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  • 3 weeks later...

Question about Space X and how they build boosters and spaceships.  All my life I have assumed that all the rockets built were in some sort of "clean" environment.  Am I wrong?  I see Space X building rockets out in the open on the beach in Boca Chica and wonder what could go wrong.  Am I crazy or does anyone else wonder about it?

 

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1 hour ago, 1978horn said:

Question about Space X and how they build boosters and spaceships.  All my life I have assumed that all the rockets built were in some sort of "clean" environment.  Am I wrong?  I see Space X building rockets out in the open on the beach in Boca Chica and wonder what could go wrong.  Am I crazy or does anyone else wonder about it?

 

The satellites that get launched into space more often than not are built in a clean room like you have in mind, but the rockets that get them to space are more along the lines of a car manufacturing plant; neat and tidy, but not "clean".     What SpaceX is doing in boca chica doesn't build the payload to be launched, i.e. a fragile weather satellite or a communication satellite.  What they are building is the rocket itself, which consists of the outer steel shell, internal pressure tanks, internal plumbing, and installing the rocket engines.   The engines themselves are build in a modern factory in Hawthorne California. 

That said, you are entirely correct in thinking that it's unusual to build part of the rocket right out on the beach.  SpaceX is doing that because they realized that the early prototypes they were started with didn't require a fully completed manufacturing plant and that temporary structures worked just fine.   As their prototypes have gotten more mature, so has the SpaceX complex down in Boca Chica. 

 

If you go a google image search for "building satellites", you get "clean room" images like this:

Science_EMM-Hope-tvac-0210.jpg

 

.... compare that to a google image search for "building rocket engines" where you get things like this: 

AR_RS25EnginesAtStennis5-1_t670.jpg?b3f6

 

...and this is the SpaceX manufacturing site (as of jan 21) down in Boca Chica where they build the rockets before rolling them a few miles down the road to launch.  It's turned into a legit manufacturing operation.

EsI_-llWMAErx8B?format=jpg&name=4096x409

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13 hours ago, 1978horn said:

Question about Space X and how they build boosters and spaceships.  All my life I have assumed that all the rockets built were in some sort of "clean" environment.  Am I wrong?  I see Space X building rockets out in the open on the beach in Boca Chica and wonder what could go wrong.  Am I crazy or does anyone else wonder about it?

 

So, the GF's son was USAF and after that, he was a contractor to SpaceX for a spell before moving on.  

He arranged a tour of the Hawthorne facility for us, on the morning of the Texas at USC game. 

They are building that shit out in the open.  Strictly factory floor. 

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  • 1 month later...

First I'm hearing/reading about this.... SpaceX 2nd stage booster is on track to unintentionally collide with the Moon around March 4th. Its origin mission was to boost a NOAA satellite into a L1 orbit. The open source community is on top of things to collect data on the impact and get meaningful science out of it, but this seems to be the first time anything has unintentionally collided with the moon

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3 minutes ago, Captainant said:

First I'm hearing/reading about this.... SpaceX 2nd stage booster is on track to unintentionally collide with the Moon around March 4th. Its origin mission was to boost a NOAA satellite into a L1 orbit. The open source community is on top of things to collect data on the impact and get meaningful science out of it, but this seems to be the first time anything has unintentionally collided with the moon

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Space.com

SpaceX says a geomagnetic storm just doomed 40 Starlink internet satellites

SpaceX is in the process of losing up to 40 brand-new Starlink internet satellites due to a geomagnetic storm that struck just a day after the fleet's launch last week.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 49 Starlink satellites on Thursday (Feb. 3) from NASA's historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A day later, a geomagnetic storm above Earth increased the density of the atmosphere slightly, increasing drag on the satellites and dooming most of them.

"Preliminary analysis show the increased drag at the low altitudes prevented the satellites from leaving safe mode to begin orbit-raising maneuvers, and up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere," SpaceX wrote in an update Tuesday (Feb. 8).

Geomagnetic storms occur when intense solar wind near Earth spawns shifting currents and plasmas in Earth's magnetosphere, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center , which is operated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This interaction can warm Earth's upper atmosphere and increase atmospheric density high enough above the planet to affect satellites in low orbits like SpaceX's new Starlink craft. Friday's geomagnetic storm came on the heels of a sun eruption on Jan. 30 that sent a wave of charged particles toward Earth that was expected to arrive on Feb. 2. 

The 49 satellites SpaceX launched last week were deployed in an initial orbit that skimmed as low as 130 miles (210 kilometers) above Earth at its lowest point. SpaceX has said it intentionally releases Starlink batches in a low orbit so that they can be disposed of swiftly in case of a failure just after launch. That orbit design, it turned out, left the fleet vulnerable to Friday's geomagnetic storm.

"In fact, onboard GPS suggests the escalation speed and severity of the storm caused atmospheric drag to increase up to 50 percent higher than during previous launches," SpaceX wrote in its update. The satellites were then placed in a protective "safe mode" and commanded to fly edge-on "like a sheet of paper" to minimize drag effects as the company worked with the U.S. Space Force and the company LeoLabs to track them with ground-based radar, it added. 

"The deorbiting satellites pose zero collision risk with other satellites and by design demise upon atmospheric reentry — meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground," SpaceX wrote of the satellites' reentry. "This unique situation demonstrates the great lengths the Starlink team has gone to ensure the system is on the leading edge of on-orbit debris mitigation."

SpaceX's Starlink launch last week, called the Starlink 4-7 mission, was the company's third Starlink flight of 2022. The 49 satellites aboard were expected to join more than 1,800 other Starlink satellites currently in orbit. The mission was SpaceX's third launch in four days, following the launch of an Italian Earth-observation satellite on Jan. 31 and another for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office on Feb. 2.

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SpaceX has been launching fleets of Starlink satellites, sometimes up to 60 at a time, since 2019 to build a megaconstellation in orbit that could number up to 42,000 satellites one day. The project is aimed at providing high-speed internet access to customers anywhere on Earth, especially in remote or underserved areas, SpaceX has said.

The Starlink project has come under criticism by astronomers due to the megaconstellation's impact on astronomical observations, since the high number of satellites crossing the night sky can leave streaks in telescope views. Since then, SpaceX has worked to limit the visibility of their Starlink satellites to reduce their impact on the astronomy community.

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Huh so it turns out it's NOT a F9 about to hit the moon, and it was initially reported with an error in the info

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/02/actually-a-falcon-9-rocket-is-not-going-to-hit-the-moon/

Quote

About three weeks ago Ars Technica first reported that astronomers were tracking the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, and were increasingly confident that it would strike the Moon on March 4.

...

However, it turns out we were all wrong. A Falcon 9 rocket is not going to, in fact, strike the Moon next month. Instead, it's probably a Chinese rocket.

Bill Gray, who writes the widely used Project Pluto software to track near-Earth objects and was the original source for the Falcon 9 hitting the Moon story, acknowledged the error on his website Saturday. He explained that, back in 2015, he and other observers found an unidentified object in the sky and gave it a temporary name, WE0913A. Further observations suggested it probably was a human-made object, and soon the second stage of the rocket used to launch DSCOVR became a prime candidate.

"I thought it was either DSCOVR or some bit of hardware associated with it," Gray wrote Saturday. "Further data confirmed that yes, WE0913A had gone past the moon two days after DSCOVR's launch, and I and others came to accept the identification with the second stage as correct. The object had about the brightness we would expect, and had showed up at the expected time and moving in a reasonable orbit"

...

It was an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Jon Giorgini, who realized this object was not in fact the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket. He wrote to Gray on Saturday morning explaining that the DSCOVR spacecraft's trajectory did not go particularly close to the Moon, and that it would therefore be a little strange if the second stage strayed close enough to strike it. This prompted Gray to dig back into his data, and identify other potential candidates.

He soon found one—the Chinese Chang'e 5-T1 mission launched in October 2014 on a Long March 3C rocket. This lunar mission sent a small spacecraft to the Moon as a precursor test for an eventual lunar sample return mission. The launch time and lunar trajectory are almost an exact match for the orbit of the object that will hit the Moon in March.

Tldr: a few years back a blogger misidentified an object in space as belonging to a space X upper stage. Recently that object was calculated to have a moon striking potential coming up. Dude at NASA looked at the  news and quickly figured out that the object was no where near where the space X upper stage would be. He traced the orbit backwards and it’s a Chinese rocket. 

Edited by Captainant
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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

SpaceX crew dragon launch to the ISS in T-minus 2 hours 18 minutes

 

Edit: interesting detail I just read, they're reflying the crew demo 1 capsule Endeavor and it'll be the fifth flight of this particular booster. First 100% private ISS flight too

Edited by Captainant
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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Since all the previous Starliner talk was in this thread, keeping it here. Boeing Starliner reflight of their failed test flight has launched and in orbit, en route to docking ISS.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/05/todays-the-day-when-boeings-starliner-takes-to-the-skies-probably/

 

 

One hiccup they've gotten past, from this article at WSJ:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-tries-again-to-fly-its-starliner-spacecraft-to-space-station-11652982215

Quote

Boeing and NASA officials said later Thursday that two of the thrusters used to maneuver the Starliner in orbit failed to work. After those failures, a third thruster activated and allowed the vehicle to complete a key maneuver, according to Mark Nappi, a Boeing vice president focused on the Starliner program.

 

Edited by Sam Lin
add WSJ blurb
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On 5/19/2022 at 11:49 PM, Sam Lin said:

Since all the previous Starliner talk was in this thread, keeping it here. Boeing Starliner reflight of their failed test flight has launched and in orbit, en route to docking ISS.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/05/todays-the-day-when-boeings-starliner-takes-to-the-skies-probably/

 

 

One hiccup they've gotten past, from this article at WSJ:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-tries-again-to-fly-its-starliner-spacecraft-to-space-station-11652982215

 

It's going to start its atmospheric reentry at around 5:30

 

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