Weekend Update: SpaceX Success, Russian Launch Failure


The third time was a charm for SpaceX’s static fire of the Falcon 9 rocket, with a successful 2-second test of the nine engines, clearing the way for a launch next week for a NASA demonstration mission. SpaceX said preliminary he data analysis showed the engine test firing went as expected. An earlier try on Friday and then again Saturday morning ended in a-computer controlled abort.

SpaceX said the launch of the rocket, carrying a demonstration Dragon capsule could occur as early as December 7th, with December 8th and 9th as backup days. The weather prediction for Tuesday, however is for cold temperatures and high winds and they estimate a 40% chance for “go” that day. The launch window for all three days extends from 9:00 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST, from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

From SpaceX: “The Dragon capsule is expected to orbit the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 miles per hour, reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, and land in the Pacific Ocean roughly 3 1/2 hours later. This will be the first attempt by a commercial company to recover a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit. It is a feat performed by only 6 nations or government agencies: the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.”

There will be a webcast of the launch on the SpaceX website that will begin approximately 45 minutes prior to the opening of the daily launch window, at 8:15 a.m. EST / 5:15 a.m. PST / 13:15 UTC. During the webcast, SpaceX hosts will provide information specific to the flight, an overview of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft and commentary on the launch and flight sequences.
There will be a post-mission news conference at the Kennedy Space Center.

On Sunday, a Russian rocket launched with three new navigation satellites but failed to reach orbit, and some reports say the satellites crashed into the Pacific Ocean after launch.

See more from Tariq Malik at Space.com

Aviation Week as a great retrospective article on the space shuttle.

16 Replies to “Weekend Update: SpaceX Success, Russian Launch Failure”

  1. Is the message we are meant to interpret here flag waving “God Bless American technology ” or the usual US space-xenophobia against the poor ol’ Russians? Four long paragraphs against a inadequately and miserly sentence, doesn’t sound like balanced reporting me.
    It also seems to be the kind of rhetoric made against the Russian space program ever since they announced their clean-up act of low earth orbit (LEO) space junk.

      1. Fair enough comment.
        All I did was state the appearance of putting down “foreign” space exploration without the “all the way with the USA” that sometimes appears in these comments.
        (My later response tell you why I’ve said what I’ve said.)

    1. Sometimes I am slow on the uptake of well written satire, so excuse me if I missed the point. But isn’t this the same site that even handedly chronicles success and failure in the American and the Russian/Soviet space program. I think a little research using that previous arrow at the bottom of the page will illustrate my point. Seems like a pretty straight forward article given the current information.

      1. Yes, you are perfectly correct here. This site does cover both the successes and failures of ALL countries. However, this article draws a long bow with the quite bleak comparison. There are 307 words versus 29 words, or 9.4%! The article is entitled “Weekend Update: SpaceX Success, Russian Launch Failure.

        My way of looking at it the Russian failure is irrelevant, unless the stories are rough balanced. Yes I might have been a little satirical, but there is no real relationship between the two events.

        To me, all this article looks like the usual national parochialism at the expense of the Russians, who mind you after the creaky old Space Shuttles are mothballed, where the same good ol’ Ruskies are carry those poor American comrades back and forth to the International Space Station for the next couple of years.

        Let’s put it this way. It is like taking about the strong NFL teams in the AFC east of the New York Jets versus the New England Patriots (who were 9 — 2, when I last looked) and only talking 90% of the time about the New Your Jets!
        Could you imagine the screams if the NBC Sports commentators did that when talking the about game. They’d by looking for new places to work!

  2. Yay, on launching Dragon and the new web design. It looks really functional!

    FWIW, my immediate reactions was:
    – The new logo is anonymous. It also clashes with the old tab logo. Plz consider “Universal design” Today. Or tomorrow.
    – Text is 1/3 of screen estate, mainly because:
    * Not designed to screen.
    * An empty (and sorry) “Sponsor” area. May go with the logo issue, prioritizing sponsors, and is a commercial decision. But sure looks funny/sad right now.

    As always, thanks all in-front-of-and-behind-the-curtains for an active and engaging site!

  3. I forgot to mention that with the new design the useless (but, I assume, google-ranking) auto-links really stand out. Would you consider using different colors between them and the actual author inserted ones that one would actually want to, you know, consider follow once in a while?

    And, oh, oh, my gravatar is working! Looks wordpressy – if so, would you consider activate the spiffy Hovercard(TM) function? Gravatar haz some FAQ on WP installing, IIRC. (Not the most urgent demand. But look – they are _spiffy_.)

  4. Wow, I missed the WP splash text below. So yes, gravatars iz for realz.

    Speaking of missing, I was going to mention that after logging in I notice that the nice “recent comments” feature disappeared. But then again, there are more tabs too; maybe the site is still updating.

    Speaking of tabs then, after the Home tab they are alphanumerically sorted. The site owners may want to think over that.

  5. Nancy said “Do notice that the comments on old articles are back!”

    Oh no!! That means I’ve far more to answer for. The EU/PC guys will be rather pleased I thin — if not only for the ammunition. Drats! 🙂

    Furthermore, I have little doubt of your sincerity, and considering us bloggers get to say our piece and read the large variety of articles for free — no doubt it is a good deal. I understand the difficulties that must be faced to meet a deadline and get the information out first; then handle the ongoing issues later.
    As for say this is a “political agenda”, I’d kindly disagree. I think that the issue is the commercial agenda, where other companies and governments see the advantage of exploiting space. It is clear that Russian and China, especially has seen the light and see there is much profit in space applications. I.e. Communication in the modern digital age. Isn’t competition at the heart of the capitalist freedom, which others now gratefully embrace.
    Perhaps just a kindly word here and there might have soften the clear dichotomy in the words. I.e. Like “disappointingly” or “unfortunate set back” might have soften the blow. Perhaps a future article on the direction of the Russian space program in the commercial world?
    As an outsider of America, it can see both sides of the coin and perhaps a bit better than the old one sided views. Needless to say change is afoot, and no doubt the next twenty years might be more tell than anyone in the world thinks.
    That my opinion, and I do appreciate the sentiment in your reply.

    Note: My own response in my last post was aimed at; “Russia isn’t usually eager to talk about launch failures.” I believe truly that views like this are changing, and America should at least be saying supportive gestures for more openness. Personally, I do think they are changing, and hopefully for the good of all!

    Note : The hardest think with the new outline is either to respond to an individual post or write a new one. I usually (poorly) combine the two in my presented arguments, so it might take a little getting use to/ Lawrence B. Crowell will likely be writing Replies than new posts, I’d tyhink!

  6. Crumb: Maybe that was all that UT had to report. Russia isn’t usually eager to talk about launch failures.

    1. Well if the eal truth must be known, the US military also isn’t usually eager to talk either. I.e. I wonder if the X-37B spaceplane crashed, I doubt they would be so willing to do so either!

      I’d suggest you read the Augustine report again. I’d also advise to look at the stories this year on 35th anniversary of Apollo Soyuz project, and the significance of achieving things wby orking on joint projects.

      As for “Maybe that was all that UT had to report”. Well the another article was posted by Reuters about the same time as this one I.e. “Russian satellites crash after failed launch” By Jessica Bachman, and was 462 words.

      What is more interesting is that these satellites were involved in a rival GPS positioning system named Glonass, which would have rivalled the American system. It was intended to be a commercial venture far from the dim days of the secrecy of the cold war era. Russia has eagerly embraced the capitalist system so valued by the US, and all everyone does is want to shun them.

      Look. Honestly, American has, and continues to do really wonderful and useful things in space. Yet for all its grand majesty, it still fails to grasp the space is becoming far more international, and dare I say, it really cannot see the growing vision that space is for the benefit of all countries and peoples.

      Frankly, sir, we could do a lot better and sympathetic words of kindness might be better to heal the differences rather than blow apart Russia, etc., by the usual obligatory bias. Maybe the next generation might be different! Hope so.

      Pity “This Week in Space” with Miles O’Brien is not around anymore. It would have been a wonderful story among many that he usuallycovered.

  7. Yes, new design is a work in progress. Do notice that the comments on old articles are back!

    Crumb: At the time I posted the article all we knew is that the rocket failed; no reason or detailed info was available. I provided the link to Space.com rather than just reiterate what they had reported. Plus, it was Sunday — this was a quick post to provide a quick update on a few items — and then it was back to spending time with family. No political agenda intended.

  8. Go Space X ! I can’t wait to hear your rockets ROAR!

    Hint-hint…. hoping for high quality sound recordings of the launch that I could crank up on my sound system to approximate the real deal!

  9. Crumb: I mean’t no offense to anyone when I said that. For us in the US, Russia can appear a bit secretive, perhaps because the media coverage isn’t as grand. Then again, in mainstream media most space flight activity is ignored, which is quite sad. That’s why I’m glad UT exists, as this is a good place te get updates on a wide spectrum of spaceflight and astronomy related news. Sure, they kind of glazed over the Proton rocket failure, but I’m usually willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, as operating such a sight (and updating it) is a LOT of work, and Nancy’s response seems perfectly valid to me. She could have simply not mentioned it at all, or waited for more details to come to light.

    1. I have taken no offence with your words here. I just felt this is a common attitude.

      If anything, Russia has benefited enormously by the American showing the way in Russia’s democratisation. When it comes down to it, encouraging technological and space development in the end benefits all — including SpaceX (which I’ve sidetracked by my comments.

      Your main points made here, I think, are quite valid.

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