Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Low Thrust Blamed For Falcon 9 Rocket Crash On Drone Ship


UPDATE: The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket crash landed on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Of Course I Still Love You amidst a cloud of fire and black smoke. The frame froze during landing, leaving viewers asking if the Falcon 9 rocket landing on the drone ship happened.  SpaceX later confirmed that the landing was unsuccessful.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted, "Looks like thrust was low on 1 of 3 landing engines. High g[-force] landings v[ery] sensitive to all engines operating at max."



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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will attempt to send two satellites into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.


The SpaceX rocket launch is scheduled to liftoff at 10:29 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window ends at 11:17 a.m. EDT.

Launch Weather 80% 'GO'

According to the latest weather forecast from the United States Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is an 80% percent chance overall of acceptable weather conditions for Wednesday's launch.  The primary weather concern for launch is cumulus clouds.

Attempted Landing On Drone Ship

Following stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 will attempt a landing on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Of Course I Still Love You.  If successful, this would be the fourth time SpaceX  landing a first stage booster on a drone ship, and the fifth successful booster landing.

Payload

The Eutelsat 117 West B communications satellite built by Boeing for Eutelsat will provide Latin America with video, data, government, and mobile services for 15 years.

Also built by Boeing, the ABS-2A communications satellite will provide coverage for Asia, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. 

Both satellites use electric propulsion that produces thrust by ionizing and accelerating the noble gas xenon. While producing comparatively low thrust relative to conventional rocket engines, ion thrusters provide significantly greater specific impulse, or fuel economy. This results in increased payload carrying capacity and a greater number of on-orbit maneuvers for a spacecraft using ion thrusters rather than traditional rocket engines.

Photo credit: SpaceX