SpaceX Prepares to Deliver Heavyweight SES-9 Satellite to Orbit on Wednesday

Tomorrow's opening launch attempt will be the Upgraded Falcon 9's first foray towards Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). Photo Credit: 45th Space Wing

Tomorrow’s opening launch attempt will be the Upgraded Falcon 9’s first foray toward Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). Photo Credit: 45th Space Wing

For the first time, SpaceX’s Upgraded Falcon 9 booster—which delivered 11 Orbcomm Generation-2 (OG-2) satellites into low-Earth orbit, just before Christmas—will transport its first payload from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., toward a 22,370-mile (36,000-km) Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) on Wednesday, 24 February, when it lofts the heavyweight SES-9 communications satellite on behalf of the Luxembourg-based satellite operator, SES. The first stage of the booster is then expected to attempt an oceanic touchdown on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), nicknamed “Of Course I Still Love You.” When operational at 108.2 degrees East longitude, SES-9 will mark SES’ largest-ever satellite dedicated to communications services in the Asia-Pacific region and represents the company’s first spacecraft to utilize electric propulsion. Speaking last year, SES President and CEO Karim Michel Sabbagh stressed that SES-9 will help to “add significant growth capacity to serve the strong demand for video in international markets.”  

Although SpaceX has to date successfully delivered seven communications satellites to GTO—beginning with SES-8, back in December 2013, and most recently TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat in April 2015—the Hawthorne, Calif.-headquartered launch servicers provider has yet to do so atop its Upgraded Falcon 9. The latter, as detailed in a previous AmericaSpace article, is also known as “Full Thrust,” because its nine Merlin 1D+ first-stage engines and its single Merlin 1D+ Vacuum second-stage engine will operate at their full, 100-percent power level. This is in contrast to the 80 percent of rated performance seen by the Falcon 9 v1.1, which flew its final mission last month, and the Upgraded Falcon 9 also benefits from a further 13 percent of additional performance, accrued through a range of structural enhancements to the vehicle’s airframe and a process of “densifying” and increasing the liquid oxygen propellant load. All told, this produces a performance “gain” of 33 percent in the Upgraded Falcon 9 over the v1.1. The new also stands about 5.6 feet (1.6 meters) taller than its predecessor, topping-off at 229.6 feet (70 meters).

Under original plans, SES-9 was slated to be SpaceX’s first Upgraded Falcon 9 payload, targeted to launch no later than September 2015, but these efforts were thwarted and placed on indefinite hold as the company wrestled with restoring its fleet of boosters to flight status, having catastrophically lost the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)-7 Dragon mission on 28 June. However, as outlined by AmericaSpace’s Mike Killian last fall, SpaceX and SES agreed to switch SES-9 with the OG-2 payload. Since the OG-2 satellites were headed for low-Earth orbit and did not require a second “burn” of the Upgraded Falcon 9’s second stage to achieve their desired position, it made sense to fly this mission, then test the re-light capability of the Merlin 1D+ Vacuum engine, before committing with confidence to the higher-energy, GTO-bound SES-9 mission.

Encapsulated within its two-piece (or "bisector") Payload Fairing (PLF), the SES-9 satellite is readied for integration with the Upgraded Falcon 9 booster. Photo Credit: SES/Twitter

Encapsulated within its two-piece (or “bisector”) Payload Fairing (PLF), the SES-9 satellite is readied for integration with the Upgraded Falcon 9 booster. Photo Credit: SES/Twitter

Previously described by Space News as a “high priority” payload, the delays to SES-9 are reportedly one reason why SES trimmed its 2016 revenue projections. Last month, SES outlined an 11.3-percent growth on television channels in 2015 and noted that the SES-9 and SES-10 satellites “will drive growth by delivering a total of 80 additional transponders in Asia and Latin America, with important pre-fill rates underwritten by customer agreements.” SES presently operates a fleet of more than 50 geostationary satellites in over 30 orbital “slots,” which provide in excess of 7,200 television channels, as well as radio channels and satellite communications services to worldwide business and government agencies, and reportedly can reach 99 percent of the world’s population. SES’s primary focus is upon Europe and the contiguous United States, with additional coverage of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, SES-9 will mark SES’s largest-ever satellite to handle Asia-Pacific communications traffic.

It officially came into being in October 2012, when Boeing was selected to build the satellite “to serve the fast-growing markets in Asia,” with the intention that it would be placed at 108.2 degrees East longitude “and provide incremental as well as replacement capacity” in an orbital slot co-located with the SES-7 satellite. Specifically, it was expected that SES-9 would provide direct-to-home broadcasting and other services to 22.29 million households in north-eastern Asia, south Asia, and Indonesia, as well as maritime communications in the Indian Ocean.

Fabricated at Boeing’s Satellite Development Center in El Segundo, Calif., SES-9 is based upon the proven 702HP spacecraft “bus.” With a mass of 11,750 pounds (5,330 kg), its tailored payload module interfaces with the main bus at four locations, and with just six electrical connectors, for simplicity and cost efficiency. It also utilizes an advanced Xenon Ion Propulsion System (XIPS), which reportedly provides 10 times more efficiency than liquid fuels, with a quartet of station-keeping thrusters. Six early 702 missions suffered problems with their solar array concentrators, whose cells tended to outgas at a higher-than-predicted rate and caused them to become “fogged” and reduced the satellites’ operational lifetimes. This problem was later corrected a pair of six-paneled triple-junction gallium arsenide cells. SES-9’s 12.7-kilowatt communications payload includes 57 high-power Ku-band transponders, and the satellite is expected to remain operational for 15 years. The satellite was delivered to Cape Canaveral in December 2015, with launch initially targeted for late January 2016.

With SpaceX’s successful return to flight—and a triumphant “shakedown” of the Upgraded Falcon 9 on 21 December—it was announced in early February that the 24th had been established for an opening launch attempt for SES-9. The Eastern Range had provided a backup opportunity on 25 February, to guard against weather or technical issues. At the same time, SES revealed that—in order to mitigate the negative impact of several months of delays—SpaceX had agreed to support “a mission modification” to reduce the amount of time needed for the satellite to reach its orbital slot. SES-9’s heavy weight places it beyond the nominal capabilities the Upgraded Falcon 9 and it was intended that SpaceX would boost it to a “sub-GTO orbit,” after which the satellite would employ its own chemical and electric propulsion assets to achieve its final slot about four to six months later. However, it was subsequently decided that modifying the mission profile “will reduce the time needed for SES-9 to reach its orbital slot, keeping the Operational Service Date (OSD) in the third quarter of 2016, as previously foreseen.”

In readiness for the opening launch attempt, the meteorological forecast from the 45th Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base has predicted a 60-percent likelihood of acceptable conditions at T-0 for Wednesday. Citing the development of a low-pressure system along the Gulf Coast and associated clouds and isolated showers over the Space Coast, it was pointed out that atmospheric conditions are expected to become “more unstable” by Tuesday, “as the low-pressure area strengthens and moves east, creating gusty winds, more widespread rain showers and adding the threat of isolated thunderstorms.” Moreover, by Wednesday, the low-pressure system will pull north-east, dragging a cold front which will slowly progress across the Cape, yielding gusty winds, rain showers, and a chance of thunder during the day. However, the front should push south of SLC-40 during Wednesday’s countdown, although the 45th cautioned that clouds may linger until midnight. Consequently, the key Launch Commit Criteria (LCC) for Wednesday are expected to risk violation of the Cumulus and Thick Cloud Rules, as well as Liftoff Winds.

The nine Merlin 1D+ engines roar to life for Monday's Static Fire Test. This milestone cleared the way for the customary Launch Readiness Review (LRR) on Tuesday, prior to Wednesday's scheduled flight. Photo Credit: SpaceX/Twitter

The nine Merlin 1D+ engines roar to life for Monday’s Static Fire Test. This milestone cleared the way for the customary Launch Readiness Review (LRR) on Tuesday, prior to Wednesday’s scheduled flight. Photo Credit: SpaceX/Twitter

In recent days, processing of the Upgraded Falcon 9 and encapsulation of SES-9 into its two-piece (or “bisector”) Payload Fairing (PLF) has proceeded smoothly, with a satisfactory Static Fire Test of the nine Merlin 1D+ first-stage engines performed on Monday, 22 February. “Full-duration static fire completed,” SpaceX tweeted late Monday. “Targeting Wednesday for launch of SES-9 satellite.”

Following the completion of the test, the standard Launch Readiness Review (LRR)—which typically occurs at L-1 day for commercial missions—should take place during Tuesday. At the same time, the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) departed Port of Jacksonville with the Elsbeth III tug at 7:55 p.m. EST on Friday, 19 February, bound for a position in the Atlantic Ocean to await the recovery of the Upgraded Falcon 9’s first stage.

It has previously been stressed by SpaceX that future first-stage recoveries will see a mixture of ASDS landings and “land” landings, dictated by available vehicle performance. Attempts to land Falcon 9 hardware on the ASDS has met with mixed success in recent years. A series of “controlled oceanic touchdowns” in April, July, and September 2014 were followed by three attempts to land on the ASDS: the first, in January 2015, saw the first stage reach the deck, but impact at a 45-degree angle and explode, whilst the second, in April 2015, landed with excessive lateral velocity and toppled over upon impact. More recently, in January 2016, the final Falcon 9 v1.1 came close to a bull’s-eye landing on the ASDS, but was ultimately thwarted by the failure of one of its landing legs to properly latch into position. That said, the Upgraded Falcon 9 succeeded in spectacular fashion in bringing its first stage back to Landing Zone (LZ)-1 at the Cape in December, raising hopes that this enhanced version of SpaceX’s workhorse may yield similar success Wednesday.

Unlike the earlier Falcon v1.1, whose propellants were typically loaded several hours in advance of T-0, the Upgraded Falcon 9 can take advantage of a new fueling regime, which kicks off barely 35 minutes before liftoff. With the opening of Wednesday’s launch window due to open at 6:46 p.m. EST, this regime will see liquid oxygen flowing into the booster’s tanks, chilled to a level much closer to its freezing point than on v1.1 missions. The countdown will reach its final “Go/No-Go” polling point of all stations at T-13 minutes, after which the Terminal Countdown will get underway at T-10 minutes.

During this period, the Merlin 1D+ engines will be chilled, ahead of their ignition sequence. All external power utilities from the Ground Support Equipment (GSE) will be disconnected from the stack, the SES-9 payload will be placed onto internal power, and at T-5 minutes the 90-second process of retracting the “strongback” from the vehicle will get underway. The Flight Termination System (FTS)—tasked with destroying the vehicle in the event of a major accident during ascent—will be placed onto internal power and armed. Fueling will then conclude and the first stage’s propellant tanks will attain their proper flight pressures. The Merlin 1D+ engines will be purged with gaseous nitrogen, and, at T-60 seconds, the SLC-40 complex’s “Niagara” deluge system of 53 nozzles will be activated, flooding the pad surface and flame trench with 30,000 gallons (113,500 liters) of water per minute to suppress acoustic energy radiating from the engine exhausts.

The Upgraded Falcon 9 first flew in December 2015, transporting 11 Orbcomm Generation-2 (OG-2) satellites into low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

The Upgraded Falcon 9 first flew in December 2015, transporting 11 Orbcomm Generation-2 (OG-2) satellites into low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

At T-3 seconds, the nine upgraded Merlin 1D+ engines will roar to life, ramping up to a combined thrust of 1.5 million pounds (680,000 kg). This represents a significantly enhanced propulsive yield over the 1.3 million pounds (590,000 kg) pumped out by the earlier Falcon 9 v1.1. Following computer-commanded health checks, this will produce the correct conditions to release the stack from SLC-40. Although T-0 on Wednesday is set for 6:46 p.m. EST—about 27 minutes after local sunset—the mission benefits from a relatively spacious launch window, which closes at 8:23 p.m.

Immediately after clearing the tower, the booster will execute a combined pitch, roll, and yaw program maneuver, establishing itself onto the proper flight azimuth to inject the SES-9 payload into orbit. Eighty seconds into the uphill climb, the vehicle will exceed the speed of sound and experienced a period of maximum aerodynamic duress—colloquially dubbed “Max Q”—on its airframe. At about this time, the Merlin 1D+ Vacuum engine of the second stage will undergo a chill-down protocol, ahead of its own ignition later in the ascent. Later, two of the first-stage engines will throttle back, under computer command, in order to reduce the rate of acceleration at the point of Main Engine Cutoff (MECO). Finally, at T+2 minutes and 58 seconds, the seven remaining engines will shut down and, a few seconds later, the first stage will separate from the rapidly ascending stack. The turn will then come for the restartable second stage, whose Merlin 1D+ Vacuum engine will ignite and continue the boost into orbit.

In the event of a 24-hour scrub on Wednesday, the weather prospects are expected to improve slightly by Thursday, to 80-percent favorable. Key concerns center upon a possible violation of Liftoff Winds. “On Thursday, skies clear rapidly as brisk winds bring much colder air to the Spaceport,” the 45th Weather Squadron explained in its synoptic analysis. “Winds will decrease near sunset as high pressure builds in and continues to push the frontal system south. The primary weather concern is strong winds remaining throughout the launch window.”

 

 

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Missions » SES » Missions » SES » SES-9 »

126 comments to SpaceX Prepares to Deliver Heavyweight SES-9 Satellite to Orbit on Wednesday

  • Tracy the Troll

    Ben
    Great article. Hopefully the flight goes as planned and the landing is achieved…

    • Conway Costigan

      Hmmm, not Wednesday, not even in February. SpaceX seems to be having some problems with their cold LOX gimmick. And after 100 comments abusing me the NewSpace sycophants still have not silenced me:

      LEO is a dead end and so is Mars. The space station to nowhere needs to be abandoned and the boots on Mars fantasy indefinitely shelved. Any human presence Beyond Low Earth Orbit (BLEO) requires massive space radiation shielding. The Moon is the only place to go to get water-as-radiation shielding without hauling tapwater out of Earth’s gravity well. Thousands of tons would be needed for even a single space station. The Super Heavy Lift Vehicle is the only efficient way to get a worthwhile payload to the Moon- and only governmental resources can provide the long term program required to create a cislunar infrastructure.

      The SLS is little different than the shuttle and a launch rate of 5 to 10 per year for 30 years for the same price as the shuttle is the reality. With a new administration coming in it is time for the NewSpace crowd to stop being the biggest obstacle and become an enabler. Musk and Bezos can switch from their hobby projects to building lunar landers and contribute- or continue, along with their legion of sycophants, to be the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.

      As for no reason to go to the Moon, there are three approaches. The first is human-crewed GEO telecommunication platforms to replace the present worsening junkyard situation, the second is moving the nuclear deterrent into space which the other powers would also do (also providing comet/asteroid defense) and lastly to begin the half a century long process envisioned by Gerard K. O’Neill. Beaming down the energy to power civilization on Earth using lunar resources (and solving climate change as well as many other problems).

      So the space clown wannabe’s can go ahead and keep pursuing LEO space station vacation fantasies or cowboy up and commit to a real space program. I predict no cowboys.

      • Not Wednesday, not Friday, not ever. I have said it over and over again and I will keep saying it as long as it takes in as many places as it takes.

        Elon Musk won’t ever be able to land his hobby rocket. The rocket equation proves it. New space dropped the ball when they blew up the ISS supplies like I knew they would and now the hobby rocket wont ever carry satellites for the Air Force and it wont ever carry people to that the station that isn’t even high enough to really be in space. It is done and will never fly.

        This new space age is a P.R. fabrication largely paid for by that NewSpace flagship company SpaceX. It helps that Musk has a legion of deluded Ayn-Rand-in-Space deluded sycophants that think of him as Tony Stark/John Galt/Howard Roarke all rolled into one. These cyberthugs have contaminated the internet and bullied any critics into silence for a decade now.

  • Dennis Berube

    Gooooooo SpaceX and make some history!!!!!!!

  • mlc449

    Looking forward to this and hopefully we’ll finally see a full barge landing.

  • John hare

    A barge landing would be great. Greater would be demonstrated reuse with minimal prep. Greater than that would be a string of successful flights.

  • Conway Costigan

    Best of all, withdraw all NASA support from this corporate welfare created hobby rocket.

    Let the NewSpace flagship company either go out of business like it should have years ago or stop sucking up tax dollars to subsidize their operations.

    • Jester Gambolt

      Your tears are delicious, Gary. Keep crying!

      • Joe

        Snappy rejoinder.

        However, you might want to keep in mind there are child labor laws against using eight year olds to write your material for you.

    • mlc449

      The Dinospace/ULA fanboys sure are bitter recently. I wonder why. 🙂

      • Joe

        Gee mic when I recently said something nice about Blue Origin recently you called me a “Blue Origin fanboy”.

        SpaceX fanboys sure are bitter recently. I wonder why. 🙂

    • Mark P

      What people don’t seem to realize, is there is little difference between
      SpaceX and the other aerospace giants. SpaceX is just another contractor sucking on the teet of the taxpayer. No different than Boeing or Lockheed…

  • Tracy the Troll

    Musk has just indicated …He does not expect success on the landing…So I guess we can expect another great explosion!!!

    • john hare

      You can bet he’s still trying for it though with the best efforts possible. A low probability is not a no probability. I would bet on a landing if given good odds, but wouldn’t bet even.

      • very low probability. big low pressure system (983mb) over labrador. gale force winds with developing storm warning along front in the atlantic basin landing zone

    • Conway Costigan

      Explosions are all hobby rockets are good for. Putting people in a toxic dragon on top of exploding fireworks is gross negligence. Just get the billionaire martian’s hands out of the White House and stop sucking up tax dollars to subsidize his operations.

      • Conway Costigan

        Okay, I did not write that- someone is using my name. Is this forum going to turn into that kind of a cesspool?

        • Jester Gambolt

          You are the king muck-slinger here, you tell us.

          • Conway Costigan

            Any anyone reading the over 100 comments will see that most of them are about insulting and demeaning me in an attempt to silence my criticism of NewSpace. Which makes you a liar and a scheming malicious creep.

        • mlc449

          That’s the sort of slurry you’d write anyway. 😉

          • Joe

            So, has that become the new standard for integrity on this website/comments section, it is alright to impersonate someone else as long as you think that is what the individual being impersonated would “write anyway”?

            I am not siding with anybody in this Dog Pile, but I would like to know the position of the board moderators on the subject.

            • mlc449

              Actually rather than trying to portray yourself a neutral observer all you’ve done here so far is to act as Gary’s mudguard. Sad.

              • Joe

                I am a neutral observer of this tripe.

                For instance, I can note you accuse me of acting as a “mudguard”.

                For such a device to be needed someone would have to be throwing mud (that is pointlessly making personal attacks on someone).

                Yes, very sad indeed.

    • Joe

      Apparently the delay was due to the “sub-cooled” (or whatever you want to call it) LOX.

      From the article:

      “SpaceX on Wednesday postponed for at least 24 hours the scheduled Florida launch of a Falcon 9 rocket on a satellite-delivery mission and attempted return-landing at sea to allow extra time to chill the rocket’s propellant, the company said.”

      http://fortune.com/2016/02/25/spacex-postponed-launch/

      • Joe

        The launch has been scrubbed again, again due to issues with the super cooled/sub cooled/chilled/whatever you want to call it LOX.

        http://fortune.com/2016/02/25/spacex-launch-postponed-again/

        From the article:

        “The launch team was overseeing the final loading of super-chilled liquid oxygen propellant into the rocket’s first and second stages when the countdown was halted, Insprucker said.
        “Preliminary (information) is that we were … looking at how much time we had left in the count to finish loading the liquid oxygen, and at that time the launch team decided that we would need to hold the countdown,” he said.”

  • Vladislaw

    The capital markets are really responding:

    “ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Tauri Group PR) – The year 2015 was a record-setting year for start-up space ventures with investment and debt financing of $2.7 billion (excluding debt financing, $2.3 billion). Nearly twice as much venture capital ($1.8 billion) was invested in space in 2015 than in the prior 15 years, combined. More than 50 venture capital firms invested in space deals in 2015, the most in any year during the 15-year study period (2000-2015).
    Start-up space ventures—companies that began as angel- and venture-backed startups—have attracted over $13.3 billion of multiple types of investment since 2000, including seed ($1.3 billion), venture capital ($2.9 billion), private equity ($1.8 billion), acquisition ($2.2 billion), public offering ($23 million), and debt financing ($5.1 billion). Investment activity has soared in recent years. Looking at investment only (excluding debt financing), nearly two-thirds of investment in space ventures since 2000 has been in the last five years. Over 110 venture capital firms have invested in early stage space companies since 2000, and over 80 angel- and venture-backed space companies have been founded since 2000. Eight of these companies have been acquired, at a total value of $2.2 billion.”

    http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/02/22/startup-space-report-shows-venture-capital-invested-2015-prior-15-years-combined/

    • Conway Costigan

      U.S. cosmetic industry yearly revenues 56 billion.
      U.S. pet industry yearly revenues 60 billion.
      U.S. athletic shoe industry yearly revenues 84 billion.

      And just one fighter plane- the $250 billion Joint Strike Fighter (sometimes called the “junk strike fighter”) the largest defense contract ever.

      The only path to human expansion into the solar system is by way of governmental resources and public works projects.

      NewSpace is a joke- and by hyping their dead end business plan as cheaper and better, the very worst possible thing that could have happened to space exploration.

      Worse than both Shuttle disasters.

      NewSpace sycophants are anti-space clowns and will be subjects of scorn and disdain for historians.

      • Vladislaw

        If there are any clowns in the room, it is you and your ceaseless tirades about American aerospace workers. Comparing cosmetic sales to the aerospace industry is what? Some sort of divine logic to prove what?

        Do you wear your red nose when you type your tirades?

        • Conway Costigan

          The Ayn-Rand-in-Space bizarro libertarians don’t like anyone else using their divine dollar figures to show what a pathetic game they are playing. Really gets them upset and turns them into angry clowns calling everyone else fools. Sad.

          As for my “tirade” about American aerospace workers- that kind of lying B.S. personal attack is a perfect example of NewSpace garbage robocommenting. You are disgusting.

        • Joe

          Vladislaw,

          You say (of Conway): “it is you and your ceaseless tirades about American aerospace workers”.

          I am afraid Conway may have a point in calling that Bravo Sierra.

          While he has written many things that could fairly be called tirades against New Space Entrepreneurs, I am not familiar with any attacks he has made on aerospace workers.

          Specifically where are you saying he made such attacks?

          • Clio Marsden

            To be accurate Gary doesn’t write many things, he write a few things many times. His repetition of whole phrases has a very eerie bot quality to it. Imagine what is going on in that head to type the same thing over and over again in the exact same way…

            • Joe

              If you say so, but that does not even attempt to answer the question.

              Just to remind you the question was: Where did Conway/Gary/Whoever you want to call him attack American aerospace workers?

              As you say, to be accurate, what is the answer to the question?

              • Clio Marsden

                I’m not required to answer the question just to comment. But since you insist… in the rocket business ITAR says that virtually all of them are American in one-way or another; as you already know. So saying that professionals are “hobbyists” would be considered disparaging/attacking US aerospace workers in my opinion. By the way Gary is, of course, free to do so but it is what it is.

                • Joe

                  By that logic anyone criticizing General Motors would be criticizing all American autoworkers.

                  Nice try, but that makes no sense.

                  • Clio Marsden

                    I never said he attacked all US Aerospace workers only that they are all American so if you attack one group you are by definition attacking US Aerospace workers. It’s inclusive to the set of US Aerospace workers (And less ambiguous with ITAR).

                    • Joe

                      Bull.

                      You are trying to claim that no one can criticize SpaceX management without criticizing “American aerospace workers”.

                      In affect making the one doing the criticizing Un-American. Or maybe Un-American is now an antiquated term, maybe it should now be Un-Muskian.

                    • Clio Marsden

                      Ok, I specifically said he could disparage American aerospace workers. That isn’t un-American or un-anything else, just dumb. Imagine a person designing the in-house turbopump for MerlinD+ or a guy/gal changing out the end mills in a tooling carrousel; what would the reaction be to calling their work a “hobby rocket”? No need to respond the question is rhetorical and the answer is self evident.

                    • Joe

                      OK Clio,

                      One more time and then you can double talk to yourself.

                      If criticizing SpaceX is disparaging American aerospace workers, then anytime you (or any of your crony’s)criticize NASA, Boeing, Lockheed, the SLS/Orion Projects you are disparaging American aerospace workers. That isn’t un-American or un-anything else, just dumb.

                      Imagine a person designing equipment for the SLS or a guy/gal changing out the end mills in a tooling carrousel; what would the reaction be to calling their work the Rocket to Nowhere. Not to mention constantly referring to them as being Dino-Space, porkonauts, and (of course the ever popular)pigs at the public trough.

                      No need to respond the question is rhetorical and the answer is self evident.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      I am wondering if Jester Gambolt and Clio Marsden are both se jones. It is difficult to identify the sock puppets because they are all using the same schoolyard bully style. There are several other NewSpace trolls who might also be here- Coastal Ron get’s caught once in awhile by me but he of course denies it.

                      There are a couple dozen of them of them that squat on sites like The SpaceX Review, The SpaceX News, NASA Watch, Parabolic Arc, etc. They have been doing it for so many years they actually believe their fantasy world is reality. Which is why they so blatantly lie and insult anyone daring to blaspheme against the Musk. They really believe the NewSpace infomercial.

                      The problem I have with this, and the reason I have not given up commenting on their bizarro existence, is that the public comes to these sites interested in space exploration. They look at the comments and see unbelievable libertarian rants and NASA-hate and are interested no more.

                      Like I said, the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration- they are a disease that needs to be treated with zero respect and exposed to the light.

                    • Wrong Way Corrigan

                      Garry’s robo-commenting and vicious personal insults are what dino-space fans have done for years. He feels entitled to do so and doesn’t feel bad about it at all. It is who he is.

                      He certainly takes himself seriously enough to spew vile insults and talk down to anyone who happens to have a different opinion. It is why nobody disagrees with him anymore- everyone not kneeling before the altar of O’Neill or Ulam was excommunicated long ago.

                      I don’t know where you grew up but I am completely familiar with this schoolyard and the bully here. He is a rotten little brat and since I do take space exploration seriously I consider him a serious problem. I believe his disgusting cyberthuggery has caused far more damage to public opinion than anyone realizes.

                      Go back five years in the archives of any of the popular space sites and you will see many visitors and many different viewpoints being expressed. Now it is all ULA and Boeing and Lockheed and God have mercy on your soul if you dare to say anything good about anything in low earth orbit, because that is just a hobby, it is not even space.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      “-everyone not kneeling before the altar of O’Neill or Ulam was excommunicated long ago.”

                      “-Now it is all ULA and Boeing and Lockheed and God have mercy on your soul if you dare to say anything good about anything in low earth orbit,-”

                      Troll. When is Hillhouse going to start banning you idiots?

                    • Wrong Way Corrigan

                      Stop cyber-bullying me. Troll.

                  • Wrong Way Corrigan

                    Not all American auto workers. Just the ones at GM.

                    Calling GM cars toy kiddie cars would be reducing autoworkers at GM to toymakers instead of professional automakers. There is no point in cyber-bullying them like that except to push an agenda.

                    • Joe

                      I’m sure you think that is very clever but it is word salad. It make you look like you are mentally ill and have slipped off your meds.

                    • Wrong Way Corrigan

                      “It make you look like you are mentally ill and have slipped off your meds.”

                      Nice try troll-poser.

                      The real Joe knows there is an s on the end of “looks” and he doesnt change gears to personal insults to redirect a conversation.

                    • Joe

                      Yes I can see I was in error about thinking you only look like you are mentally ill.

                      I am going to back away slowly and try not to make eye contact.

                      You have a real nice day and just in case you have any weapons remember that I agree with everything you ever said or thought in your entire life – really I do.

              • Vladislaw

                To constantly call the Falcon 9 a “hobby rocket” is to insult every aerospace worker that helps design and build them. Just have ole’ Gary go to a SpaceX forum and have him do a presentation in front of the 3000 plus SpaceX workers and let him insult them by saying they work on hobby rockets.

                • Conway Costigan

                  It is Musk’s hobby rocket. Compared to a Super Heavy Lift Vehicle (taking humans Beyond Earth Orbit) it is a hobby rocket.

                  You take it as a personal insult because you are a NewSpace sycophant.

                • Joe

                  Your a bit late to the game Vlad.

                  You can find answers to your assertion in this comments exchange beginning at: February 25, 2016 at 6:05 pm. But then you probably already know that.

                  The short version is as follows:

                  If criticizing SpaceX is disparaging American aerospace workers, then anytime you (or any of your crony’s)criticize NASA, Boeing, Lockheed, ULA the SLS/Orion Projects you are disparaging American aerospace workers.

                  You can try to have it both ways all you want, no sane person is going to buy it.

                  • Vladislaw

                    I have ALWAYS distinguished CONGRESS as the culprit and not NASA workers in the trenches who have no power to change the direction that Congress funds. Congress insists on the cost plus fixed fee, sole sourced, endless FAR development and contracting not NASA workers in the trenches. And having talked to some of NASA workers they have expressed to me that that would prefer more COTS then FAR to actually get something done… just saying.

                    • Joe

                      Fine Vlad and likewise people who criticize SpaceX distinguish between SpaceX management as the culprit and not the workers in the trenches who have no power to change company policy (and undoubtedly need the jobs).

                      So drop the anybody who criticizes SpaceX is disparaging American aerospace worker Bull.

                      You can keep trying to obfuscate your way out of this, but it does not work.

          • Vladislaw

            So the 3000 american aerospace workers that work at SpaceX think they are building hobby rockets? The 3000 american aerospace workerst that work at SpaceX would not consider that an insult on their abilities and what they are actually buiding? ESTE Rockets ? really?

            • Conway Costigan

              “The 3000 american aerospace workerst that work at SpaceX would not consider that an insult on their abilities-”

              Who you asking Donald? Tell you what, you go ask them and I will go to the people working on the SLS and see how they feel about some of you and your buddies comments. Shall I cut and paste some of those? The over-the-top hypocrisy of NewSpace flunkies never ceases to amaze me.

            • Joe

              Two posts answering the same subject inches apart and posted within five minutes of each other.

              Getting a little agitated?

              The post at February 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm (right above here) addresses your redundant posts.

              If you want to repost the same thing some more, have fun. But as a courtesy just refer back to this post for an answer. It saves band width and reduces risk of metacarpal tunnel syndrome.

      • Jester Gambolt

        Wow, Gary, I haven’t seen this much projection since I saw Star Wars in IMAX.

        • Conway Costigan

          Your troll tab. Whenever you play your jackassian game expect this as a reply.

          “Your tears are delicious, Gary. Keep crying!”
          “Wow, Gary, I haven’t seen this much projection since I saw Star Wars in IMAX.”

          • Around here we’ve learned to love Gary Churches’ comments, laughter is the best medicine!
            Gary has become our new “Hoaxland” (http://www.enterprisemission.com/).

            For years betting on how many “words” Hoagland would put in “quotes” in his insane “NASA” Masonic conspiracy “rants” kept us in stiches. But “sadly”, “Dick” Hoagland put his “forum” behind a “paywall”.

            Rejoice! We discovered Gary Church littering the space forums, so now we’ve taken to betting on the number of “Ayn-Rand-in-Space” “toxic Dragon” “NewSpace clown” “there is no cheap” Churchism instances per AmericaSpace post.

            Engineering is stressful, we have sensors leaving for Mars next month on a Russian Proton (the “toxic Proton”) and JAXA keeps bumping the JEM-EUSO launch to the right.
            To take the edge off, there’s nothing like some hilarious stress relief with a rousing Gary Church inspired drinking game! You rock Gary!

            • Joe

              The thing about attempted humor is that if it is forced and full of overt anger it just does not come across as funny (even to you I suspect).

              If you hate/despise Conway/Gary/Whatever you want to call him that much, why not just ignore him and go on about your own discussions?

              • Conway Costigan

                “-why not just ignore him-”

                Over the years the NewSpace cyberthugs have come to take it for granted they will hound and bully any critics into silence. They just can’t stand it that someone is throwing the B.S. flag on their disgusting tactics.

                It is why I have absolutely no respect for any of that mob of anti-space creeps. The worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. I say shame on all of them, but since they don’t have any integrity they feel no shame.

                They have half a dozen other forums where they can guffaw and spout their garbage but they have to come here because they cannot tolerate someone exposing their scam.

              • john hare

                Joe,
                The humor is not forced. The guy is hilarious once one gets past the anger due to understanding the source. The new game is to see how far semi-serious people will go defending jr because of they prefer the stasis of the status quo.

                • Conway Costigan

                  If I am reading it right what he is saying Joe is that you are next. You are semi-serious and prefer stasis so you are also a candidate to be insulted and harassed into silence. Welcome to the club.

              • Joe

                Conway,

                “Welcome to the club.”

                Thanks for the offer, but I am not a joiner.

                John,

                “The new game is to see how far semi-serious people will go defending jr because of they prefer the stasis of the status quo.”

                So that is all these discussions forums are to you John, a game to try to provoke other people. Thank you for stating it outright. I suppose you realize that is the classic definition of an internet Troll, but maybe you do not.

                I am not engaged in this because I “prefer the stasis of the status quo”. In fact if you did not seem to have selective short term memory problems, you would remember I was recently called a “Blue Origin fanboy” by one of your fellow game players “mlc449. I am engaged in this because I do not like snarky juvenile attacks on people that are totally fact free an simply waste band width.

                That you consider me only “semi-serious” (what ever that means), I (as of now) take that as a compliment.

                I used to take you seriously as you seemed to be fairly knowledgeable on orbital mechanics and put on an act of being neutral and objective. You slipped into the semi-serious category some time ago and have now arrived at semi-only self professed Internet Troll.

                Congratulations.

                • Conway Costigan

                  “Thanks for the offer, but I am not a joiner.”

                  I don’t think you get to choose. They do.

                  • Joe

                    You may be correct, but I think you give them too much credit and take them far too seriously.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      They certainly take themselves seriously enough to spew vile insults and talk down to anyone who happens to have a different opinion. It is why nobody disagrees with them anymore- everyone not kneeling before the altar of Musk was excommunicated long ago.

                      I don’t know where you grew up Joe but I am completely familiar with this schoolyard and the bullies here. They are rotten little brats and since I do take space exploration seriously I consider them a serious problem. I believe their disgusting cyberthuggery has caused far more damage to public opinion than anyone realizes.

                    • Joe

                      Conway,

                      Grew up in the same school yards most other people do.

                      Again you give classic internet trolls too much credit.

                      (1) A school yard bully at least has to take the risk they will misjudge a target and end up with a busted nose.
                      (2) The trolls (lacking even the miniscule courage of the school yard bully) avoid that by hiding behind their computers.
                      (3) That is the reason they are drawn to the internet.
                      (4) Its rather pathetic actually.

                      You and I agree about some things, disagree about many others; but my disdain for bullies/trolls is the reason I got into this.

                      I come to this website because the articles are informative and the comments section can be. But this comments section was hi-jacked by the trolls and the other decent posters just stayed away.

                      Discussion about the two Falcon 9 launch delays due to problems with the chilled LOX anyone? No what would be the fun in that.

                      And that is a shame.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      I am obviously not a fan of the falcon and consider it a mediocre rocket. It is far too small to be really useful for any Human Space Flight applications Beyond Earth Orbit. It makes the same mistake as the shuttle by being both a cargo and human-rated vehicle. Interestingly, this criticism does not apply to the SLS, which also carries a large payload in addition to humans.

                      The SLS has a human-rated legacy and powerful Launch Abort System (LAS) that would allow it to carry nuclear material directly to the Moon in the safest possible manner. Since any human travel beyond cislunar space with chemical propulsion is a non-starter this is a critical detail nobody seems to notice.

                      The falcon has too many engines and grossly violates the KISS rule. SpaceX fans have always ranted about how this allows for an engine failure (actually it makes a failure far more likely) but now that it is running “full power” and also needs super-cooled LOX I doubt it still has engine-out capability. Heard anything about that?

                    • Joe

                      Conway,

                      “…but now that it is running “full power” and also needs super-cooled LOX I doubt it still has engine-out capability. Heard anything about that?”

                      No, but that is one of many interesting issues to be discussed. Instead we are dealing with whether or not someone’s “tears are delicious” and that is my point.

                      Anyone want to discuss:

                      (a) Problems with maintaining and loading sub-cooled (one of many vague terms)LOX?
                      (b) Does F9 still have an engine out capability when trying to perform a return to launch site landing?

                      That will do for a start. Or should we go back to discussing what “new game” John Hare wants to play?

                    • Conway Costigan

                      http://spaceflight101.com/spacerockets/falcon-9-v1-1-f9r/

                      According to this site: “Just like the v1.0, the Falcon v1.1 launcher provides engine-out capability for a large portion of its first stage flight.”

                      Really? Carrying how much to where? SpaceX can pretty much say anything they want…and do.

                      Also: “Flying nine Merlin engines on the first stage provides engine-out capability and it also allows Merlin 1D to quickly build up flight heritage as each mission provides performance data on nine engines instead of a single engine that competing launchers are using.”

                      Nine engines are not better than one engine. Marketing B.S.

                    • Joe

                      OK good specific technical question.

                      Now:
                      (1) john hare
                      (2) se jones
                      (3) Jester Gambolt
                      (4) mlc449
                      (5) etc.

                      Would you care to address that question with actual specific technical information, or would you prefer to engage in another debate about the taste of someone else’s tears?

                    • Conway Costigan

                      Now you are just inviting them to shun you Joe. I like that.
                      Let them eat static.

                    • Joe

                      “Now you are just inviting them to shun you Joe. I like that.”

                      No, actually I am not.

                      I am inviting them to address one specific technical question with specific technical answers. That would get this Dog Pile back on track.

                      John Hare and Jester Gambolt (a batting average of 500) have done that in the past on other subjects.

                      If they instead “shun” me, that reflects on them not me and I could care less.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      If this one blows up what do you think will happen to SpaceX’s prospects?

                      I was pretty amazed after that last one blew up it was just taken for granted the show would go on and SpaceX would carry astronauts and it was not a red flag. Go cheap and you get what you pay for just like Challenger.

                      If this whole Musk-as-invisible-NASA-director does not carry over to the next administration I would think the SpaceX fan club is in for a big surprise.

                      Culberson is sponsoring that space leadership act and even as a dem I have to support it because for now it will advance the SLS. I just worry the billionaut hobbyists will buy off the board and make the NewSpace LEO dead end business plan even more set in stone.

                      He is a Europa nut and I think he gets that a government sponsored Super Heavy is the only way to get there. So maybe it will work out.

                    • Joe

                      “If this one blows up what do you think will happen to SpaceX’s prospects?”

                      If you will allow me to suggest, you asked a very good specific technical question about engine out capability for the Falcon 9 when in fly-back mode. Let them answer that question (if they can/will) before moving on to other subjects.

                      When you try to “pile on” it just gives wiggle room for the Trolls to change the subject.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      I don’t think they have an answer Joe.
                      You can go over to our favorite site and possibly post a response to a very interesting comment that just went up there while you are waiting for a response here. If you want.

                    • John hare

                      Engine out capability for a large portion of the flight clearly means there are portions that do not have that capability. I would speculate that if an engine is lost early, the mission will be aborted with the booster RTLS after burning off propellant. The payload might be recovered if it is in a Dragon. The second stage is likely toast.

                      The sub cooled LOX is a development problem that may or may not be worth the effort. I would need better information to make an informed call. My opinion that there might be easier ways to get that performance is just that, opinion.

                    • Joe

                      Hi John,

                      First of all thanks for responding to JR. and the semi-serious person.

                      I assure you that the semi-serious person is truly grateful.

                      Now onto the point:

                      (1) Engine out capability for a large portion of the flight clearly means there are portions that do not have that capability. I would speculate that if an engine is lost early, the mission will be aborted with the booster RTLS after burning off propellant.

                      (2) The sub cooled LOX is a development problem that may or may not be worth the effort. I would need better information to make an informed call. My opinion that there might be easier ways to get that performance is just that, opinion.

                      Nice speculation, but what is SpaceX actually doing. You can not give specific information because you do not know because SpaceX keeps their activities very secret.

                      Government programs (like SLS) make their activities public thus making themselves vulnerable to attack.

                      While that un-level playing field may suit you, unless you can respond with things that do not include phrases like “I would speculate”, “The payload might be recovered”, “development problem that may or may not be worth the effort”, “I would need better information”, “My opinion that” does not really address the issue.

                      That is the whole problem with these debates: one side has to have all their cards on the table, the other can be defended by overly optimistic speculation.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      “That is the whole problem with these debates-”

                      Actually, the problem is a half dozen NewSpace trolls and however many sock puppets they throw in. Two of which, Clio Marsden and Wrongway Corrigan, were created specifically to ridicule and denigrate me. Then there is “Gary’s drinking game”, which I have repeatedly complained about to Hillhouse as blatant trolling.

                      It is called poisoning the well. If they cannot bully people into silence they will settle for defecating on everything.
                      Nobody will put up with their garbage indefinitely which is why they are the only people on these sites anymore.

                      I am sick of it.

                    • Joe

                      Actually John tried to answer the questions as best he could absent the lack of real information from SpaceX. He just can not because there are no answers available.

                      About all the insulting of you. You are correct, but when you let them make you loose your temper, you let them win. Remember your own analogy of the school yard bully:

                      (1) The school yard bully wins when they humiliate someone in front of others.

                      (2) The internet troll wins when they can get you to lose your temper. It’s what they live for. Laugh back at them, they hate it.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      It is getting ugly now as you can see Joe. Someone just used my name to post a fake comment and more and more garbage comments are being posted. Like I said, if they cannot silence, they will defecate on everything. I used the contact button to complain to the editor.

                    • Joe

                      If that is the case, it is really over the line.

                      I would hope the board moderators would investigate.

                      I do not give a bleep about people running around claiming other people are using multiple names, but if there is going to be use of other peoples names it will make these comments sections useless.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      I just emailed Jim Hillhouse about it. Still want me to laugh about it?

                    • Joe

                      It is good that you reported your suspicions, but yes I would still suggest you simultaneously laugh.

                      It is really the board moderators headache (sorry Jim) and there is no point in agitating yourself.

                      I know that is easier said than done, but it is worth a try.

                    • john hare

                      Joe,
                      I put in speculate and opinion to clarify statements as not being solid fact. I regard the following sentences,

                      The Merlin is the most efficient rocket engine in the world.
                      The SSME is the most efficient rocket engine in the world.
                      The Falcon 9 Heavy delivers 53 tons to orbit.
                      The SLS block 1 delivers 70 tons to orbit.

                      as all false.

                      #1. Is highest thrust/weight of any operational engine. Not highest Isp, and probably less T/W than many future engines.

                      #2. Is highest Isp at seal level. T/W is lower than most kerosene engines, and vac Isp is lower than several RL10 variants.

                      #3. Is designed and expected to deliver 53 tons. It has not yet, and won’t for many months demonstrate that capability.

                      #4. Is designed and expected to deliver 70 tons. It has not yet, and will not demonstrate that capability for a few years.

                      Blanket statements of fact without modifiers should only be applied to things that can be proven. I can run fairly accurate numbers on many things that may or may not be the case. The Falcon9 losing an engine clearly loses 11% of its’ available thrust. When T/W is 1.15, engine out clearly drops it to about 1.04. After that, it becomes a matter of estimating intent vs capabilities. As in military intelligence, not everything possible is intended by the other party.

                      My apologies for the rant. I have a problem with so many people from all over the map making statements of fact, that are only estimates or opinions. This type of statement has cost me and my company considerable money and damage on occasion. I try hard to verify facts on the ground when there are decisions to be made that involve any risk. A different route to the job is low risk, whether or not there is a power line in the excavation is not.

                    • Clio Marsden

                      Wow, I step away for one day and this thing is blown straight up.

                      “Nine engines are not better than one engine. Marketing B.S.”

                      The problem with lines like this is they attempt to distill many engineering and business trades to a single “correct” answer, which is not possible. SpaceX was going to use more than one engine no matter what. It was only a question of how many.

                      F9 currently puts out 1.5+ million pounds of thrust at liftoff. The only way to do that with one engine is something on the order of an F-1, which is pretty much impractical for anyone’s business case. Or maybe go with a single very large engine with some solid boosters. That would require SpaceX to develop a much more expensive engine from the start, plus either integrate solids from ARJ/ATK or do solids work in house. It would also make the engine impossible to use as a base for second stage propulsion, requiring the development of a separate second stage engine. And lastly it would put recovery completely out of sight; hover-slam is hard now…with a single 700K-900K engine it would be fun to watch for sure.

                      None of these things were going to happen (and get the job finished) on the time/money budget required. They are the kinds of decisions one makes if they are designing a rocket and not particularly interested in the manufacturing cost of the engine or leveraging economies of scale on production. They are the decisions that are made without really caring too much about the vehicle processing costs/complexities when SRBs are brought into the mix. New entrants into established markets don’t succeed by making the same trades as incumbents or selecting paths outside their range of expertise. Why go with the new guy if it looks just like every other LV on the scene?

                      If any of those paths were chosen, Gary would have had his wish and SpaceX would have folded a long time ago. So in essence any advocate of only launch systems using the traditional US trades is advocating the very design trades that would have made SpaceX’s (new entrant) success implausible at the least and most probably impossible. That is very convenient indeed.

                      As for the engine-out capability we know it works w.r.t CRS-1 and it is just a byproduct of the above trades. First rule in technical sales is to advertise positive attributes of your engineering trades which separates you from the competition. The question about how much is “much of first-stage flight” would fall into the category of “Contact SpaceX for performance details.” My firm has proprietary performance numbers we share with customer under NDA and it isn’t uncommon. I wish we could see some charts plotting an envelope comparing different dV targets but just not available right now. Would love to see educated speculation on this.

                      http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/falcon_9_users_guide_rev_2.0.pdf

                    • Joe

                      John,

                      I completely agree with your point, but it only reinforces mine.

                      While the openness of the work on SLS (and any other “Old” Space) projects allows them to be analyzed and (if that is the desire) attacked; SpaceX secretiveness prevents any real analysis and therefore allows supporters on the internet (far to often) to substitute wildly optimistic speculation for any facts.

                      The two questions asked were:
                      (1) Will problems with maintaining and loading sub-cooled (one of many vague terms)LOX make it’s use undesirable in the long run?
                      (2) Does F9 still have an engine out capability when trying to perform a return to launch site landing?

                      Nether of those questions can be answered based on publically available information and there are many other such questions; the answers to all those questions would generate still others.

                      Clio,

                      A lengthy SpaceX infomercial (with lots of speculation about some other things they might have done), but no where does it address the Super Cooled (or whatever you want to call it)LOX issue.

                      Your single reference to one of the questions asked: “As for the engine-out capability we know it works w.r.t CRS-1 and it is just a byproduct of the above trades.” does not address the engine out capability when the extra delta-V for a fly back maneuver is required and therefore does not address the actual question.

                      As far as your closing: “Would love to see educated speculation on this.”

                      You then link to a Falcon 9 users guide. I have read it before. I does not aggress super cooled (whatever) LOX and only mentions engine out once (simply to assert that the Falcon 9 has it).

                      In fairness to SpaceX, you would not expect a users guide to address such issues, but on what do you want someone to speculate?

                    • Conway Costigan

                      Hello “Clio”, or Coastal Ron, or whoever you are,

                      “Gary would have had his wish and SpaceX would have folded a long time ago.”

                      That you keep referring to me as “Gary” show you to be a jackass. The name you are using is an attempt to ridicule my use of Conway Costigan. You and your gang of fools feel entitled to demean and troll at your pleasure- you are disgusting.

                      The posts here prove every single thing I have said about the NewSpace mob to be true. A bunch of arrogant liars and cyberbullies. The worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      “SpaceX was going to use more than one engine no matter what.”

                      Really? Because they did? Sound logic.

                      “-something on the order of an F-1, which is pretty much impractical for anyone’s business case.

                      Really? You mean the SpaceX business case. Again, after the fact.

                      “It would also make the engine impossible to use as a base for second stage propulsion,-”

                      The kerosene second stage is the main reason the falcon is such a mediocre launcher- and you make it sound great. Ridiculous.

                      “-the very design trades that would have made SpaceX’s (new entrant) success implausible at the least and most probably impossible. That is very convenient indeed.”

                      Convenient for your infomercial. “First rule in technical sales is to advertise positive attributes of your engineering trades which separates you from the competition.”

                      The NewSpace scam is all about calling what is cheap and nasty the best that can be.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      #3. Is designed and expected to deliver 53 tons. It has not yet, and won’t for many months demonstrate that capability.

                      It will not demonstrate that capability because it does not have it- that figure was based on the miracle of propellant crossfeed which is now a non-starter.

                      #4. Is designed and expected to deliver 70 tons. It has not yet, and will not demonstrate that capability for a few years.

                      130 tons eventually- and if they choose the right design of replacement booster it will be more. This capability makes the hobby rocket look……like a hobby rocket.

                    • Clio Marsden

                      Joe,

                      My understanding was that engine-out precludes a flyback in most cases. Sacrifice the booster to burn longer and hit the right dV target (assuming you’ve passed the minimum time it is possible for that mission profile). If you haven’t even hit the window to support engine-out ops it would be interesting to ditch the second stage and try to bring back the booster but that is a lot of concern over a corner case this early in the development; it could certainly wait for a while (whether there or not). There are number of other possible complications including but not limited to.

                      1) Center engine is required for landing burn AFAIK (so if you lose it your done for landings)
                      2) There is a possibility that restart-ability of Merlins (in-flight), for the subsequent burns, is limited to the 3 engines across designated for boost-back, breaking and landing. I believe that a bolt on upgraded TEA-TEB systems is used for these engines but that may have changed of late. This must be at least be considered as possible blocker for engine-out and recovery scenarios.

                      Seems pretty logical that extra propellant is going toward recovery or engine out but not both at the same time. The numbers are propriety which is why i pointed out the doc, no specificity at all included. And why I called on people to speculate on what they may be. I also included it because it states the capability is still there even for current updated version of F9, albeit without the detail numbers. Simple as that.

                      The deep cryo “issue” this last time around sounds like a snafu taking too long to verify the state of the loading, at the end of the process. Again, the details are propriety but L2 suggests it isn’t some major deal breaker just getting used to the new processes which admittedly requires more of a touch than loading 3 hours early and topping off. But who knows, time will tell.

                      Not sure of the history of why this cyro cooling terminology is all over the place. Either the LOX is closer to the boiling point or freezing point. Elon’s post said -340 F, take it or leave it, whatever the label.

                      https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/677663227271118848

                      Here is some history on it for anyone else, i assume Joe is familiar. I am almost wincing bringing up an X-33 reference but here it is.

                      http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20050203875.pdf

                      Ironically, this doc also uses the term “supercooled” as the LOX adjective and “subcooling” as the term for the process to get it “supercooled”. But in reality this stuff was never getting to below freezing point of oxygen as far as I can tell so no clue on why the terms are used as such.

                      In any case looks like another window is coming up today and I happen to be in Florida (completely un-planned) and will try to get over to the cape. And if during the same time it were a Delta, Atlas, SLS or anything else bigger than a sounding rocket I would make the effort to get over there and see it as well.

                    • Joe

                      Clio,

                      “My understanding was that engine-out precludes a flyback in most cases.”

                      If that understanding is correct then it further complicates understanding of the SpaceX cost to customer.

                      In many cases the satellite being launched is more expensive than the launch. If you are the customer would you select a (currently undefined) reduction in launch price for an increase in risk of loss of payload (with attendant increase in insurance cost)?

                      “The deep cryo “issue” this last time around sounds like a snafu taking too long to verify the state of the loading, at the end of the process.”

                      Perhaps but there were two launch delays (so far) this launch and at least one from the previous launch directly related to LOX loading. Do not have a link but there was a comment from ULA about their having experimented with (whatever) LOX and finally decideing it was not worth the extra effort. I am sure the urge is there to dismiss this as just ULA criticizing SpaceX but it may also be true.

                      Anyway that is really my point. There is a lot of hype about how SpaceX is on the verge of revolutionizing space launch with reusability, but every time you manage to learn even a little more the situation appears more complicated and the economics harder to define.

                      Because SpaceX considers all this proprietary there is still a lot more that we do not know than we do know.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      “There is a lot of hype about how SpaceX is on the verge of revolutionizing space launch with reusability,-”

                      Actually, it is more of a scam. All of this goes back to the late 50’s and early 60’s, half a century ago. The numbers have not changed that much. The alloys are just a small percentage lighter, and the engines just a small percentage more efficient.

                      The Earths gravity well is not going to get any shallower and the laws of thermodynamics and the rocket equation are not going to change.

                      A certain mass can be placed in orbit for a certain amount of energy and mass expended. All of the parlor tricks being advertised and fooled around with cut deeply into the payload and make no economic sense whatsoever compared to just dropping spent stages in the ocean.

                      It’s a scam. The longer SpaceX can drag out these games the longer they keep sucking up free support and NASA tax dollars.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      I have heard no statements from SpaceX one way or the other, but based on previous statements about the v1.1, the Falcon 9 v1.2 should retain engine-out capability, though it would come at the expense of being able to return to the launch site to land, if an engine goes it it would almost certainly have to be expended, unless the failure happens shortly before MECO.

                    • Joe

                      That is basically saying the same thing. You believe (it is impossible to say anything for sure about SpaceX as they classify virtually all useful information as proprietary) that you can not have an engine out and a landing.

                      As stated in the reply to Clio above, if that is true it further complicates actual performance/pricing analysis.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Is there any reason you have to suspect that the Falcon 9 no longer has engine-out capability?

                    • Joe

                      I know this chain has gotten to be ridiculously long, but that is not the point.

                      The original question was: Can the Falcon 9 First Stage still perform a landing if it experiences an engine out during launch and still attempts to put the payload into orbit?

                      Both those supposed capabilities have advantages to a potential customer:

                      (1) The engine out capability increases chance of a successful launch and this should reduce insurance cost.

                      (2) The landing opens the possibility of reuse. If that can be done in a way to reduce launch cost (big if) then the customer should pay less for that as well.

                      Again due to SpaceX secretiveness, I do not know the answer to the question (don’t think any of us know for sure); but if they must be played off against each other it is not clear cut which option would be best for any individual customer.

                    • Joe

                      Should have added that (at least in my opinion) this chain is not only ridiculously long, but too long.

                      No offense to anyone, but I am now going to drop out this discussion.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Oh, thanks for the clarification.

                      An engine-out scenario requires that the other engines be burned longer to make up for the engine that has been lost, that extra consumption must use some portion of the margin that had been set aside for landing.

                      It may be possible that, if the failure happens late in the launch sequence, the landing would still be attempted, but I suspect that in most cases the booster would have to be expended.

                      The customer would have paid for the launch services long prior to the launch, it doesn’t make sense for SpaceX to charge a customer differently based on whether or not there was an engine-out situation or the booster was lost.

                    • Clio Marsden

                      I think focusing just on engine-out situation is a unnecessary. Any number of things may occur that cause the mission to go from return the stage to not return the stage, like a crash landing. In this case it could be an engine-out situation that causes the stage to be expended unexpectedly. Either way SpaceX would, in all likelihood, self insure for that loss and build the premium into the reusable price along with refurbishment cost, propellant and vehicle processing. The economics are difficult to fully get our arms around now because there are still a bunch of unknowns. On the whole this seems to be not as central an issue compared with turn-around time and maintenance on the ones you do land or most importantly the maximum number of cycle times on the stage reliably. All of this is hard or else it would have been done a long time ago. There are no gimmes here just hard work and persistence to verify if it can be done economically.

                      I should add on the deep-cryo front I think the -340 F number is a target more than a requirement for each mission. A per-mission minimum temperature at the outlet of the LOX sub-cooler must be defined to provide the needed mission performance (density), with margin spare for fly-back. I still think there is more work here on the GSE side to get things where they would like them to be. Again, not easy or else everyone else would be doing it. The comments in the past and more recently from Dr Sowers would be taken seriously but also understanding the source. This is a classic area where a newer entrant can try, may not succeed, but try to arbitrage the market by taking ideas on the shelf, thought to be un-workable, and giving it a go with a fresh view.

                      Would be nice if someone with media contacts in SpaceX could ask the question did more than one Merlin cut off do to low thrust alarm on the last attempt or was it a single engine? If the later then likely trending lower in the allowable performance range and He bubble tripped it over the edge. This mission in particular is working at the edge, or maybe over the edge, of what F9 can do and possibly fly-back the booster so not surprised they need to tweak the max performance out of the propellant load.

                    • Conway Costigan

                      “All of this is hard or else it would have been done a long time ago. There are no gimmes here just hard work and persistence to verify if it can be done economically.”

                      Hilarious. It ain’t hard to figure out and hard work has not a thing to do with it. It’s numbers- and they are not telling anyone what they are for one obvious reason: It’s a scam.

                  • Clio Marsden

                    Gary, here is another “Space Clown” to add to your list of people being scammed by SpaceX:

                    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2016-01/22/chris-hadfield-moon-mars-spacex

                    Of course he is a proponent of moon first and SpaceX so that really has to burn. You add nothing to the conversation by repeating yourself over and over again. Everyone you are talking to here knows the rocket equation, conservation of momentum and the mass fraction sensitivity recovering the first stage has on payload to orbit.

                    Now can we move on? I like Joe, have run completely out of steam on this one. Have a nice day.

      • mlc449

        You really are quite insane.

        • Joe

          Yes, there is the kind of fact filled response that really inspires people to form new opinions.

          • Conway Costigan

            I guess I could put all the trolls on the same tab Joe.

            “Your tears are delicious, Gary. Keep crying!”
            “Do you wear your red nose when you type your tirades?”
            “Wow, Gary, I haven’t seen this much projection since I saw Star Wars in IMAX.”
            “To be accurate Gary doesn’t write many things, he write a few things many times.”
            “You really are quite insane.”

      • Jester Gambolt

        Gary’s long downward spiral into paranoid delusions is continuing. He begins to think that many commenters are just one person – after all, in his deluded mind, nobody would disagree with him, it can’t possibly BE that MANY people disagree with him, so it must just be one person.

        Yes, That’s it. Just one person.

        Don’t worry, Gary. It won’t be long before the nice men with the white jacket that lets you hug yourself all day come along.

        • Joe

          Jester,

          There are two possibilities:

          (1) You are just juvenilely snarky by nature, in which case talking to you is pointless.

          (2) You genuinely believe Conway (Gary, whoever) to be mentally ill. That is a more complicated case. If you believe someone to be mentally ill and (in conjunction with your friends) repeatedly torment them, you are the 21st Century equivalent of the town drunks (with their pitch forks on Saturday Night) torturing the town “dummy” (as they, not I, would call him). Is that really what you want to be?

          • Jester Gambolt

            Oh, don’t make it into a false dilemma, there are plenty of other options.

            While I enjoy snark just as much as the next guy, you have seen that I am perfectly willing to discuss things civilly. I try to answer questions with the best information I can find.

            However, Gary has consistently attacked people who disagree with him. He never argues against ideas, he merely lashes out with insults and ad hominem fallacies. Having been on the receiving end of his abuse many times, I can say that he’s just getting what he deserves with comments like this.

            Perhaps he is indeed mentally ill, though paranoid delusions and persecution complexes are not generally considered severe enough cases for specialized treatment, it is clear from his comments that he has said things that indicate that he does suffer from those conditions. It is regrettable that our nation has, in general, put such a low priority on mental health care and stigmatizes those who seek it, not only for Gary but for anyone else who might do well with some therapy.

            More likely, however is that he’s just a guy with terrible ideas who can’t handle even the slightest bit of criticism of those ideas.

            • Joe

              I admire your capability to psychoanalyze people you have never met in such detail.

              An ability you share with many other people on the Internet.

              While I, sadly, lack such clairvoyance; I will assume the answer to my question is yes.

              • Jester Gambolt

                Oh, this is hardly psychoanalysis, and what little I’ve said here is not difficult to see. Look up what those things are, it’s pretty obvious.

                The answer to your false dilemma is not “yes,” it is “that is a fallacy, try again.”

                • Joe

                  Do you have a degree in Psychiatry/Phycology?

                  If not, then you are saying you can do remote Psychoanalysis (with no formal training) simply by looking up “those things”.

                  Psychoanalysis by Wikipedia.

                  Revolutionary.

                  I am truly impressed.

                  That is also all for this subject, grab your pitch fork and have at it.

                  • Jester Gambolt

                    I never claimed to be a psychoanalyst, and neither did I psychoanalyze anyone.

                    The things I’ve said are rudimentary, at best.

                    Get a grip.

            • Conway Costigan

              Robo-commenting and vicious personal insults are what NewSpace fans have done for years. They feel entitled to do so and don’t feel bad about it at all. It is what they are.

              And you just proved that statement true with the old “you are mentally ill” troll. You are really disgusting.

  • Art

    Let’s go SpaceX. One more launch in February for the U.S. rocket industry. Make it 3 successful launches this month(Atlas V 401, Delta IVM 5+2 and F-9FT).

  • Conway Costigan

    “Snarky juvenile attacks on people that are totally fact free an simply waste band width.”

    Robo-commenting and vicious personal insults are what NewSpace fans have done for years. They feel entitled to do so and don’t feel bad about it at all. It is what they are. They lie and obfuscate as a standard practice- it is an inside joke with them (except it is obvious to everyone who frequents space sites).

    Go back five years in the archives of any of the popular space sites and you will see many visitors and many different viewpoints being expressed. Now it is all SpaceX and God have mercy on your soul if you dare to say anything bad about NewSpace.

    Which is why I do not even try and be polite or respectful to them anymore- they deserve nothing but scorn and admonishment.

    • Ivan

      Dear Gary,

      the problem is not “everyone else” but you. You want EVERYONE to shut-the-fuck-up and only worship your ideas and view. If you would have a ability to have your way, you would be dictator.

      Any argument you use as ATTACK on you and your self.

      I come to this site to read and learn new things, I also want to have my opinion changed and question based on logic and reason.

      For me, SPACEX is not THE ONLY THE-BAD-ASS company, I will cheer up to anyone and everyone who can get us closer to space.

      For you SPACEX is PERSONAL nemesis as well people who cheer up for them.

      All this new-space vs old-space crap, is pointless, there is only SPACE-FORWARD!

      Stay well, and dont stress to much!

      Ivan

      • Conway Costigan

        Go defecate on some other site Ivan.

        • Ivan

          Dear Gary,

          you are not even trying to be polite. You said it BEST yourself!

          “Which is why I do not even try and be polite or respectful to them anymore- they deserve nothing but scorn and admonishment.”

          Best to you!

          Ivan

          • Conway Costigan

            “You want EVERYONE to shut-the-fuck-up-”

            So polite! Go defecate on some other site Ivan.

            • Ivan

              Dear Gary,

              but what I said is really a fact, based on what you been saying to everyone, including me! I also said that in polite way. I did not attack you on personal level that you are stupid of idiot or whatever others people told you so far (even crazy). (Again, please dont get offended on above words, I just making a point, if you did got offended please accept my apology!).

              Back to topic. And yes, you do want everyone to shut-the-fuck-up and just follow your way of “old space” (such a silly name if you ask me!)

              You never argue or defend things you talk about, you just FEEL how things should be, and EVERYTHING else is crap and rubish.

              I have no issue to say whatever tomorrow regarding SPACEX if they fuck up something (or any other company) – but you dont have that capacity.

              Even when Falcon first stage landed, for you it was all crap and “My way is better” or “They are taking my tax money again!”

              I life, you learn more when you are wrong then right. And moste times we are wrong! (on just about any topic really).

              Ivan

  • mlc449

    What is Gary still ranting about now? Is there no ULA launch to distract him? 😉