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  1. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    NASA / SPACEX Live LAUNCH: TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) Launch Coverage
    Started streaming 5 minutes ago
    Live Launch coverage of TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite)
    The planned liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, remains scheduled for 6:32 p.m. EDT Monday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continue to predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff.
    Today, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is hosting several events to be broadcast live on NASA TV. View the TESS Briefings and Events page for the full list of event participants.


    SpaceX scrubs TESS launch
    Published on Apr 16, 2018
    Technical difficulties forced SpaceX to scrub the TESS launch on Monday.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  2. Dr. AMK

    Dr. AMK The Strategist

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    Rockets Engines History
     
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  3. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    NASA's TESS mission in distress, Mars Express restart is a success
    Falcon 9 grounded while turning it off and on again works at ESA
    By Richard Speed 17 Apr 2018 at 10:29
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/17/tess_delay_mars_express_restart/

    "A Guidance and Navigation Control (GNC) issue scuppered last night's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9. Conversely, the European Space Agency (ESA) celebrated a successful restart of the Mars Express orbiter following a software update.

    TESS is less
    Scheduled for launch yesterday, the start of NASA's TESS mission was postponed by 48 hours due to a mysterious GNC issue aboard the Falcon 9 rocket.

    The countdown was stopped with three hours to go, and SpaceX later tweeted out a brief update confirming the problem.

    A backup launch window at 2232 UTC was available today, but the team has elected to take some extra time to resolve the problem. Launch is now scheduled for 18 April.

    While there has been no official confirmation from NASA or SpaceX of the new launch time, the 45th Space Wing (responsible for the Eastern Range) issued a forecast (PDF) for 2251 UTC on 18 April predicting a less than a 10 per cent chance of weather causing problems.

    NASA reported that the TESS spacecraft itself remains in excellent health as it perches nervously on top of the Falcon 9.

    Express success
    The team behind the European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express were cock-a-hoop with delight last night after hitting the big red button to restart and install updates on the veteran orbiter.

    The team sent the reboot command yesterday evening and had to spend an agonising hour waiting to see if the spacecraft would restart correctly. Not unlike getting an unexpected demand from Windows to install an update during a particularly harrowing PUBG session.

    Sure enough, after an hour, the spacecraft restarted, re-orientated itself and sent a message back to Earth that it was alive and well. The team expects science operations on the refreshed spacecraft to resume in the next few days.

    The update reduces the load on the gyros of the aging spacecraft and should extend the lifespan of the orbiter from 2019 to well into the 2020s.

    Makers of certain consumer electronics should take note that it is possible to create an update that both extends the life of a device and improves its performance"
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  4. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    TESS Mission Launch | SpaceX LIVE Webcast
    Live in 33 hours, April 18, 3:51 PM
    Scheduled for Apr 19, 2018

    Live WebCast of SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch carrying the TESS spacecraft for NASA. Footage from SpaceX Livestream.
    SpaceX Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexch...
    NASA Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/NASAtele...

    TESS NASA’s Next Planet Hunter

    Published on Apr 17, 2018
    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. This first-ever space-borne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat. To learn more, go to https://www.nasa.gov/tess

    This video is available for download from NASA's Image and Video Library: https://images.nasa.gov/details-TESS%

    NASA : TESS science news conference.

    Started streaming 1 hour ago
    TESS science news conference. Learn about the science to be performed by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
    On a mission to detect planets outside of our solar system, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is scheduled to launch no earlier than 6:32 p.m. EDT Monday, April 16. Prelaunch mission coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Sunday, April 15, with three live briefings.
    TESS is NASA’s next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets, including those that could support life. The mission is expected to catalog thousands of planet candidates and vastly increase the current number of known exoplanets. TESS will find the most promising exoplanets orbiting relatively nearby stars, giving future researchers a rich set of new targets for more comprehensive follow-up studies, including the potential to assess their capacity to harbor life.
    Credit : NASA

    Pre-Launch News Conference for NASA's TESS Mission on SpaceX Falcon 9
    Published on Apr 15, 2018

    Mission managers take part in a pre-launch news conference for the TESS mission that SpaceX will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket for NASA.
    Liftoff is set for tomorrow, April 16th 2018 at 22:32 UTC from SLC-40 of Cape Canaveral.


    NASA Discusses Upcoming Launch of Next Planet Hunter

    Published on Mar 28, 2018
    During a press conference at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., astrophysics experts discussed the upcoming launch of NASA’s next planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
    Scheduled to launch April 16, TESS is expected to find thousands of planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, orbiting the nearest and brightest stars in our cosmic neighborhood. Powerful telescopes like NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope can then further study these exoplanets to search for important characteristics, like their atmospheric composition and whether they could support life.
    This video is available for download from NASA's Image and Video Library:https://images.nasa.gov/details-NHQ_2...
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
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  5. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross On The New Space Race | CNBC
    Space (Launch) Traffic Management
    Published on Apr 17, 2018
    U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks with CNBC's Morgan Brennan about the new space race and growing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
     
  6. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    LIVE - SpaceX Falcon9 Rocket Launch & Landing ( NASA TESS ) Mission
    Live in 8 hours, April 18, 5:00 PM

    Scheduled for Apr 19, 2018
    SpaceX is targeting launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on Wednesday, April 18 from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The 30-second launch window opens at 6:51 p.m. EDT, or 22:51 UTC. TESS will be deployed into a highly elliptical orbit approximately 48 minutes after launch.
    Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
    Credit : SpaceX
     
  7. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    TESS Mission
    SpaceX
    Started streaming 22 minutes ago
    SpaceX is targeting launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on Wednesday, April 18 from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The 30-second launch window opens at 6:51 p.m. EDT, or 22:51 UTC. TESS will be deployed into a highly elliptical orbit approximately 48 minutes after launch.
    Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
     
  8. Dr. AMK

    Dr. AMK The Strategist

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    How SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could enable fantastic Science in the outer solar system
    Democratizing access to Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and beyond.

    February 2018 saw the successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, making it the most powerful rocket in operation. It is capable of launching more than 2x the payload to Low-Earth Orbit than the next best which is ULA’s Delta IV Heavy.
    [​IMG]
    Falcon Heavy launch by SpaceX. Source: John Kraus.

    Here are some numbers to give you an idea of some of the most powerful rockets we have in operation:

    Maximum payload to Low-Earth Orbit:
    1. Falcon Heavy (SpaceX) = 63,800 kg
    2. Delta IV Heavy (ULA) = 28,790 kg
    3. Long March 5 (China) = 25,000 kg
    4. Falcon 9 Full Thrust (SpaceX) = 22,800 kg
    (Full comparison of all rockets here)
    The higher payload capabilities of the Falcon Heavy unlocks various space exploration possibilities that didn’t exist for a long time since the Apollo era. The primary goals with the Falcon Heavy maybe going to the Moon and Mars but the scientist in me is even more excited for the wide variety of science potential from the rocket.



    [​IMG]
    SpaceX Falcon Heavy at the launchpad. Source: SpaceX


    A Pluto orbiter and a flyby of Eris
    In 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft gave us the very first high-resolution shots of Pluto and its moon Charon. Before it, no other spacecraft had ever been to Pluto.

    Pluto was revealed to be a geologically active world, with vast plains made up of nitrogen ice, a hazy multi-layered atmosphere and mountains as tall as 3 km. There is even some evidence that Pluto hides beneath its surface a vast liquid water ocean.



    [​IMG]
    New Horizons spacecraft view of Pluto’s rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plain. The multiple layers of haze of Pluto’s atmosphere are also seen. Source: NASA


    Sadly, New Horizons was a flyby mission that left us with more questions than answers. It wasn’t an orbiter that can continue to send juicy science data from the plutonian system. There are reasons why we haven’t put an orbiter around Pluto yet, one of which has to do with the limitation of the rockets available.

    New Horizons weighed 478 kg and was launched on ULA’s Atlas V rocket which is capable of carrying less than 1,000 kg to Pluto. The spacecraft thus couldn’t carry enough fuel that can be used to slow down and get captured in orbit upon reaching Pluto. The Falcon Heavy solves this limitation.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Launch of New Horizons. The Atlas V rocket on the launchpad (left) and lift off from Cape Canaveral (right). Sources: Wikipedia (1 and 2)


    The Falcon Heavy can carry a spacecraft up to 3,500 kg to Pluto. Even if we assume minimal changes to the New Horizons spacecraft, there is more than enough room to carry extra fuel for orbital capture.

    Launching even a minimally modified New Horizons-like orbiter to Pluto onboard a Falcon Heavy will give us higher resolution imagery, multiple close passes to Pluto’s moons (including the largest Charon), long term planetary changes and all in all fantastic science.

    The Falcon Heavy can also send a flyby mission to the next dwarf planet Eriswhich is twice as far as Pluto is from the Sun.

    Orbiting the ice giants — Uranus and Neptune
    It is somewhat of a sad fact that we’ve had orbiters around the gas giantsJupiter & Saturn, but only sent flyby missions to the ice giants Uranus and Neptune. There are a lot of things to know about the ice giants.

    Uranus’ weird tilt and a tumbling magnetic field are just some of the mysteries surrounding the planet.


    [​IMG]
    The unusual magnetic field of Uranus, as determined by Voyager 2 during the 1986 flyby. Source: Wikipedia
    Neptune on the other hand has mysteries like incomplete ring structure and surprising storms. And its largest moon Triton erupts icy material from its cryovolcanoes.

    [​IMG]
    Global color mosaic of Neptune’s moon Triton taken using the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1989. Source: NASA. Caption: Me.
    Just like the case of a Pluto, the Falcon Heavy can send orbiters to Uranus and Neptune to meticulously study these outer solar system worlds. Their relatively lesser distance compared to Pluto means that the orbiters can have higher quality instruments for the same price.

    The fruitfulness of studying ice giants like Uranus/Neptune goes beyond understanding them and their role in the solar system. Have a look at this graph showing the number of exoplanets discovered by type.


    [​IMG]
    A histogram showing the number of exoplanets discovered by each type. The blue bars represent previously verified exoplanets and the orange bars represent Kepler’s newly verified planets as of May 2016. Source: Wikipedia
    The category of planets called Sub/Mini-Neptunes are the most common type of planets in the galaxy. Understanding Uranus and Neptune is thus the key to understanding how a giant fraction of all planets form and behave. And the Falcon 9 is well positioned to enable just that.

    Light and fast
    Being able to send orbiters to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto isn’t the only advantage gained by the existence of Falcon Heavy. The Falcon Heavy can’t just launch heavy payloads, it can also shoot lighter payloads (like most planetary orbiters) into space really, really fast. The time taken to reach these outer solar system worlds can be cut down to 5–8 years instead of the 10–14 years it takes for other existing rockets.

    Exploring the moons of Jupiter and Saturn
    The relative closeness of Jupiter and Saturn mean that the Falcon Heavy can send far more heavier payloads into their respective systems. Good news is there are already two missions to Jupiter’s moons planned to launch in the 2020s onboard other rockets.

    ESAJupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) will be launched in 2022 and its primary goal is to orbit and study Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, the only Moon in the solar system with a magnetic field. NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will confirm the presence of the likely subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europaand evaluate the possibilities of Life in it.

    [​IMG]
    An artist’s illustration showing the internal structure of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Beneath the thick ice covering, likely lies an ocean of liquid water caused by the tidal heating effects of Jupiter’s gravity. Source: Source: NASA
    The capabilities of the Falcon Heavy could be utilized to add to the science value of these missions. The Falcon Heavy can be used to send not just advanced orbiters, but modestly heavy landers to both Europa and Ganymede due to its larger payload capacity.


    [​IMG]
    An artists’ rendering of NASA’s upcoming mission Europa Clipper passing by Jupiter’s moon Europa. Source: NASA
    An orbiter to the Saturn’s geyser erupting moon Enceladus is also an intriguing possibility. Geysers have been detected erupting from Enceladus and the moon is also thought to house a vast ocean of water inside. It is therefore a strong candidate for the presence of Life in the outer solar system, which must be explored.

    Cheap and repeatable
    The Falcon Heavy is quite cheap for its capabilities, which is SpaceX’s biggest selling point. The fully expendable version costs $ 150 million. For comparison, ULA’s Delta-IV Heavy costs $ 350 million for less than half the payload capacity. The fact that the Falcon Heavy is also reusable (for lighter missions) can substantially lower the cost further. A reusable Falcon Heavy costs $ 90 million.


    [​IMG]
    Falcon Heavy side boosters landing on landing areas LZ1 and LZ2. Source: SpaceX
    As the Planetary Society notes, the Falcon 9 is currently certified to launch only relatively lower budget science missions. Faster access and much cheaper launch costs for the either variants of the Falcon Heavy allows multiple such missions to be mounted to these outer solar system worlds.

    Conclusion
    The cost effectiveness of the Falcon Heavy combined with the faster access to the outer solar system worlds is a substantial change to the way we are used to doing things in space exploration. Science for the win!
     
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  9. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Maximum payload to Low-Earth Orbit:
    1. Falcon Heavy (SpaceX) = 63,800 kg
    2. Delta IV Heavy (ULA) = 28,790 kg
    3. Long March 5 (China) = 25,000 kg
    4. Falcon 9 Full Thrust (SpaceX) = 22,800 kg

    "NASA's huge new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will indeed be the most powerful booster ever built, agency officials said.

    There's been some confusion and controversy about this claim ever since the SLS — which NASA is developing to get astronauts to Mars and other deep-space destinations — was announced in September 2011.

    NASA officials have long maintained that the most muscular form of the SLS will be capable of lofting 143 tons (130 metric tons) of payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO). That's where the confusion comes in: The LEO capacity of the agency's famous Saturn V moon rocket was about 154 tons (140 metric tons), according to a 2006 U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report.

    Yes, NASA's New Megarocket Will Be More Powerful Than the Saturn V
    By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | August 16, 2016 07:00am ET
    https://www.space.com/33691-space-launch-system-most-powerful-rocket.html
    space-launch-system-new-nasa-rocket-110914d-02.jpg
    NASA's huge new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will indeed be the most powerful booster ever built, agency officials said.

    There's been some confusion and controversy about this claim ever since the SLS — which NASA is developing to get astronauts to Mars and other deep-space destinations — was announced in September 2011.

    NASA officials have long maintained that the most muscular form of the SLS will be capable of lofting 143 tons (130 metric tons) of payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO). That's where the confusion comes in: The LEO capacity of the agency's famous Saturn V moon rocket was about 154 tons (140 metric tons), according to a 2006 U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. [Photos: NASA's Space Launch System for Deep Space Flights]

    But arguments for the Saturn V's supremacy are based on a flawed, apples-to-oranges comparison, said Kimberly Robinson, manager of strategic communications for SLS at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Specifically, the 143-ton figure for SLS refers to pure payload, whereas the Saturn V could loft 154 tons of "injected mass," Robinson said.

    That injected mass included the Saturn V's third stage, as well as the fuel present in the stage, according to the authors of the 2006 CBO report (who wrote that they sourced their information from Richard Orloff's "Apollo by the Numbers: A Statistical Reference").

    The SLS team has calculated some apples-to-apples comparisons, and the new rocket comes out on top, Robinson said Aug. 3 during a presentation with NASA's Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group.

    "We have a payload mass to LEO of about 122.4 metric tons [135 tons] for Saturn V," said Robinson, who did not give the FISO presentation but chimed in to answer a question posed by a listener. (The FISO talk was given by Chris Sanders of Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bob DaLee of Boeing and Orbital ATK's Mike Fuller. These three companies are the prime contractors for SLS.)

    The "injected mass" capacity of SLS comes out to 173 tons (156.9 metric tons), Robinson added. She, Sanders, DaLee and Fuller all cautioned, however, that these numbers for SLS are not carved in stone.

    "We're talking about a 130-metric-ton-class vehicle," Robinson said. "It doesn't tell you exactly the capability."

    The path to Mars
    SLS is an evolvable vehicle, with three primary variants currently envisioned. All of them consist of a core stage, along with two solid rocket boosters (SRBs).

    The first version, known as Block 1, will have a LEO payload capacity of 77 tons (70 metric tons). The Block 1B iteration will boost that to 116 tons (105 metric tons), while the Block 2 will max out at 143 tons (130 metric tons) to LEO.

    But SLS was not designed with Earth orbit in mind. The rocket is a key part of NASA's plan to get astronauts to Mars, which the agency aims to do before the end of the 2030s.

    SLS will launch Red Planet pioneers aboard the Orion crew capsule, which is also in development. Orion has one flight under its belt, an unmanned test to Earth orbit in December 2014 that lifted off atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy (which is the most powerful rocket currently in operation).

    SLS is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2018, when a Block 1 booster will launch an uncrewed Orion on a weeklong trip around the moon known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

    The SLS team has been notching its milestones, including an SRB ground test in June, on time and as expected, DaLee said.

    "Everything looks good and on schedule for a late '18 launch," he said during the FISO talk.

    Science missions, too
    While SLS was designed chiefly to launch astronauts, the rocket could also play a large role in NASA's robotic exploration plans going forward, agency officials have said.

    Planetary missions launching atop the SLS could get to their destinations much more quickly than probes sent on their way by currently available rockets, and also carry more science gear, DaLee said.

    As one example, he cited the as-yet-unnamed robotic mission NASA plans to launch toward the potentially life-harboring Jupiter moon Europa in the 2020s. A Europa mission that launched atop an SLS Block 1B, as opposed to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, could shave 4.5 years off the journey (from 6.5 years down to 2 years) and carry twice as much payload, DaLee said.

    "Size really does matter, in multiple ways," Sanders said.

    Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us@Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published onSpace.com."
     
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  10. Dr. AMK

    Dr. AMK The Strategist

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