After repeated Council of Worlds slaps against Elon Musk’s Space X Falcon rocket launch and/or landings, during which the Zetas emphasized that a manned mission to Mars will not occur, they seem to have had a success. What is different about this launch and landing is that the ocean platform landing was not attempted. Instead, the stage one rocket was brought back to land in Florida. Was this the issue? Why the objection to the ocean platform landing? [and from another]  I understand the benefits of reusability for the rocket booster. But I don't understand why they're landing it on a barge. I've read tons of articles about this but not one has even hinted at an answer. Why is landing on a barge preferable over a launchpad or any other large flat surface that isn't moving with the waves? … Musk says the payload hit for RTLS (Return To Launch Site) is 30% vs a 15% payload hit for landing on a downrange ocean platform. … I see nobody seems to have mentioned the simplest reason why they're not landing on land: there isn't any. They launch east from Florida, and there aren't any islands in the Atlantic out there. [and from another]  The launch and landing in Cape Canaveral, Florida, were the first from the private U.S. spaceflight company since its rocket exploded on liftoff in June. SpaceX had not previously attempted to land a rocket on land, and it marked the firm's first successful attempt to recover a rocket from an orbital flight. Previous attempts, all unsuccessful, were attempted on floating landing pads. The 15-story first stage of rocket — used to propel the payload to 62 miles or so until the second stage takes over — successfully landed on Earth again at a prepared landing zone.

After repeated failures, which we described as warnings from the Council of Worlds, the Space X Falcon has successfully made a launch while relanding the booster rockets to Earth. What is the message here, amid this celebration? The trail of tears for Elon Musk included the Falcon exploding on launch last June 28, and the landing platform disaster on April 15. We explained that the Council was sending a message that the elite would not escape to Mars. Why then was the Falcon successfully launched with the booster rockets landed back in Cape Canaveral? Noticeably lacking this time was the landing on an ocean platform. 

Why is this key? Landing on an ocean platform did not make sense from a cost benefit analysis. Espoused for saving a mere 15% in fuel costs, it carried the overhead of the platform itself. Musk stated the reason for an ocean landing was to avoid a crash on land, near populated areas, during initial practice runs. But without a successful landing, this December 21 landing was done directly onto land. The real goal, an ocean platform landing AND launch, was dropped, so that simply launching satellites and resupplying the ISS would be involved for the present and in the future. 

Despite much crowing in the media about manned missions to Mars, all involved know this will never be accomplished. It is bravado and face saving. The missions to and from Mars would require operating during the Last Weeks and in the Aftertime, when Cape Canaveral in Florida will be awash and under water. Houston likewise will be quickly under water. The elite at NASA and hovering around Elon Musk are well aware of the ZetaTalk predictions and accuracy, and see how quickly Nibiru is approaching the Earth. They know that time is tight, the timeline compressing, and if a replacement for a land launch is not available, all is lost!

Source: ZetaTalk Chat Q&A for December 26, 2015

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Comment by M. Difato on April 15, 2020 at 8:09pm

Rocket Lab catches falling Electron booster with helicopter in reusability test

Rocket Lab just took a dramatic step toward booster reuse.

The spaceflight company announced last year that it wants to start recovering and reflying the first stages of its two-stage Electron rocket, which gives small satellites dedicated rides to orbit. 

Rocket Lab's recovery vision doesn't involve SpaceX-style vertical booster landings; the 57-foot-tall (17 meters) Electron just isn't built for that, company officials have said. So, the plan is to pluck falling Electron first stages out of the sky using a helicopter.

And Rocket Lab pulled off that maneuver early last month during a test over open ocean near New Zealand, the company announced Wednesday (April 8).

One helicopter dropped an Electron test stage, which deployed a parachute. A second helicopter then swooped in and snagged the chute's drogue line at an altitude of about 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) using a special grappling hook. The chopper successfully ferried the rocket stage back to land, as it would during a real post-launch recovery, company representatives said.

"Congratulations to the recovery team here at Rocket Lab on a flawless midair recovery test," Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said in a statement

"Electron has already unlocked access to space for small satellites, but every step closer to reusability is a step closer to even more frequent launch opportunities for our customers," Beck added. "We're looking forward to pushing the technology even further this year and bringing a flown stage back to the factory."

That coming milestone, which Rocket Lab aims to notch late in 2020, won't involve a midair catch. The plan is to let an Electron first stage splash down softly under parachute after liftoff from Rocket Lab's New Zealand launch site and collect the booster with a ship, company representatives said.

Last month's test, which took place before New Zealand instituted strict stay-at-home measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, wasn't Rocket Lab's first demonstration of reusability tech. On the two most recent Electron launches, which occurred in December 2019 and January of this year, the company guided first stages back to Earth in a controlled fashion, gathering lots of data along the way.

Electron has 11 launches under its belt. All of them took off from the New Zealand site, on the North Island's Mahia Peninsula. But California-based Rocket Lab has also built a launch site in the U.S., at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia's Wallops Island. The first launch from the Virginia pad should take place this year, company representatives have said.


Comment by M. Difato on April 3, 2020 at 2:45pm

The third Starship prototype failed its cryo test on Friday morning

This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype—SN3—onto a test stand ​at the company's Boca Chica launch site. On Wednesday night, they pressure-tested the vehicle at ambient temperature with nitrogen, and SN3 performed fine.

SpaceX's Starship SN3 prototype fails cryogenic proof test

    (Images from Youtube video)

On Thursday night SpaceX began cryo-testing the vehicle, which means it was loaded again with nitrogen, but this time it was chilled to flight-like temperatures and put under flight-like pressures. Unfortunately, a little after 2am local time, SN3 failed and began to collapse on top of itself. It appeared as if the vehicle may have lost pressurization and become top-heavy.

Shortly after the failure, SpaceX's founder and chief engineer, Elon Musk, said on Twitter, "We will see what data review says in the morning, but this may have been a test configuration mistake." A testing issue would be good in the sense that it means the vehicle itself performed well, and the problem can be more easily addressed.

This is the third time a Starship has failed during these proof tests that precede engine tests and, potentially flight tests. Multiple sources indicated that had these preliminary tests succeeded, SN3 would have attempted a 150-meter flight test as early as next Tuesday.

Here's a recap of SpaceX's efforts to test full-size Starships to date:

  • Starship Mk1: Construction began in December, 2018. Failed during pressure test in November, 2019.
  • Starship SN1: Construction began in October, 2019. Failed during a pressure test in March, 2020.
  • Starship SN2: Construction began in Feb., 2020. After SN1 failure, was converted into a test bed for thrust puck at base of rocket. Passed test on March 8, and was retired.
  • Starship SN3: Construction began in March, 2020. Cryogenic test failure on April 3.
  • Starship SN4: Construction began in March, 2020. Testing begins later this month?

This failure has to be a disappointment in that the prototype rocket failed for a third time before getting to Raptor engine tests. And after the SN1 failure, Musk said he told his engineers, "In the future, you treat that rocket like it’s your baby, and you do not send it to the test site unless you think your baby’s going to be OK."

This baby was not OK..."

Comment by M. Difato on March 26, 2020 at 1:59pm

SpaceX parachute test didn’t go smoothly and may threaten NASA launch

SpaceX attempted to test its Crew Dragon parachute system but the test was cut short after the dummy object with the parachutes installed on it became unstable during ascent. 

  • The helicopter crew hauling the object had to release it, destroying it in the process. The test was obviously not completed as intended. 
  • NASA and SpaceX will now have to decide how to proceed and possibly reschedule the test for a later date..."


SpaceX encounters problem just before Crew Dragon parachute test

It's unclear if the issue will affect the timing of SpaceX's first crewed mission.

SpaceX just experienced a hiccup in the lead-up to its first crewed flight.  

The California-based company hauled a test article of its Crew Dragon capsule skyward with a helicopter on Tuesday (March 24), to help prove out the vehicle's parachute system ahead of the historic Demo-2 mission. 

Demo-2, which is currently scheduled to launch in mid- to late May, will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS). It will be the first crewed orbital flight to launch from U.S. soil since NASA's space shuttle fleet retired in July 2011.

But the parachutes never got a chance to show their stuff.

"During a planned parachute drop test today, the test article suspended underneath the helicopter became unstable," SpaceX said Tuesday in an emailed statement. 

"Out of an abundance of caution and to keep the helicopter crew safe, the pilot pulled the emergency release," the statement added. "As the helicopter was not yet at target conditions, the test article was not armed, and as such, the parachute system did not initiate the parachute deployment sequence. While the test article was lost, this was not a failure of the parachute system, and most importantly, no one was injured. NASA and SpaceX are working together to determine the testing plan going forward in advance of Crew Dragon’s second demonstration mission."

SpaceX has been developing Crew Dragon under multiple NASA contracts, the most recent of which, a $2.6 billion deal, was announced in September 2014. NASA signed a similar, $4.2 billion deal with Boeing at the same time to finish work on its crew capsule, called CST-100 Starliner.

As the SpaceX statement noted, Crew Dragon has already flown once. In March 2019, the capsule aced an uncrewed demonstration mission to the ISS called Demo-1. Starliner flew its version of Demo-1, called Orbital Flight Test (OFT), this past December. But things didn't go as planned; Starliner failed to reach the ISS, circling Earth by itself for two days before coming down for a safe landing in New Mexico. Subsequent analyses of OFT data have revealed several Starliner software issues that Boeing must address, NASA officials have said.

Yesterday's anomaly was the second in a week that could affect the timing of Demo-2. The other involved a Falcon 9 rocket, the workhorse SpaceX booster that launches Crew Dragon (and many other payloads). 

On March 18, one of the nine engines on a Falcon 9 first stage suffered a problem during the launch of 60 of the company's Starlink internet satellites. The rocket managed to deliver the satellites to orbit just fine; the Falcon 9 is designed to overcome engine failures, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has stressed..."

Image Source: Terry Renna/AP/REX/Shutterstock


Comment by M. Difato on March 19, 2020 at 2:38pm

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 60 more Starlink satellites, but booster landing fails

Three days after a dramatic launch abort, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket suffered a premature engine shutdown during the climb to space Wednesday (Mar 18) but was still able to place another batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites into the planned orbit. The first stage, however, was unable to pull off what would have been its fifth landing, instead chalking up SpaceX's second unsuccessful recovery in the past three flights.

The launching from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center came just hours after NASA put its field centers on coronavirus "level 3" status, requiring civil servants to work from home and closing the bases to all but "mission-essential" personnel to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

But the restrictions did not affect SpaceX workers or Air Force personnel who provide tracking and telemetry support, and the Falcon 9 thundered to life at 8:16 a.m. EDT, streaking away from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center along a northeasterly trajectory over the Atlantic Ocean.

A launch try Sunday was aborted as the booster's nine Merlin 1D engines were firing up when "out of family" data was detected during a last-second computer check. No details were provided, but the company was able to recycle for a second launch try Wednesday and this time around, the countdown ticked smoothly to blastoff.

The first stage, after boosting the second stage and its cargo of 60 Starlink satellites out of the thick lower atmosphere, attempted to fly itself back to fifth landing an off-shore droneship, firing three engines to slow down as it plunged back toward Earth.

But video from the rocket was lost about a minute before touchdown and a SpaceX commentator later confirmed "we were not able to land that stage today. We are obviously disappointed, but our primary mission ... is still on target."

The lost stage flew in July 2018, again in October 2018 and twice more in February and November 2019. The "block 5" stages are designed to fly at least 10 times without major refurbishment, a key element in SpaceX founder Elon Musk's drive to lower launch costs through "rapid reusability."

Video from a camera mounted on the booster showed a sudden, very brief change in the rocket's exhaust plume a few seconds before engine shutdown and stage separation. In a tweet, Musk said the booster experienced "an early engine shutdown."

"Shows value of having 9 engines! Thorough investigation needed before next mission," he said.."

Comment by M. Difato on March 15, 2020 at 3:20pm

SpaceX aborts Starlink satellite launch at the last second, due to Falcon 9 rocket engine issue

SpaceX’s planned launch of its sixth batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites literally fizzled out today (March 15), apparently due to an engine power problem on the Falcon 9 rocket.

  • The countdown at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida went all the way to zero at 9:22 a.m. ET (6:22 a.m. PT), and SpaceX’s launch commentator reported ignition. But the rocket didn’t go anywhere, because a yet-to-be-determined problem arose when the first-stage engines powered up.
  • The first-stage booster has been used four times before and was readied for a precedent-setting fifth launch. The rocket’s nose cone, or fairing, was recovered after the first 60-satellite Starlink launch last May and refurbished for this mission.
  • The mission aims to add to the current constellation of 300 Starlink satellites, which are built at SpaceX’s facility in Redmond, Wash., to provide global internet access. SpaceX will schedule another launch attempt once it resolves the issue that led to today’s abort.


Comment by M. Difato on March 1, 2020 at 1:25am

SpaceX Prototype Spacecraft Blows Up During Testing In Texas

A SpaceX prototype for its Starship SN1 super-rocket blew up during a pressure test on Feb. 28, according to a report from GeekWire.

The prototype, which was destroyed during a test at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville, imploded as it flew into the air and quickly fell to the ground, according to Saturday’s report.

“Initial reports suggested that the tank suffered a structural failure during pressurization,” GeekWire wrote. “Information about potential injuries or the extent of damage wasn’t immediately available.”

The unfinished vehicle is envisioned to become a reusable transportation system to carry crew and cargo to the moon and Mars, according to SpaceX.

KRGV, an ABC-affiliated television station in the Rio Grande Valley, posted video of the incident obtained from YouTube. Residents several miles away reported feeling and hearing the blast, KRGV reported.

The city of Port Isabel, Texas, issued an advisory saying there were no injuries and no chemicals were known to have been released, KRGV said.

SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Comment by M. Difato on February 17, 2020 at 7:43pm

SpaceX grows Starlink again, but just misses the landing

The company did what it set out to do Monday, but its rocket went for an unplanned swim.

SpaceX sent another batch of Starlink satellites into orbit but didn't quite stick the landing of its Falcon 9 rocket Monday (Feb 17).

Elon Musk's space company did achieve its primary objective of sending 60 more flying nodes for its nascent global broadband service into space, bringing the total number of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit to nearly 300. 

  A disturbance can be seen just off camera as a Falcon 9 first stage made a soft water landing next to the         droneship. Video capture by Eric Mack/CNET

A secondary goal for the fifth Starlink mission, as with most SpaceX launches, was to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 by landing it on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. But this time the rocket missed the mark by a smidge. At the time it was expected to land, the live webcast from the droneship showed smoke or steam just off camera as the Falcon 9 made a "soft water landing." 

SpaceX reported during the webcast that the rocket appears to be intact and floating on the ocean, but it remains unclear whether it can be recovered. The booster had a useful life, having already launched three earlier SpaceX missions in 2019 before Monday's Starlink mission. Had it landed successfully, it would have been the 50th successful booster landing for the company. Now we may have to wait until the next planned Falcon 9 launch on March 2 to see that milestone..."

Comment by M. Difato on December 19, 2019 at 9:23am

A SpaceX rocket lost its nose cone during an otherwise successful launch in Florida

A SpaceX launch on Monday (Dec 16) went perfectly, except for one detail: The rocket lost its nose cone. At 7:10 p.m. ET, a Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to deliver a satellite into orbit.

The rocket's nose cone (otherwise known as its fairing halves) was supposed to be caught by two drone ships — named Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief – waiting in the Atlantic Ocean, equipped with large, stretched-out sheets.

Though the rocket successfully deployed the satellite, the company confirmed on Twitter that the ships had just missed catching both halves of the nose cone.

It's not unusual for rockets to lose their nose cones, which are designed to protect the spacecraft's payload and then split in two and detach after it's gone into space. That's why the nose cone is also referred to as the fairing halves.

SpaceX's mission, however, is not just to launch rockets. Along with many other space-exploration companies, SpaceX is racing to build reusable rockets and gradually lower the cost of spaceflight.

Monday's flight was meant to be another step toward this goal by marking the most rocket components recovered of any SpaceX flight, according to The Verge.

Comment by M. Difato on July 17, 2019 at 10:22pm

SpaceX’s Starhopper rocket bursts into flames during tests

Unlike some other space vessels, Starship, Spacehopper’s big brother, is expected to be completely reusable. Much like an airplane, it will be able to take off and land multiple times. SpaceX’s Falcon series of rockets are currently partially reusable.

The vessel was originally named “Big Falcon Rocket.” CEO Elon Musk changed the name of the rocket to Starship last year. When he announced the name change on Twitter a commenter mentioned “unless this starship is sent on a mission to another star system it can’t be called a starship” to which Musk replied, “Later versions will.”

Starhopper is meant to be a test rocket for the Starship project. During tests, the spacecraft has been flying short flights at a low altitude as a way of proving the technology used to power it actually works. If the project takes off, it could revolutionize space travel (and make it significantly less expensive by reusing the same rocket).

The spacecraft uses SpaceX’s “Raptor” rocket engines, and the company plans to gradually add more of those engines over time, ultimately reaching the seven engines expected to be included in the final Starship rocket. That rocket will also have an additional 31 Raptor engines as part of a “Super Heavy” booster. SpaceX completed its first test of Starhopper in April.

Inaugural missions for Starship are expected to happen as early as 2021.


SpaceX’s test rocket catches fire after engine test

The fire seems to have put testing on pause

Comment by M. Difato on July 16, 2019 at 3:25pm

SpaceX May Let Its 'Starhopper' Starship Prototype Off Its Leash Today

Starhopper is expected to get about 65 feet off the ground.


 SpaceX's Mars-colonizing tech will take a big leap today (July 16), if all goes according to plan.

The Starhopper spacecraft, a prototype of SpaceX's Starship Mars vehicle, is scheduled to make its first untethered test flight tomorrow, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

"Raptor engine mounted on Starhopper. Aiming for hover test Tues," Musk said via Twitter Saturday (July 13). "~20 m [meters, 66 feet] up & sideways for first flight. Mk1 Starship hopefully 20 km [12 miles] up in a few months," he added in another tweet.

Starhopper has made two brief test flights to date, both of them while tethered to the ground for safety's sake. Those flights occurred in April at SpaceX's Boca Chica facility, near Brownsville, Texas. The upcoming, untethered flight will also occur at Boca Chica.

This first version of Starhopper features one of SpaceX's advanced, next-generation Raptor engines. SpaceX has been testing the engine that will fly tomorrow extensively over the past few weeks, and it is apparently now ready to go, as Musk said.

Future, higher-flying iterations of Starhopper will sport three Raptors. The fully operational, 100-passenger Starship will have six of the engines. Starship will launch atop a huge rocket called Super Heavy, which will be powered by 31 Raptors. Both Starship and Super Heavy will be reusable.

Indeed, SpaceX is counting on both vehicles to fly frequently and repeatedly, bringing the cost of launch down enough to make it economically feasible to tackle Mars settlement and other ambitious exploration feats. 

SpaceX is building Starship prototypes at Boca Chica and on Florida's Space Coast, reasoning that some competition will improve the vehicle's design. 

The Starship-Super Heavy duo has one confirmed mission on its docket: a round-the-moon trip booked by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who plans to take a group of artists with him. That flight is targeted for 2023. But SpaceX is looking to launch an uncrewed commercial satellite mission sooner — perhaps as early as 2021.

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