Space Stuff and Launch Info

  • #751
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SpaceX launches like crazy this year. 9 launches in the first 3 months, or one every 10 days.

Globally there have been 25 successful launches so far in 2021 (and one failed attempt by the small Hyperbola-1), Falcon 9 made 36% of them. But that's ignoring that Falcon 9 is one of the largest operational rockets.

Globally 703 satellites have been launched this year, 564 of them (80%) by SpaceX, out of that 430 were Starlink.

The summed satellite mass launched is at most 178 tonnes, 118 tonnes (66%) launched by SpaceX (112 tonnes Starlink). 27 tonnes (max) by Russia, 24 tonnes (max) by China, 10 tonnes (max) by others. Various satellites don't have a public mass, I used the maximal capacity of the rocket in that case. All SpaceX payloads had a known mass.

Here is a funny February 2019 prediction: They estimated 600 small satellites will be launched in 2021. We exceeded that number in March.
 
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  • #752
anorlunda
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Elon Musk in an interview said that Startlink will provide him with a Mars budget several times bigger than NASA's budget. I think that is a contest worth watching.
 
  • #754
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Ingenuity has seen a software issue in a rotor spin test. It will need software updates before the first flight.

Update from NASA
They expect to set a new flight date next week.
 
  • #755
anorlunda
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It would be interesting to learn what SW error could not be detected before leaving Earth, but detected on Mars before the first flight.
 
  • #756
hmmm27
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Keeps timing out trying to connect to M$'s Windows10 Update server, every few minutes.
 
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  • #758
berkeman
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  • #759
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SpaceX has developed and tested an elevator-like system.
The giant ladder was one of the downsides of the competing National Team proposal.

The tiny NASA funding for the Human Landing System didn't leave many options - even SpaceX, the cheapest proposal, was still too expensive. It only fit after SpaceX agreed to a modified payment schedule. That explains why they only picked a single proposal. SpaceX received the highest rating in non-financial categories, so NASA picked both the cheapest and the best proposal.

Starship is comically oversized for NASA's plan to send just two crew members to the surface in the first mission.

Washington Post article

Edit: Here is the source selection statement

Artemis increasingly becomes a SpaceX program.

* Launching the Gateway core modules: Done by SpaceX
* Resupply of the Gateway: Only SpaceX has a contract so far
* Landing people on the Moon: SpaceX
* Landing cargo on the Moon: No full-scale contracts yet, but Starship is so big that it can easily do that in combination with the crewed missions.

What's left? Getting astronauts to the gateway and from the gateway back to Earth. That's the last task of SLS/Orion, and SLS needs to stay around for political reasons.
 
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  • #760
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Launch of Crew-2 in 50 minutes

Third time SpaceX will launch astronauts, and first time they will do so in a reused capsule and on a reused booster. This will make Dragon the second reusable crewed spacecraft after the Shuttle.
- the capsule ("Endeavour") previously flew the first crewed flight, Demo-2
- the booster ("B1061.2") previously flew the second crewed flight, Crew-1
The Crew-1 astronauts are still on the space station, they will return a few days after Crew-2 arrives. Similarly, Crew-3 will fly to the ISS a few days before Crew-2 will leave, currently planned for October.
 
  • #761
hutchphd
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Michael Collins has died. A remarkable human.
 
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The core module of the Chinese modular space station is planned to launch in about 5-6 hours. 3:00 to 4:00 UTC, probably 3:18. No livestream expected.

At 22.5 tonnes it will become the heaviest spacecraft launched by China so far, and one of the largest single payloads in the history of spaceflight. Zvezda, the third ISS module, was a tiny bit heavier at 22.8 tonnes. Saturn V launched far more mass to orbit for the Apollo missions, but it's less clear what you call a spacecraft and what's part of the rocket there.
Skylab at 76 tonnes was the heaviest individual spacecraft that became operational.
Polyus at 80 tonnes was the heaviest spacecraft launched, but due to a malfunction it was in space for just one orbit.
The Space Shuttle launched itself to space, that's heavy as well if you want to count that. Its payloads were lighter.
 
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  • #763
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Success for the Chinese mission.

Crew-1 streaking through the atmosphere over Mexico in preparation for a landing near Florida, filmed by (Crew-2 astronaut) Thomas Pesquet on the ISS:

 
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