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Posts Tagged ‘Falcon Heavy’

12/30/2019 – Ephemeris – Some space advances this year

December 30, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, December 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 5:10, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:20. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 9:45 this evening.

Let’s look back at space activity this past year. SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket twice successfully for commercial payloads. It also performed the Demo 1 flight to send a uncrewed Dragon 2 to the International Space Station. That went off without a hitch. However when testing the same capsule a month later it was destroyed in a fueling mishap that postponed further flight tests until next month. The other Commercial Crew contractor Boeing was having problems with its Star Liner capsule. The latest being a mishap with their test flight to dock with the ISS. Supposedly a timing malfunction caused it to use too much fuel, so it ended in the wrong orbit. However it did land safely.

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

Addendum

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying the U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program 2 Mission, lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

The Demo 1 Dragon docking with the International Space Station. Credit NASA

Starliner Orbital Test Launch

Starliner Orbital Test Launch on an Atlas 5. Credit Boeing.

04/16/2019 – Ephemeris – Last week was quite a week in astronomy and space

April 16, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 8:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:55. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:23 tomorrow morning.

Last week was quite a week in astronomy and space. Wednesday was the announcement that the Event Horizon Telescope team had actually imaged the supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87, using eight sub-millimeter radio telescopes observing from five continents simultaneously. We’ll have to wait a bit to get an image of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole. Later that Day SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket to loft an Arab communications satellite into orbit. The three boosters landed safely. Thursday the Israeli privately financed Beresheet lunar lander almost landed safely on the Moon. Unfortunately its rocket engines failed during its landing attempt. They will build another and try again.

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

Addendum

Black hole in M87

The first image of the black hole in M87. Credit Event Horizon Telescope.

M87 Jet

A 5,000 light year long jet from the black hole M87* that’s actually aimed mostly toward us. So the accretion disk in the black hole image is like a halo around the event horizon seen from near the pole of rotation. Credit: NASA/The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).

Falcon Heavy launch

Falcon Heavy leaves the pad. April 10, 2019. Credit SpaceX.

A selfie image of part of the Beresheet lander moments before contact was lost from the Beresheet spacecraft during its descent to the Moon. Credit: SpaceIL/Israel Aerospace Industries.

02/26/2018 – Ephemeris – The Falcon Heavy, a game changer

February 26, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 26th. The Sun will rise at 7:25. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 1 minute, setting at 6:26. The Moon, half way from first quarter to full, will set at 5:52 tomorrow morning.

It’s been 20 days since SpaceX launched their massive Falcon Heavy rocket. Basically three Falcon 9’s strapped together, it’s now the most powerful rocket now in service, whose payload mass to orbit was only exceeded by the Saturn V Moon rocket of the Apollo days. Where the Saturn 5 was more than a billion dollars to launch and the Space Launch System (SLS) now being built with a similar price tag, a Falcon Heavy launch is supposed to be less than 100 million dollars. The next version of the Falcon 9, Block 5, should be powerful enough to launch astronauts to the space station, the original task for the Falcon Heavy. This may mean that the Falcon Heavy may have a short life span. This is because the next rocket is coming off the drawing boards, or rather CAD programs, the BFR, the Mars rocket will be even more powerful and reusable.  However the low price tag of a Falcon Heavy launch may be too inexpensive to pass up, even for NASA for heavy satellites of deep solar system missions

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

Addendum

Falcon Meavy launch

Test launch of the Falcon Heavy, as it clears the tower on February 6, 2018. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit: SpaceX.

Side boosters landing

The side boosters landing back at the Cape. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit: SpaceX.