Mars will kill you

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Kizmet, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Total solar eclipse Tuesday July 2. In Chile and Argentina.

    The European Southern Observatory in Chile plans to do a live webcast here

    They say that the webcast starts 19:15 UTC (15:15 EDT, 12:15 PDT)

    It reaches maximum at 20:40 UTC (16:40 EDT, 13:40 PDT)
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  5. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    India is planning to launch a lunar mission called Chandrayaan 2 on July 15. The plan is to land a lunar lander near the Moon's south pole that will release a rover. The hoped for lunar landing should come September 9.



    They will be livestreaming the launch. Looks like it's scheduled to launch Sunday afternoon US time.

    Should be streaming here:

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  6. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    In Mars-related news, Elon Musk's very peculiar steam-punk spaceship the Boca Chica Starhopper (built by a bunch of Texas good-ol-boys out in a field)


    ... has finally been fitted with its extremely advanced rocket engine (which has been experiencing development delays) and is supposed to fly in its first untethered test flight on Tuesday July 16.

    An FAA NOTAM announcing Temporary Flight Restrictions over Boca Chica has just been posted. Effective dates are Monday July 15 through Wednesday July 17.

    And Elon's been tweeting.

    He writes

    "Raptor engine mounted on Starhopper. Aiming for hover test Tues."

    "~20m up & sideways for first flight. Mk1 Starship hopefully 20 km up in a few months."

    Live streams of the preparations and the Tuesday flight should be on the Labpadre youtube channel

    And here:

    And maybe even streamed by SpaceX itself (Elon's hinted about that)

    It won't be very ambitious, intended to rise about 20 meters and hover, then translate sideways. Mostly about controlling the engine so as to enable future propulsive landings of anticipated large interplanetary-class rockets dubbed Starship, two early 'Mk1' prototypes of which are already under construction, one in Boca Chica TX, the other in Cocoa FL.

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    It's interesting that there is more of this sort of activity now. All those sci-fi novels I read growing up make me imagine that at some point there will be a fight over Moon/Mars real estate. Someday it will be the place where rich people vacation. Maybe then I can afford some time on Martha's Vineyard.
  8. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Chandrayaan 2 launch today seems to have been scrubbed. Nothing official from ISRO yet. No word on why they are standing down. Presumably something wasn't right in the preflight checks. No word on a new launch date. That probably depends on the nature of the fault and on how quickly they can resolve it.

    A source at Canberra Deep Space Tracking in Australia which are cooperating with ISRO in providing communications with Chandrayaan 2 verifies that NASA's Deep Space Tracking Network has been told that they can stand down.
  9. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Today the road to Boca Chica was closed in the afternoon. (Photo of road block from LabPadre's live-feed)


    Then the road reopened and a bunch of vehicles went down to the pad and everyone figured things were over for the day. But... the pad cleared out again, the hard checkpoint went back up and tanking and pressurization tests were underway after the sun went down. (Extraordinary photo from Labpadre's live-stream)


    Talk is that there will be a static fire of the engine tomorrow in preparation for the Steampunk Spaceship's free-flight on Tuesday.

    It's history and you can watch it live. (Catnip to us Science Fiction nuts.)

    The place to see events as they happen is LabPadre's youtube channel here:
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  10. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Here's a screen-shot of today's big event from LabPadre's live-stream. (Essential viewing for anyone interested in this.)


    It's reportedly a pre-burner test, in which they fire up what are in effect the little jet engines (turbo pumps) that feed their fuel-rich and oxidizer-rich exhausts into the main combustion chamber which wasn't lit today. One of the difficult things with a rocket engine is that the fuel and oxidizer have to be forced into the engine's combustion chamber with more pressure than the rocket engine chamber-pressure that produces the rocket thrust. That's (literally) hard and many of the complexities in rocket engine design result from that.

    Apparently that static test fire might come tomorrow.

    So... the untethered free-flight probably won't be Tuesday. It might have slipped to Wednesday (hopefully).
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

  13. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    The board needs an update on the extraordinary Boca Chica Starhopper events of last Wednesday.

    The static test fire was conducted... and SpaceX appears to have been satisfied with the engine's performance.

    But when the test run was completed and the engine shut off, flames were seen beneath the Hopper. The remote control fire-suppression system was activated, then the whole thing erupted into a truly spectacular ball of flame.

    A video of the eruption is here:

    I believed that the Starhopper must have exploded and it had to have been totalled. But... as the flames subsided, it was still standing. It was detanked, safed and powered down. Next morning, inspections revealed almost no damage.

    Turns out that the culprit was a fuel leak. The rocket exhaust of the test run ignited fuel pooled beneath the Hopper and when the flame-suppression system started spraying water on the fire, the cryogenic liquid methane flared up violently in the same way that kitchen grease fires do.

    The result was that the untethered test flight was delayed a week until this Wednesday as the source of the leaks was addressed. (Speculation points to the umbilical disconnects.) Now the first flight is on again and road closures have been announced for Wednesday (the primary day) and Thursday (the backup day) and the FAA has issued a NOTAM announcing Temporary Flight Restrictions over Boca Chica for the same days.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  14. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Today's the big day in Boca Chica.

    The road is apparently still open as I write this.

    And one of the most iconic figures in space travel is there:

    Here's where one of the live-streams will be. (Everyday Astronaut will apparently have another.) Labpadre's stream is already going even though the Hopper experiment isn't likely to happen until around (or maybe after) sundown. I don't really expect it until after 8 PM CDT (6 PM PDT/9 PM EDT).
  15. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    If the Starhopper's long-awaited first untethered flight later today just isn't enough to satisfy you, SpaceX has an entertaining warm-up act: today's launch of a (used) Falcon 9 lofting a (used) supply Dragon to the Space Station. The booster will return and attempt one of those exceedingly cool propulsive landings at Cape Canaveral.

    Here's NASA showing off the Apollo50 logo on the Dragon capsule, but what caught my eye were the two Space Station mission marks indicating that this particular capsule has been there twice before.

    Scheduled for 6:24 PM EDT/3:24 PM PDT, provided that weather holds.

    It will be livestreamed here:

    NASA will have a livestream too. It may or may not be SpaceX's feed and hopefully they will have some video from the Space Station of the capsule arriving.
  16. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    The supply flight to the Space Station was just scrubbed and pushed back 24 hours, due to anvil clouds moving overhead.

    As far as Boca Chica, the pad has been cleared and roadblocks are up.
  17. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    5:20 CDT: Pad is clear, roadblocks are up and the road is closed.

    6:55 CDT: Inside SX source apparently tells NSF that fuel loading has begun. Some minor vapor venting from what looks like a pressure valve on the hopper's side. Mary/BCG says she hears the distinctive pump sound that she hears when they are moving fuel around.

    7:09 CDT: Labpadre's stream shows many cars gathering at the police roadblock. They don't seem to be SpaceX but rather spectators gathering. The chat on the livestream is hugely international. Very cool in my opinion. Viewers from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, from Poland, UK, and the Netherlands, from Morocco, Surinam and even somebody from Syria! The Russians say that a Russian space internet or TV channel was showing the scrubbed Falcon 9 launch live and when it was canceled, told viewers about Labpadre's stream. So a big crowd of Russian space geeks suddenly tuned in and were welcomed.

    7:23 CDT: Flare stack lit. Vapor visible by LOX and propellant tanks.

    SpaceX has just begun their own stream! With commentary.

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  18. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Engine was lit, ran for about a second, aborted and shut off. There was considerable flame from what appeared to be a pressure relief valve atop the vehicle, but that's out.

    Video (from the SpaceX stream) here:

    Insider at SX apparently tells NSF that they are assessing a recycle and might try again this evening. (Probably won't, but...)
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  19. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Hoppy flew last night!

    Elon's posted some SpaceX video.

    Drone cam: You can see it rising, hovering and pitching left, which was intentional since they wanted it to move sideways while in hover.

    They are launching this thing by directing the rocket exhaust at a concrete slab instead of into a Cape Canaveral-style flame-duct. So the blast is reflected back up. That's why it looks so fiery and the visuals are obscured. But you can make it out.


    Engine cam (the hordes of engineers watching everything are interested in this one):

    Good news and bad news: Good news is that Hoppy appears to be in good shape, rather proud of itself and ready to have another go. The engineers are impressed by how well the engine throttling and gimballing worked.

    After the rocket's red glare, our flagship was still there...

    Bad news is that Hoppy's 'rocket's red glare' managed to light a brush fire that's still being put out.

    For another viewpoint, here's Mary/BCG's video of Hoppy's flight. Clouds of smoke obscure most of it, but if you look closely, you will see the top of Hoppy with its distinctive white COPV's just poking above the cloud (giving an idea of how high it reached). Note also its movement to the left relative to the three tanks in the foreground, "the three amigos".
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
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  20. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

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