Sept, not good month for rocket launches

 
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Despite the promise of an exciting month for rocket launches in the USA, it was actually a huge disappointment.

ULA is struggling to get that Delta IV Heavy with its classified payload in the air with two short notice aborts, one at T-7 and another T-3.

SpaceX has suffered a number of delays with Starlink 12, 13 and GPS III-04, all being pushed back due to ULA, weather, one auto abort at T-18 and another Hold called by the Launch Director at T-33 due to weather which wasn't in the go position for the previous 30min or so that I was watching and never looked like it. The poor old drone ships and farring catch ships were rocking and rolling. Have to wonder if it was a case of Musk or similar saying F-it, keep counting down until the last 30sec if you have to just in case Mosses of the sky parts the clouds.

If we go back to May, Falcon 9 did an on pad abort after ignition what must have been micro sec's prior to the clamps letting go.


While aborts are better than bangs, its lucky none of the pay loads were headed to Mars, otherwise they maybe waiting another 2 years.

For Oct we now have
ULA Delta IV Heavy
2 x SpaceX Starlink 12 & 13 and potentially a 3rd Starlink 14 although I doubt it.
1 x SpaceX GPS III-4
1 x SpaceX Crew 1 (which will get priority over everything else

Additionally the Kiwi's have two Electron rocket launches planned.

...and likely the most exciting regardless of the outcome, Starship 20km test flight in full kit. One way or another this should be fairly spectacular.

Sponsored advertisement

  Carnot Minister for Railways

At least the Antares ISS supply rocket got off the pad today. Among its cargo is a USD$23 million toilet (I kid you not!)

And let's not forget the big boom in Alaska last month:


https://youtu.be/q2izFjTEBKQ

As for the Chinese, they launched at Satellite but nearly dropped the first stage on a school!


https://youtu.be/GjlB48N7Tus

Maybe Covid-19 is causing issues with personnel atm?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

There's also another New Shepard flight scheduled for this month after being scrubbed due to weather in September. This one will incorporate a test of NASA hardware that will be used for descent and landing operations on Artemis moon landers.

October is already off to a messy start for US launches, with four late aborts and only one launch.

NROL-44 aborted at T-7
Starlink 12 aborted at T-15
CRS-NG-14 aborted at T-2:40
CRS-NG-14 launched on second attempt
GPS III-04 aborted at T-2

I'd be surprised if Crew 1 launches on time, going on the SpaceX backlog. National security launches (including GPS) are absolute priority and SpaceX also has FCC timetable obligations to meet for Starlink.

That NASA is sticking with a Crew Dragon capsules launched on Falcon 9 flights indicates they are quite accepting of the fact there might be delays. They have two options available if schedule reliability starts to become more important - put NASA astronauts on Soyuz flights again, or put a Crew Dragon on top of an Atlas V.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
There's also another New Shepard flight scheduled for this month after being scrubbed due to weather in September. This one will incorporate a test of NASA hardware that will be used for descent and landing operations on Artemis moon landers.

October is already off to a messy start for US launches, with four late aborts and only one launch.

NROL-44 aborted at T-7
Starlink 12 aborted at T-15
CRS-NG-14 aborted at T-2:40
CRS-NG-14 launched on second attempt
GPS III-04 aborted at T-2

I'd be surprised if Crew 1 launches on time, going on the SpaceX backlog. National security launches (including GPS) are absolute priority and SpaceX also has FCC timetable obligations to meet for Starlink.

That NASA is sticking with a Crew Dragon capsules launched on Falcon 9 flights indicates they are quite accepting of the fact there might be delays. They have two options available if schedule reliability starts to become more important - put NASA astronauts on Soyuz flights again, or put a Crew Dragon on top of an Atlas V.
justapassenger
Thanks, I forgot to add the New Shepherd scrub and didn't count the others.

There is one thing that will not happen and Soyuz will not be used. The whole thing for the Demo flight was such a political promotional event that the US will not be able to easily walk back to Russian's, National Pride will not let them and the crew are probably not trained to do so.

I also doubt despite other priorities Crew-1 flight will be delayed, again National Pride on the eve of an election at this stage of the game is unlikely to let them.  Starliner also should come on line next year, using pad 41. The next test flight being in Dec

This the current line up.

If Starlink 12 gets away within the next week (planned for 5th), then this clears 39A ready for Crew-1 at the end of the month (31st). Crew 1 will only launch from Pad 39A.

GPS III-04 is on Pad 40, once it gets away (hopefully on 4th) Starlink 13 will follow up 10 days later on 10th and Starlink 14 10-14 days later.

So overall I cannot see Starlink 13, 14 and GPS III-04 causing problems for Crew-1.

ULA is on Pad 37, so no issues there. Falcon 9 booster if landing on shore "flys" (its a pipe in free fall) past it ok, already has once.

Who'd have thought that with so many launch pads at the Cape plus other options, there would be a backlog.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

NASA have one astronaut going to the ISS on next week's Soyuz launch, so it looks like the advantage of having multiple options available is enough to override National Pride.

I doubt that SpaceX can compress the Crew 1 launch campaign into less than four weeks with all the extra detail that applies to crewed flights while concurrently maintaining multiple launch campaigns on SLC-40.

Demo-2 needed over five weeks from the previous SLC-39 launch to the first launch attempt, and that was heavily advantaged by there being nothing much going on at SLC-40 (i.e. freeing up staff) for most of the time.

It's important to consider the implications for SpaceX of rushing the Crew 1 launch as well as the implications for NASA of a delay. SpaceX could survive losing a Falcon 9 during an unmanned flight - they'd probably face a year's worth of purchasing Atlas V or Antares 230 launches for Starlink during return to flight and two years of Atlas V launches for Crew Dragons until they regain crew rating. Lose a F9 during a crew mission and it's curtains for the company.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
NASA have one astronaut going to the ISS on next week's Soyuz launch, so it looks like the advantage of having multiple options available is enough to override National Pride.

I doubt that SpaceX can compress the Crew 1 launch campaign into less than four weeks with all the extra detail that applies to crewed flights while concurrently maintaining multiple launch campaigns on SLC-40.

Demo-2 needed over five weeks from the previous SLC-39 launch to the first launch attempt, and that was heavily advantaged by there being nothing much going on at SLC-40 (i.e. freeing up staff) for most of the time.

It's important to consider the implications for SpaceX of rushing the Crew 1 launch as well as the implications for NASA of a delay. SpaceX could survive losing a Falcon 9 during an unmanned flight - they'd probably face a year's worth of purchasing Atlas V or Antares 230 launches for Starlink during return to flight and two years of Atlas V launches for Crew Dragons until they regain crew rating. Lose a F9 during a crew mission and it's curtains for the company.
justapassenger
Yeah well, Crew-1 hasn't even flown yet and the Boeing Starliner is with the 737-Max for problem resolution so NASA probably hasn't cancelled the contract with Russia just yet or at least there are existing commitments in place but new will not follow.

No need to compress, provided the Starlink rocket gets away with sufficient gap they are good to go. As the Crew-1 schedule hasn't slipped (again) yet then you can only assume they are good with the gap. The rocket has been ready for a while.

It need that time, or was it just the schedule? As far as I understood the Demo flight timing was locked in for months. Last time there was supposed to be a flight not long before Starlink 7 from Pad 40 if I recall, but it was delayed and then as they only one drone ship it was cutting it too fine for the drone ship to come back in and get back out and thats if the Booster didn't face plant onto the deck and break stuff. So Starlink 7 was postponed until 1 week after Demo-2. Now they have two drone ships, so that problem is resolved.

There will no rushing of Crew-1 or any other. Anyone in NASA, SpaceX or their suppliers who tries to rush or push for a launch without 100% in check will be quickly pointed in the direction of the Challenger Memorial.

In 2 days after hopefully Starlink 12 gets away on time or not and see how this impacts on the Crew-1 schedule. At the moment I'm guessing that as Starlink 12 is sitting on the launch pad it has to go before Crew-1 can fly, no by-passing.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
At least the Antares ISS supply rocket got off the pad today. Among its cargo is a USD$23 million toilet (I kid you not!)

Carnot
Yeah, hard to believe but if you want to have a #1 or #2 in space without it being a "project" each time multiple times a day, or worse having bits of #1/#2 floating around in the air you breath. Still hard to imagine why so much?
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Watched a blue origins flight on YouTube. Ring flawles nice flight but only sub orbital ?

Was not aware who they were until
Yesterday. Will they be able to access the ISS also ?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Watched a blue origins flight on YouTube. Ring flawles nice flight but only sub orbital ?

Was not aware who they were until
Yesterday. Will they be able to access the ISS also ?
freightgate
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Glenn

I believe the New Glenn rocket will eventually be able to, it hasn't flown yet.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

New Glenn is a heavy lift launcher.

It might be in the running for the launch of a new module to the ISS, but I can't see it being used for resupply or crew transfers unless it is contracted by one of the other ISS partner with more open views to ride share payloads than NASA.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
New Glenn is a heavy lift launcher.

It might be in the running for the launch of a new module to the ISS, but I can't see it being used for resupply or crew transfers unless it is contracted by one of the other ISS partner with more open views to ride share payloads than NASA.
justapassenger
Will be a few years before getting human rated to access ISS and NASA has already gone open tender on this, chosen its two suppliers, one has an upcoming first non-demo launch and the other hopefully by mid next year.

Overall you have to wonder how many of the rocket companies will survive. If you don't have a reusable rocket into LEO or slightly higher by say 2025 you are likely out of the game for most commercial and scientific applications. Only specialised low frequency, very heavy to higher orbit or beyond earths orbit will justify the high cost single use rockets, but for how long?

I know some people here don't like Musk, but SpaceX has done to the rocket industry as Tesla has done for the car industry. which is basically sent out the wake up call to the established players that their industry lacks initiative and the rest of us are sick of waiting.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
5th of Oct came and went and Falcon 9's payload GPS III-04 sitting on B1062.1 is still sitting at SLC-40 launch pad with no sign of an attempted launch.

Meanwhile Starlink 12 siting on B1058.3 at LC-39A is still listed as a 7:51AM (USA EST) launch

I suspect if the above occurs, its because they need Starlink 12 to go and go now to leave themselves plenty of time to ready B1061.1 Crew-1 on also on LC-39A launch currently scheduled for the 31st.

Could be wrong, but GPS-111-04 and the follow-up launch scheduled for the 10th Starlink 13, both from SLC-40 will have to fit in around Starlink 12 and Crew-1.

Meanwhile Delta Heavy is still TBA launch.

Perhaps Cape Canaveral is simply a too unreliable weather location for intensive schedule launches into space increasing frustration. Frustration leads to short-cuts, which leads to repeat events like the Challenger.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

New Glenn is a heavy lift launcher.

It might be in the running for the launch of a new module to the ISS, but I can't see it being used for resupply or crew transfers unless it is contracted by one of the other ISS partner with more open views to ride share payloads than NASA.
Will be a few years before getting human rated to access ISS and NASA has already gone open tender on this, chosen its two suppliers, one has an upcoming first non-demo launch and the other hopefully by mid next year.
RTT_Rules
Reading for comprehension isn't really your strong point.

New Glenn is a heavy lift launcher, completely inappropriate for NASA's approach to ISS resupply and crew transfers where ride share payloads (other than Cubesats) are banned.

The other ISS partners can make their own rules with respect to ride sharing, so Blue Origin could theoretically have New Glenn in the running for ISS resupply contracts with other mid-size payloads on the same launch.

Where a New Glenn might be able to do ISS work for NASA is if the US ever builds another ISS module and needs to have it launched. NASA does have form for going outside their regular launch service providers when the required capabilities aren't available - e.g. the James Webb Space Telescope launching on an Ariane 5 next year.

Overall you have to wonder how many of the rocket companies will survive. If you don't have a reusable rocket into LEO or slightly higher by say 2025 you are likely out of the game for most commercial and scientific applications. Only specialised low frequency, very heavy to higher orbit or beyond earths orbit will justify the high cost single use rockets, but for how long?
RTT_Rules
So long as they all keep offering different products that serve different needs, most of the US launch providers should stick around for a fair while - even Northrop Grumman who are well positioned in the medium lift sector where other providers are abandoning it.

ULA will make significant gains on the cost front with Vulcan Centaur (which will eventually be partially reusable like Falcon 9) and it will be interesting to see if SpaceX can respond by improving their reliability to avoid the cost/reliability equilibrium shifting significantly in ULA's favour.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
New Glenn is a heavy lift launcher.

It might be in the running for the launch of a new module to the ISS, but I can't see it being used for resupply or crew transfers unless it is contracted by one of the other ISS partner with more open views to ride share payloads than NASA.
Will be a few years before getting human rated to access ISS and NASA has already gone open tender on this, chosen its two suppliers, one has an upcoming first non-demo launch and the other hopefully by mid next year.
Reading for comprehension isn't really your strong point.

New Glenn is a heavy lift launcher, completely inappropriate for NASA's approach to ISS resupply and crew transfers where ride share payloads (other than Cubesats) are banned.

The other ISS partners can make their own rules with respect to ride sharing, so Blue Origin could theoretically have New Glenn in the running for ISS resupply contracts with other mid-size payloads on the same launch.

Where a New Glenn might be able to do ISS work for NASA is if the US ever builds another ISS module and needs to have it launched. NASA does have form for going outside their regular launch service providers when the required capabilities aren't available - e.g. the James Webb Space Telescope launching on an Ariane 5 next year.

Overall you have to wonder how many of the rocket companies will survive. If you don't have a reusable rocket into LEO or slightly higher by say 2025 you are likely out of the game for most commercial and scientific applications. Only specialised low frequency, very heavy to higher orbit or beyond earths orbit will justify the high cost single use rockets, but for how long?
So long as they all keep offering different products that serve different needs, most of the US launch providers should stick around for a fair while - even Northrop Grumman who are well positioned in the medium lift sector where other providers are abandoning it.

ULA will make significant gains on the cost front with Vulcan Centaur (which will eventually be partially reusable like Falcon 9) and it will be interesting to see if SpaceX can respond by improving their reliability to avoid the cost/reliability equilibrium shifting significantly in ULA's favour.
justapassenger
Something about stones and glass houses comes to mind.

Back to rockets
Vulcan is bigger than F9 so clearly some benefits there.

The issue for the "specialised" lifts is frequency and impact on costs, which is fine for those tasks no one else can do but still encur high overheads. One of SpaceX's benefits is that is moving quickly to 4 launches per month schedule, this clearly reduces its overheads on unit cost. So yes if you need a satellite put somewhere no one else can, then you are in. But if you are trying to use the same hardware to compete with the "delivery van rocket providers", you are out of the water potentially even if the likes of SpaceX had to fully expend a FH to do the job.

Coming in later means their Vulcan rocket should be state of the art and have benefits over the others, but if they are just playing catchup, who knows.

It will likely the Vulcan until at least 2025 to get human rated, especially as its a new rocket. They will need a reasonable amount of work to get the data they need to demonstrate reliability. Plus are they willing to invest the money to do so for what maybe small return unless ISS becomes a hotel (likely within a few years) or an alternative destination.

Again going back to SpaceX, they have been able to leverage their own intensive Starlink program to develop the F9 further and faster including cost saving recovery. If Musk wasn't so single focused on Starship, I'm sure they would have a viable option and likely in test on how to recover the 2nd stage by now.  But then maybe he's right and the whole F9 / Vulcan type rocket approach is old school and Starship is the future in accessing space? Regardless F9 only has about 4-5 more years of flying before its due to be cancelled and replaced by Starship so time will tell.

Back to today, Starlink 12 is getting close to launch time (yes, we have been there done that a few times already for this one).
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
5th of Oct came and went and Falcon 9's payload GPS III-04 sitting on B1062.1 is still sitting at SLC-40 launch pad with no sign of an attempted launch.

Meanwhile Starlink 12 siting on B1058.3 at LC-39A is still listed as a 7:51AM (USA EST) launch

I suspect if the above occurs, its because they need Starlink 12 to go and go now to leave themselves plenty of time to ready B1061.1 Crew-1 on also on LC-39A launch currently scheduled for the 31st.

Could be wrong, but GPS-111-04 and the follow-up launch scheduled for the 10th Starlink 13, both from SLC-40 will have to fit in around Starlink 12 and Crew-1.

Meanwhile Delta Heavy is still TBA launch.

Perhaps Cape Canaveral is simply a too unreliable weather location for intensive schedule launches into space increasing frustration. Frustration leads to short-cuts, which leads to repeat events like the Challenger.
RTT_Rules
Ok so Starlink 12 got finally got away on time today and cleared the pad (39A) to enable Crew-1 to readied for launch at the end of the month.

Now back to getting GPS-III-04 off SLC-40 and following that maybe even Starlink 13 before the end of the month.

....and ULA at SLC-37

Elsewhere there are others such as Electron etc.


Hopefully a busy month of successful launches.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Latest update

Pad 40 is going to be a hive of activity over coming weeks. i wonder how many tweets by the boss will be required to get all this off the ground. Pad 40 in order of launches

1) GPS III-04 is still listed as "Oct sometime"

2) NROL - 108 25th Oct, also noted as booster return to Cape Canaveral due to payload being light. (would be exciting to be there for this one)

3) Starlink 13 pushed out to be TBA

4) Starlink 14 pushed out to be TBA

5) SXM-7 on 6th Nov


Pad 39 is however very quiet

1) Crew 1 - 31st Oct

2) CRS -21 (Dragon 2 freighter), 22nd Nov


Vandenerg also has a SpaceX launch on the 10th.

Still waiting on ULA
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Back to rockets
Vulcan is bigger than F9 so clearly some benefits there.

The issue for the "specialised" lifts is frequency and impact on costs, which is fine for those tasks no one else can do but still encur high overheads. One of SpaceX's benefits is that is moving quickly to 4 launches per month schedule, this clearly reduces its overheads on unit cost. So yes if you need a satellite put somewhere no one else can, then you are in. But if you are trying to use the same hardware to compete with the "delivery van rocket providers", you are out of the water potentially even if the likes of SpaceX had to fully expend a FH to do the job.

Coming in later means their Vulcan rocket should be state of the art and have benefits over the others, but if they are just playing catchup, who knows.

It will likely the Vulcan until at least 2025 to get human rated, especially as its a new rocket. They will need a reasonable amount of work to get the data they need to demonstrate reliability. Plus are they willing to invest the money to do so for what maybe small return unless ISS becomes a hotel (likely within a few years) or an alternative destination.
RTT_Rules
Vulcan Centaur will initially use an evolution of the Centaur III second stage that is part of the human rated version of the Atlas V, so that's a fair chunk of the work already done. There's no catching up to do there, Centaur III is at least a decade ahead of the Falcon 9 second stage.

The Vulcan first stage will probably have enough data to get a rating by mid-2023, between the launches that are already booked for NASA, US national security and the SNC Dream Chaser autonomous spaceplane. Human rating was part of the design brief, which should shorten the process compared to a platform like Falcon 9 which needed the Block 5 upgrade for that.

The US Air Force seems confident enough in Vulcan Centaur to award ULA 60% of the next round of national security launches. SpaceX got the remainder which will help pay for the Starship program.

ULA's advantage is not so much that they can put a payload where nobody else can, but that they can launch exactly the same payloads when nobody else can. That's why they get all the Mars launches for NASA and the Atlas V is the backup option for Crew Dragon launches if a Falcon 9 goes boom and takes a couple of years for NASA to trust it again.

Again going back to SpaceX, they have been able to leverage their own intensive Starlink program to develop the F9 further and faster including cost saving recovery. If Musk wasn't so single focused on Starship, I'm sure they would have a viable option and likely in test on how to recover the 2nd stage by now.  
RTT_Rules
The update that SpaceX should be focusing on for the Falcon 9 second stage is not deorbit/re-entry/recovery, but catching up to the standard of performance set by the current Centaur III back when Ian Thorpe was a promising young talent tipped to have a decent chance of a medal or two at the upcoming Sydney Olympics.

It looks like SpaceX are committed to making the best of awkward Florida weather for the remainder of the F9/FH life cycle, so they should be looking at upgrades to turn instantaneous launch windows (remember the T-17min abort on Demo-2 which would have been a go for Atlas V?) into longer launch windows.

But then maybe he's right and the whole F9 / Vulcan type rocket approach is old school and Starship is the future in accessing space? Regardless F9 only has about 4-5 more years of flying before its due to be cancelled and replaced by Starship so time will tell.

Back to today, Starlink 12 is getting close to launch time (yes, we have been there done that a few times already for this one).
RTT_Rules
I bet that Falcon 9 will fly alongside Starship for a minimum of five years, because Starship has been ruled out for national security launches and won't get a human rating without an abort system.

Pad 39 is however very quiet

1) Crew 1 - 31st Oct

2) CRS -21 (Dragon 2 freighter), 22nd Nov
RTT_Rules
My guess is that compressing the five week 'all hands' launch campaign of Demo-2 into three weeks and adding extra complexity (4 crew instead of 2) will be too hard now that it has to run in parallel with two high priority SLC-40 launches.

There are also two high priority ULA launches which may complicate range access towards the end of the month - NROL-44 once the ground equipment issues are fixed and NROL-101 on an Atlas V (first Atlas V with the new GEM63 solid rocket boosters) which will probably claim highest priority of all due to being the platform most likely to launch on time.

Best move might be to let Crew-1 slip into the second week of November and then use the current targeted launch date for SpX-CRS-21 to demonstrate a fast turn around.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Centaur has near 60 years of development history, it should be better than F9, however within 10 years of development SpaceX designed the Falcon family and started landing the booster reliably and in the process launch cut costs by 30% or there abouts (not sure the latest number).  if not for them, most of the legacy operators would still be using the Nth Atlantic as a booster dumping ground for many years to come. SpaceX has almost landed more Boosters than Centaur 2 has had launches.

Even Peter Beck has been forced to publicly admit he was wrong on booster recovery and now in final stages of development.

Still waiting on the others to catch up on the farring recoveries.

I enjoy space from all sides, but it seems that for the last 10 years one company is leading and the rest are trying to catch up with their old ways of accessing space. I mean hell, poor old ULA still has the Delta IV heavy sitting there after 6+ weeks and still no signs of going. Thats all good and well for dumping crap into LEO or GSO where windows are more frequent and easy, but if you facing narrow windows for long interplantory ....... Yes they got the Mars rover away as scheduled, great! But this isn't helping their profile.

SpaceX also made rocket launches fun again, by running their own Youtube broadcast and providing multi point imaging throughout the flight. Most of the others you are lucky to get a view to LEO on the booster from one angle. The live video coverage of the FH test launch and booster recovery is still an amazing visual display of modern engineering which helps get support for the industry and funding for science.

F9's 2nd stage advanced development was stopped. It works, does the job, yes we don't like dumping them in the south Pacific, but so be and focus on Starship.

Agree, the abort thing is interesting. There are very strong stats to say its not needed (airline industry is an example of why planes are not fitted with them), but still, not sure I'm ready to go without! To date only one flight abort has been used (successfully only 2 years back) and Challenger would have more than likely been a different story if it had one that worked in that application. Gemini's abort system would have more than likely been lethal had it been used, but we have come along way since. Using the Russian design intent, it would have. Still no reason for Starship not to have one, just needs to be different approach in the design. Probably push the crew capsule out the nose.

What upgrades were done to Block V to make it human rated, my understanding was most changes were done for refurb and recovery purposes.

At this time I do not see Crew-1 being delayed for ULA at all. There are 24 days to go, they have the option to use any of them.

2 extra crew on board does not impact of vehicle prep time. The rocket is ready, it just needs to be moved into position and lifted up.


Don't know the details of the assembly or other, but CRS-21 may or may not be able to brought forward and there maybe issues in doing so for timing of follow up missions. Also no published that I can find which booster they plan to use on CRS-21, it may or may not be ready before that date.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Crew 1 has been pushed back to at least mid-November, over concerns it may have the same engine faults that caused the failed ignition on GPS III-04 a couple of weeks ago. As I predicted, Crew 1 got postponed way before we got to find out if there were any range clashes with ULA priority launches.

Starlink 1.0-13 will go next from 39A.

Maintaining a high operational tempo with just two launch pads and two hangars at Cape Canaveral seems to be the difficulty for SpaceX. This isn't the first time that they've had a hot streak with a whole lot of closely spaced launches, followed by a run of technical gremlins once it catches up with them.

With that in mind, I wonder if it wouldn't be the craziest thing for SpaceX to look at purchasing the Space Systems division from Northrop Grumman? They obviously wouldn't care about Cygnus or the Antares first stage, but it could be worth it to get the Wallops Island launch sites  (to reduce their dependence on two pads and two hangars in Florida) and all the solid rocket tech (NGSS owns the GEM, Castor, Star and STS/SLS SRB series) which stands to play an important part in the Mars Sample Return mission which will be the precursor to any manned mission.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Crew 1 has been pushed back to at least mid-November, over concerns it may have the same engine faults that caused the failed ignition on GPS III-04 a couple of weeks ago. As I predicted, Crew 1 got postponed way before we got to find out if there were any range clashes with ULA priority launches.

Starlink 1.0-13 will go next from 39A.

Maintaining a high operational tempo with just two launch pads and two hangars at Cape Canaveral seems to be the difficulty for SpaceX. This isn't the first time that they've had a hot streak with a whole lot of closely spaced launches, followed by a run of technical gremlins once it catches up with them.

With that in mind, I wonder if it wouldn't be the craziest thing for SpaceX to look at purchasing the Space Systems division from Northrop Grumman? They obviously wouldn't care about Cygnus or the Antares first stage, but it could be worth it to get the Wallops Island launch sites  (to reduce their dependence on two pads and two hangars in Florida) and all the solid rocket tech (NGSS owns the GEM, Castor, Star and STS/SLS SRB series) which stands to play an important part in the Mars Sample Return mission which will be the precursor to any manned mission.
justapassenger
Ok, thanks for the update. But did you predict a technical postponement? Laughing

Its interesting that the brand new boosters are the ones with technical issues, meanwhile Booster B1051.6, no concerns, off you go for flight #6. I think NASA has cleared SpaceX to reuse boosters for Crew-2, maybe things might be more reliable.

Anyway, SpaceX has built how many Booster's with what 99% reliability and now they have engine fault in the design?

Why not just build a 3rd pad at the Cape, plenty of spares? From the video I've seen from inside the hanger's it doesn't look highly complex. Launch tower for non-crewed flight is also fairly basic.

However a 3rd location such as Virgina or Boca Chica may help with the weather issues, next year there are supposed to 48 launches, not alot of room for error.

To the best of my knowledge SpaceX have no interest in SRB's. SRB's do not align with their vision of 100% reusability.  

Meanwhile over on pad 41, what 2 months now, nothing. They have been building these things for how long, what could have gone so horribly wrong they have two months delay?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Ok, thanks for the update. But did you predict a technical postponement? Laughing

Its interesting that the brand new boosters are the ones with technical issues, meanwhile Booster B1051.6, no concerns, off you go for flight #6. I think NASA has cleared SpaceX to reuse boosters for Crew-2, maybe things might be more reliable.
RTT_Rules
I’m fairly confident that I correctly predicted the root cause for the postponement.

Anyway, SpaceX has built how many Booster's with what 99% reliability and now they have engine fault in the design?
RTT_Rules
Problems would surely be due to production, not the design. See previous comments about unsustainable tempo.

Why not just build a 3rd pad at the Cape, plenty of spares? From the video I've seen from inside the hanger's it doesn't look highly complex. Launch tower for non-crewed flight is also fairly basic.

However a 3rd location such as Virgina or Boca Chica may help with the weather issues, next year there are supposed to 48 launches, not alot of room for error.
RTT_Rules
Dissimilar redundancy, plus the opportunity to completely avoid Cape Canaveral congestion once Vulcan Cemtaur, New Glenn and SLS are all flying out of there.

My understanding is that Boca Chica is only good for suborbital launches as it does not have access to open ocean.

To the best of my knowledge SpaceX have no interest in SRB's. SRB's do not align with their vision of 100% reusability.  
RTT_Rules
SRBs have been reusable since before Elon made his first rocket out of a coke bottle, so the alignment would be quite good.

Falcon 9 is going to keep on flying for quite some time to serve customers with medium-sized payloads too small for a Starship launch (or requiring a non-standard orbit) so it would make sense to upgrade it to cover more of that market sector.

They are going to have to get used to working with solid rocket motors if they want to go to Mars, so may as well go all in.

I’d love to see a Korolev X on a SpaceX launch broadcast, and it would also add to the experience for those watching live on the ground.

Meanwhile over on pad 41, what 2 months now, nothing. They have been building these things for how long, what could have gone so horribly wrong they have two months delay?
RTT_Rules
Payload didn’t arrive from NRO in August or September. If it’s ready to get put on top of the awaiting Atlas V this time it should launch on time.

SAOCOM 1B had similar problems.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Ok, thanks for the update. But did you predict a technical postponement? Laughing

Its interesting that the brand new boosters are the ones with technical issues, meanwhile Booster B1051.6, no concerns, off you go for flight #6. I think NASA has cleared SpaceX to reuse boosters for Crew-2, maybe things might be more reliable.
I’m fairly confident that I correctly predicted the root cause for the postponement.

Anyway, SpaceX has built how many Booster's with what 99% reliability and now they have engine fault in the design?
Problems would surely be due to production, not the design. See previous comments about unsustainable tempo.

Why not just build a 3rd pad at the Cape, plenty of spares? From the video I've seen from inside the hanger's it doesn't look highly complex. Launch tower for non-crewed flight is also fairly basic.

However a 3rd location such as Virgina or Boca Chica may help with the weather issues, next year there are supposed to 48 launches, not alot of room for error.
Dissimilar redundancy, plus the opportunity to completely avoid Cape Canaveral congestion once Vulcan Cemtaur, New Glenn and SLS are all flying out of there.

My understanding is that Boca Chica is only good for suborbital launches as it does not have access to open ocean.

To the best of my knowledge SpaceX have no interest in SRB's. SRB's do not align with their vision of 100% reusability.  
SRBs have been reusable since before Elon made his first rocket out of a coke bottle, so the alignment would be quite good.

Falcon 9 is going to keep on flying for quite some time to serve customers with medium-sized payloads too small for a Starship launch (or requiring a non-standard orbit) so it would make sense to upgrade it to cover more of that market sector.

They are going to have to get used to working with solid rocket motors if they want to go to Mars, so may as well go all in.

I’d love to see a Korolev X on a SpaceX launch broadcast, and it would also add to the experience for those watching live on the ground.

Meanwhile over on pad 41, what 2 months now, nothing. They have been building these things for how long, what could have gone so horribly wrong they have two months delay?
Payload didn’t arrive from NRO in August or September. If it’s ready to get put on top of the awaiting Atlas V this time it should launch on time.

SAOCOM 1B had similar problems.
justapassenger
I don't recall you saying due to engine issues, more priority or requirement to get the security and starlink sat's in orbit.

Regardless lets move on.

Yes, Boca Chica is a bit limited in direction and still flys over Cuba and Dom Republic etc. But that no longer seems an issue.

Florida itself is 1500km away, is this too close???

SRB's on shuttle cost more to refurbish than new and its alot harder to refuel SRB's in orbit, on the moon or on Mars.

Don't need SRB to get to Mars.

NROL-44 payload has been sitting on that rocket since August.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

No, I said the compressed launch campaign running in parallel to higher priority missions would cause it to be delayed.

If they had the full five week launch campaign with all hands on deck like they did last time around, they could have rebuilt the whole bottom end in the hangar without the launch date slipping. I correctly predicted the root cause.

Pad 41 is the Atlas V with NROL-101 that will launch this month, NROL-44 is on pad 37 with the ground equipment issues.

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