Elon Musk and SpaceX Announce Mars Architecture

On Tuesday 27th September 2016, the biggest day in the current history of SpaceX and Elon Musk arrived as they announced the architecture that will enable humans and cargo to and from Mars. The talk took place at IAC 2016 at 19:30 UTC and amazed not just the attendees but the online audience which were watching and listening to Elon’s talk. The long awaited provided an insight into the design and ultimate destination of SpaceX and Elon’s plans.

It has been known from the inception of SpaceX that the company goal was Mars, and that the ultimate goal would result in routine journies to and from Mars, and generally space. From Falcon 1, the company has been learning the ropes of rocketry, with many failures on the way, including recently with a Launch Pad Anomaly which destroyed a Falcon 9 and its payload ahead of standard procedure Static Fire Test.

Here is the full livestream from IAC 2016:

Outlining his biggest ambition of the company from the near inception, Musk provided an insight into the Mars Architecture that could lead humanity to be multi-planetary. Initially it is beleived that the Big F!@& Rocket will carry at least 100 people and cargo to the red planet. Envisioning a big space to hang around, Musk hoped that inflight entertainment would include an Earthy feel and that the at least 6 month transit would be furfilled with plenty to do.

The BFR (as previously known) or as it’s now known as the Interplanetary Transport System was introduced about an hour before the talk Elon was about to present at IAC 2016, and was ultimately the precursor of the presentation which would outline the preliminary details of the system. The Super Heavy Lift rocket is described to be a 12 meter diameter rocket booster and a 17 meter spaceship/transporter. Ultimately the whole stack height measures to 122 meters, resulting being roughly 11 meters taller than the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo era.

With a bigger rocket, calls more engines with more power. RP-1 and Liquid Oxygen can only go so far when it comes to rocketry, and this is where SpaceX changed to Methane for their new rocket system. It also called for a new engine to enable the rocket to fly and to adopt the company’s view on reusablity. The ITS is powered by 42 Raptor engines, with the centre engines being able to gimbal, with main outer engines being locked in one position. In SpaceX timing, the Propulsion team in McGregor fired up for the first time a Development Model of the Raptor – Successfully! From footage which was released, it was estimated that the firing lasted for 8 seconds – however the timings officially haven’t been released by SpaceX. For the first firing the data collect will be valuable, and though successful, Elon joked, ‘I’m surprised it didn’t blow up’.

With all 42 engines firing in unison, it will provide a near 29 million pounds of thrust, engulfing the might Saturn V’s thrust at lift off, which was just short of 8 million pounds. Here are the stats of the Raptor engine which were provided at the talk:

Ultimately, Elon hopes to assist in making humans a multiplanatary specie and that if something did occur to Earth as we know it, humans at least have a chance else where in the solar system.
Though we are a few years away from the complete system launching from a launch pad, SpaceX have begun the development phase of the systems which are need to launch the Biggest Rocket currently being designed. With a development Raptor being tested, it was also revealed that SpaceX engineers have already began building development upper stage LOX tanks and already verified their strength with cryogenic liquids. Below are the released pictures of the developmental tank:

With multiple companies aiming for the stars, including a return to moon and now SpaceX revealing their Mars Architecture, the future is beaming with bigger rockets and at least more people in space.


SpaceX Suffers Setback after On-Pad RUD

This Post is being constantly updated when new information is provided/received.

After 15 months since the loss of their first Falcon 9 with the CRS-7 mission, and a successful return to flight operations, SpaceX has suffered another significant blow to their operations with a Falcon 9 having a Rapid Unplanned Disassembly (RUD) on their SLC-40 Pad in Florida. SpaceX lost their Falcon 9 (F9-029) and the AMOS-6 payload in the ill-fated Static Fire ahead of the launch. It is currently not fully known what the cause of this tragedy is at this time.


Webcam footage from NASA shows SLC-40 under dark flames from the explosion

The Falcon 9 rocket, the company’s workhorse, was in the latter stages of the Mission Flow to assist haul the AMOS-6 satellite to geostationary transfer orbit later this week. The No Earlier Than (NET) date for the launch was for 3rd September 2016. Currently there is only one video which provides the public a decent view on the occurrence which occurred at SLC-40 and this was provided by USLaunchReport.

Currently this is the statement which SpaceX has provided the public on AMOS-6 anomaly:

September 2, 6:45pm EDT

SpaceX has begun the careful and deliberate process of understanding the causes and fixes for yesterday’s incident.  We will continue to provide regular updates on our progress and findings, to the fullest extent we can share publicly.

We deeply regret the loss of AMOS-6, and safely and reliably returning to flight to meet the demands of our customers is our chief priority.  SpaceX’s business is robust, with approximately 70 missions on our manifest worth over $10 billion.  In the aftermath of yesterday’s events, we are grateful for the continued support and unwavering confidence that our commercial customers as well as NASA and the United States Air Force have placed in us.

Overview of the incident:

– Yesterday, at SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, an anomaly took place about eight minutes in advance of a scheduled test firing of a Falcon 9 rocket.

– The anomaly on the pad resulted in the loss of the vehicle.

– This was part of a standard pre-launch static fire to demonstrate the health of the vehicle prior to an eventual launch.

– At the time of the loss, the launch vehicle was vertical and in the process of being fueled for the test.  At this time, the data indicates the anomaly originated around the upper stage liquid oxygen tank.  Per standard operating procedure, all personnel were clear of the pad.  There were no injuries.

To identify the root cause of the anomaly, SpaceX began its investigation immediately after the loss, consistent with accident investigation plans prepared for such a contingency.  These plans include the preservation of all possible evidence and the assembly of an Accident Investigation Team, with oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration and participation by NASA, the United States Air Force and other industry experts.  We are currently in the early process of reviewing approximately 3000 channels of telemetry and video data covering a time period of just 35-55 milliseconds.

As for the Launch Pad itself, our teams are now investigating the status of SLC-40.  The pad clearly incurred damage, but the scope has yet to be fully determined.  We will share more data as it becomes available.  SpaceX currently operates 3 launch pads – 2 in Florida and 1 in California at Vandenberg Air Force Base.  SpaceX’s other launch sites were not affected by yesterday’s events.  Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base is in the final stages of an operational upgrade and Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center remains on schedule to be operational in November.  Both pads are capable of supporting Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches.  We are confident the two launch pads can support our return to flight and fulfill our upcoming manifest needs.

Again, our number one priority is to safely and reliably return to flight for our customers, as well as to take all the necessary steps to ensure the highest possible levels of safety for future crewed missions with the Falcon 9. We will carefully and thoroughly investigate and address this issue.

AllStuffSpace wish a quick recovery to SpaceX and wish them luck when they do Return To Flight.

This Post is being constantly updated when new information is provided/received.