SpaceX delays Bulgarian satellite launch to replace valve


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Capitalism in space: In order to replace a valve in the payload fairing of its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX has decided to delay its Florida launch of a Bulgarian television satellite until Friday.

Meanwhile, they have another launch scheduled for Sunday out of Vandenberg. If both fly successfully this will make the weekend very busy for SpaceX.

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5 comments

  • Des

    This is confirmation that Spacex has two independent launch teams, which is good news for future launch cadence.

  • DANNY DANIELS

    Did the last flight of the Dragon spacecraft (CRS-11) to the ISS have in flight abort capabilities?

  • Danny Daniels: Your question is a good one. SpaceX had said that after the June 2015 launch failure that they would provide all future Dragons parachute capabilities and flight abort software so that if a rocket failed in flight the capsule would be able to separate and splashdown safely.

    I do not know whether they have actually done this, but I suspect they have.

  • C. Cecil

    Mr. Danny Daniels: The Dragon capsule with abort capabilities has side blisters to house the super draco thrusters. If you google CRS -11 and go to images, the capsule does not have these blisters. There still may be a parachute recovery system on board. I would think the retro-grade thrusters would be enough to pull it away from a non-operating second stage for a clean parachute deployment after re-entry. I would assume this would all have to happen above 15,000 feet AGL.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Des,

    Two independent on-site ground crews. The crew at Canaveral/Kennedy has been by far the busier of the two and has, no doubt, long been both on a full-time basis and resident in that area. The current ground crew for Vandy missions likely have “day jobs” in Hawthorne and probably commutes north from L.A. for a few days preceding each launch given their – until now – relative rarity. Perhaps they also rotate to Kennedy/Canaveral periodically to keep their skills sharp. The SpaceX facility at Vandy is apparently deserted between missions. Or at least has been up until now.

    Given that there are a half-dozen missions scheduled out of Vandy this year, with four of those scheduled in the final six months of the year, SpaceX may be close to establishing a full-time presence there.

    Mission Control for all missions, though, is in Hawthorne and is shared among launch sites. Once all four launch sites are running at a high cadence, all will have resident full-time ground crews and even the Hawthorne Mission Control will probably have to be at least duplicated. Mission Control will become a full-time gig too. Right now, my understanding is that the chairs are all filled by people who have other duties when a mission is not imminent. Increased launch cadence at all pads will make this increasingly untenable – perhaps within a year.

    Danny,

    I left a reply for you over on the June 16 podcast thread where you had posed the same question.

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