved", they should be "first against a wall when the revolution comes".

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Re: some of these savings make it to the customer

SpaceX spent around a billion dollars developing reuse

Which I think is surprisingly (and impressively) little for what they've achieved, when you put it up against some of the other things you can spend a billion dollars on these days.

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Gold badge
Unhappy

If they start to use the term "pre loved", they should be "first against a wall

when the revolution comes".

Or if you prefer Marvin's view "Why don't you call it 'un-crashed' as it hasn't been destroyed yet? Humans, always so hopeful, despite any evidence that they should be."

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Sounds like they need an even Bigger Bloody Rocket !!

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That would be 3 x Falcon 9's or otherwise known as a F9H.. Cant wait to see that fly next year.

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Trollface

I can't wait to see it fly in late 2015...

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Elon has said "WTF is going on with the computer?" and ordered a day of going through things with a fine tooth comb.

One thing the article doesn't mention is that the Canaveral range is going completely down for 3 weeks for maintenance after this. SpaceX is really hoping to launch before that.

Edit: this screws me because I was hoping to go over to KSC and watch on the 4th of July holiday, but they're not launching now.

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Gold badge
Unhappy

"the Canaveral range is going completely down for 3 weeks for maintenance after this."

That could cause lots of trouble for SX. I think their launch pace from Canaveral is literally one every 2 weeks from either of the pads.

Any hold ups with it coming back up, or on their launches, will have substantial knock on effects.

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Silver badge

No go on the 4th either.

Won't launch on the 4th of July either. As currently posted on their webcast site they're currently reviewing what's wrong with the system and won't launch until the 5th or even the 6th.

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Re: No go on the 4th either.

Small update, a request has possibly been made for a launch late on the 5th or very early (as in the single digit AMs) on the 6th local time but nothing official has been announced. We'll probably have to wait until later today for any sort of announcement when the SpaceX guys get back in to work.

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Silver badge

Re: No go on the 4th either.

Now confirmed, new launch attempt at the start of a 1 hour launch window at 7:37 PM KSC time (23:37 UTC, 01:37 CET)

BTW, we were wondering a while back about an unknown white robot structure/thing on the deck of "Ofcourse I still love you". Turns out I/we were right, it's for stabilising the landed first stage:

https://twitter.com/Mike_Seeley/status/880536554481082368

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Silver badge

Thanks, Trump!

Illegal Immigration is down; Satellites are rotting on their rockets!

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Headmaster

"Twice in a row..."

They've failed to launch the Intelsat "twice in a row".

As opposed to...?

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Re: "Twice in a row..."

Sloppy phrasing...two days consecutively...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Twice in a row..."

It's easy to explain. They actually got it in the air, on a secret second launch. But they discovered that they'd bolted the payload to the first stage which simply brought it straight back. Doh. Meanwhile the 2nd stage went hurtling off into orbit with nothing to deploy, the PR office covered the whole thing up somehow so that we didn't notice, apart from this one tiny grammatical slip-up. Mistakes like that are so easily made these days.

Or something like that.

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Silver badge

Oh dear, it seems the flight computer has become self-aware and is now refusing to fly suicide missions.

"Put some legs on me Dave Elon, I want to come back"

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Joke

"it seems the flight computer has become self-aware"

Launch Directors Network Log;

Elon to Falcon9> Now light that F***ing fire

Falcon9 to Elon> I am sorry Elon, I cant do that..

BvB

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Headmaster

Violation Of Abort Criteria

Standing down today due to a violation of abort criteria...

That clears things up.

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Re: Violation Of Abort Criteria

It is certainly a "no shit, Sherlock" excuseexplanation. It's not like there's anything that's allowed to look a bit iffy, launch anyway, it'll be fine.

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Gold badge
Coat

A small FH factoid. It's now within 8.86% of the baseline SLS payload to LEO.

I suspect SX could push it over that line but feel that would embarrass NASA.

OTOH once it's flying....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A small FH factoid. It's now within 8.86% of the baseline SLS payload to LEO.

I hope they do finish and fly the SLS. One thing's for sure - it'll be a really, really, really, impressively noisy thing at launch.

From what I've seen of it, the facilities they're putting together to production-line the SLS look quite good. Automated welding stations (using friction stir welding, another great British invention), bespoke machining rigs, the lot. If they could get it flying regularly, well, there's nothing like regular launches at that payload.

I just hope we can think of a semi-sensible use for it. The obvious application - getting enough gear up into space to be able to something serious and effective at diverting an asteroid on a collision course - just never seems to register on any political roadmap. Strange, because i) it's definitely going to happen one day, ii) we will probably want to do something about stopping it, iii) we haven't a clue about when it hoves into view; could be tomorrow. Oh well, guess it'll have to be moon / space station things...

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Re: A small FH factoid. It's now within 8.86% of the baseline SLS payload to LEO.

Falcon Heavy should be well over then.

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Unhappy

"Falcon Heavy should be well over then."

Well that's with them listing each first stage Merlin as 190Klb of thrust but Shotwell has said that in one shot mode they could go as high as 240Klbs each.

I'm not sure if that's enough to put them over the 70 tonnes baseline (or 77US tons), although it's got to be even closer.

However it is bad manners to embarrass your biggest customer unless you're seriously ready to take over the full workload that SLS is meant to fill.

SX can't do that in terms of either fairing size or maximum payload. Fairing size is the other big benefit of SLS. No one's done (or looked at) a fairing more than 1.889x the rockets diameter. Only ULA's Vulcan would be in striking range at that faring ratio, assuming they go with Methane as the fuel, which looks highly likely given how far Blue Origin are in front of AJR in design and test.

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Re: "Falcon Heavy should be well over then."

No one's done (or looked at) a fairing more than 1.889x the rockets diameter.

What are the engineering issues behind this limit? Shockwave propagation? Structural soundness of the fairing?

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Anonymous Coward

He doesn't give up, does he?

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Sucessful Launch on July 5th

Perhaps an update to the article would be appropriate?

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