Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Falcon 9’

11/23/2021 – Ephemeris – NASA to launch a mission to crash into an asteroid overnight tonight

November 23, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 23rd. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 5:07, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:51. The Moon, half-way from full to last quarter, will rise at 8:17 this evening.

As of last Sunday night, it was GO for launch of NASA’s DART Mission at 1:21 am Eastern Standard Time tomorrow morning on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base. DART stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. The DART spacecraft is to smash into a small asteroid named Dimorphos, that slowly orbits another somewhat larger asteroid, Didymos. Dimorphos orbits at only 7 inches per second, so even the smallest impact should alter the orbit noticeably. About a week before the planned collision, DART will release a small CubeSat to arrive 3 minutes after the collision to survey the crash site. In 2024 the European Space Agency will launch a satellite to survey the asteroid pair and note any long-term effects, to see if this technique for diverting asteroids is feasible.

Addendum

DART at Didymos and Dimorphos to scale

DART spacecraft with Dimorphos and Didymos. The DART spacecraft is not to scale with the asteroids. See below. CREDIT: NASA/JHUAPL

Dart and asteroids to scale

Dart and asteroids to scale with terrestrial landmarks. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

06/24/2021 – Ephemeris – SpaceX Inspiration 4 mission

June 24, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, June 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:58. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 9:59 this evening.

If all goes as planned, SpaceX will send four civilians, two men and two women, into orbit for a three-day mission aboard the Crew Dragon “Resilience” spacecraft, sent up by a Falcon 9 rocket in mid-September. It’s called the Inspiration 4 Mission to raise awareness and funds for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Their orbit will be higher, at 340 miles (540 kilometers) altitude, than that of the International Space Station. The mission commander will be Jared Isaacman, who is paying for the whole thing. Dr. Sian Proctor will be the pilot. Also, on the crew will be Hayley Arceneaux, a St. Jude childhood cancer survivor and now a Physician’s Assistant at St. Jude, and Christopher Sembroski. The crew has been in training since their selection in early April.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Inspiration 4 Crew

The Inspiration 4 Crew. Left to right: Jared Isaacman, Commander who financed the mission, and flies military jets for fun; Dr Sian Proctor, Pilot who is an entrepreneur, educator and trained pilot; Hayley Arceneaux, who is a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Christopher Sembroski. Credit: Inspration4 Photos.

 

05/05/2020 – Ephemeris – SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Demo 2 mission extends to multi-months

May 5, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 26 minutes, setting at 8:53, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:25. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 6:15 tomorrow morning.

On May 27th* or shortly thereafter the first crewed spacecraft will leave American soil since the last Space Shuttle launch in 2011. This is called the SpaceX Demo 2. Notice they’re not called manned spacecraft any more. Especially since the American with the most time in space, man or woman is Peggy Whitson with nearly 666 days in space over three flights to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will launch from historic Pad 39a at the Kennedy Space Center on a Falcon 9 rocket in a Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. What was to be a two week stay will turn out to be a several month tour on the station.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

* The date I gave in the program was the 25th.

Addendum

Dragon and Crew access arm

Crew Dragon atop the Falcon 9 and Crew access arm. Credit SpaceX.

You must be thus tall

Astronaut humor.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley NASA Astronauts for Demo-2 of SpaceX Crew Dragon

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, NASA Astronauts for Demo-2 of SpaceX Crew Dragon. Credit: NASA. Each has had two flights on the Space Shuttle. Hurley was Shuttle Pilot twice.  Credit NASA.

 

 

09/15/2016 – Ephemeris – SpaceX has an explosion in its Falcon 9 second stage

September 15, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 15th.  The Sun will rise at 7:22.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 7:52.  The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:01 tomorrow morning.

The rocket company SpaceX had one of its Falcon 9 Rockets explode as it was being fueled for a test firing to check out its booster engines on September first.  The second stage, which was being loaded with fuel exploded.  Even if a tank had been ruptured, there should be no ignition source to cause the explosion.  Unfortunately the satellite, AMOS-6 a communications satellite destined for geosynchronous orbit, was already mounted on the rocket, and can be seen falling off the rocket just after the explosion.  This is the second failure of a Falcon 9.  In June of last year a helium tank inside the liquid oxygen tank in the second stage broke loose and ruptured the tank, while still being boosted by the first stage.  It took a few seconds after the rupture before the fuel ignited causing the explosion that ended the mission.  SpaceX has issued a request for videos or anything that might shed light on the latter accident.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Falcon 9 Explosion

A sequence of photographs of the Falcon 9 explosion. Credit: US Launch Report.

12/29/2015 – Ephemeris – Some space triumphs of 2015

December 29, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 29th.  The Sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 5:10.   The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 9:58 this evening.

This past year had several important events.  Perhaps the biggest was the flyby of Pluto and its moons July 14th By the New Horizons spacecraft.  The transmission of data and images will continue for most of 2016, but what has been revealed has been spectacular if puzzling.  In other space news Blue Origin landed their New Shepard rocket vertically after sending it straight up 60 miles.  In June the SpaceX Falcon 9 blew up while attempting to send its 7th resupply Dragon capsule to the International Space Station.  Eight days ago The Falcon 9 returned to flight orbiting 11 satellites for Orbocomm, and flew the booster from over 100 miles up and 100 miles out over the Atlantic to land upright on its designated landing pad back at the cape.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Pluto

Enhanced color portrait of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.

Shepard landing

Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, with landing legs expended about to land. Credit: Blue Origin.

Falcon 9

First stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 descending on its center rocket engine to the center of the main landing pad at Cape Canaveral. Credit: SpaceX.

These weren’t the only highlights of 2015.  Having only 45 seconds to devote to the story, I picked the three most important events.  I consider the reuseability of rockets to be the Holy Grail of reducing the cost to access to space.  The Space Shuttle was a partial, but ultimately failed solution.  SpaceX had the most difficult task in refurbishment and reuse because the first stage had to endure a supersonic reentry, though it didn’t need a heat shield.  We’ll have to see if the cost of recycling rocket boosters is cheaper than building one from scratch.

02/23/2015 – Ephemeris – The Launch of the DSCOVR satellite

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 23rd.  The sun will rise at 7:30.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 6:22.   The moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 12:24 tomorrow morning.

On Wednesday the 11th the DSCOVR satellite was launched to a special point between the Earth and the Sun called the Lagrangian point 1 or the Earth-Sun L1 point.  It’s a point of gravitational equilibrium between the Earth and the Sun, about a million miles sun-ward of the Earth, or four times the distance of the Moon.  It will take the craft over 100 days to get there, which it will slowly orbit.  It will act as an early warning sentinel, replacing the aging ACE spacecraft.  It will give us about an hour’s warning of incoming coronal mass ejections or CMEs erupting from the Sun.  It also has an earth pointing camera with various filters pointed to the full earth and occasionally the far side of the new Moon.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Launch!

SpaceX Falcon 9 V1.1 first stage burns to launch DSCOVR to the Earth-Sun L1 point. Credit: NASA.  Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge

Earth-Sun Lagrangian Points

Earth-Sun Lagrangian Points. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Xander89. Click to enlarge.