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Old 08-27-2013, 08:21 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default Epsilon & Delta IV Heavy launches

Hello All,

The inaugural launch of JAXA's new Epsilon solid propellant (with a small liquid propellant fourth stage) SLV (Satellite Launch Vehicle) from the Uchinoura Space Center was aborted this morning, less than one minute before the planned liftoff time (see the illustrated Mission Status Center page here: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...nta/status.html ). The re-scheduled launch date & time will be posted here, and this page will carry live streaming coverage of the launch when it occurs. The Epsilon rocket is designed to conduct largely autonomous countdowns, making its own computerized self-diagnostic health tests (including deciding if it is flying within the range safety criteria and destroying itself if necessary). These features will not be used for this first test launch. The vehicle is carrying a planetary telescope-equipped satellite called SPRINT-A, which is intended to be injected into a 590 mile (950 km) X 714 mile (1,150 km) orbit inclined 31 degrees to the equator. The launch trajectory ground track can be seen here (see: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...roundtrack.html ). The timeline of events during the vehicle's powered ascent (see: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...chtimeline.html ) indicates delays of up to minutes between stage burns. Also:

A triple-barreled Delta IV Heavy rocket is scheduled to be launched tomorrow morning (Wednesday, August 28) at 10:52 AM Pacific Time (1:52 PM Eastern Time, 1752 Greenwich Mean Time [GMT]) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (see: www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d364/preview.html ). The vehicle, which will carry the classified NROL-65 satellite into a polar orbit, will also test a new staggered engine start sequence that is intended to reduce the amount of flaming gaseous hydrogen around the rocket at launch. The starboard booster's RS-68 engine will be ignited at T-7 seconds, followed by the port booster's and the center "core" vehicle's RS-68s at T-5 seconds. This flight's Mission Status Center page (see: www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d364/status.html ) will have live coverage of the launch.
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Last edited by blackshire : 08-27-2013 at 08:24 PM. Reason: This ol' hoss done forgot somethin'.
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:35 AM
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Hello All,

The Delta IV Heavy launches in just a few hours (see: www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d364/status.html ), if all goes well. Also, here is an Epsilon update:

The initial launch of JAXA's Epsilon satellite launch vehicle was aborted just 19 seconds before liftoff, when a computer noticed that a sensor in the rocket had exceeded pre-set limits on the vehicle's orientation--but the rocket didn't move, so the sensor's data was erroneous (see: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...ta/130827scrub/ ). It will take engineers at least three days to analyze the problem and implement a solution. Had the Epsilon vehicle lifted off, it would likely have executed some spectacular "aerobatic" maneuvers before breaking up (or being destroyed by the range safety officer), much like the recent Russian Proton rocket that somersaulted several times before diving into the ground near its launch pad.
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Last edited by blackshire : 08-28-2013 at 02:37 AM. Reason: This ol' hoss done forgot somethin'.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:42 PM
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The Delta IV Heavy injected its NROL-65 payload into the planned orbit, and the early booster ignition did reduce the amount of burning free hydrogen around the vehicle, as these pictures show: www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d364/launch/ . The first Delta IV Heavy that was launched from Vandenberg AFB charred itself almost completely black during its successful--but nerve-wracking--launch from the same pad, Space Launch Complex-6 (SLC-6, often called "Slick-6").
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:30 AM
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I wonder what barbecued insulation tastes like?
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
The Delta IV Heavy injected its NROL-65 payload into the planned orbit, and the early booster ignition did reduce the amount of burning free hydrogen around the vehicle, as these pictures show: www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d364/launch/ . The first Delta IV Heavy that was launched from Vandenberg AFB charred itself almost completely black during its successful--but nerve-wracking--launch from the same pad, Space Launch Complex-6 (SLC-6, often called "Slick-6").


I watched that launch, and thought it didn't look much different than previous launches. The scorching was still quite pronounced on the insulation at least 3/4 of the way up. I'm also curious what difference starting the starboard engine 2 seconds earlier makes versus, say, starting the center core 2 seconds earlier. The general idea of creating a down-flow draft makes sense, but an offset down-flow?
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
I watched that launch, and thought it didn't look much different than previous launches. The scorching was still quite pronounced on the insulation at least 3/4 of the way up. I'm also curious what difference starting the starboard engine 2 seconds earlier makes versus, say, starting the center core 2 seconds earlier. The general idea of creating a down-flow draft makes sense, but an offset down-flow?


You're not paying close attention then. Compare photos of NROL-49 (the previous west coast heavy) to see the contrast. NROL-49 was scorched front and back, all three cores, past the hydrogen tank and across the inter-tank compartment. NROL-65 had ZERO scorching on the "front" side (with the cable tunnels and LOX feedlines) and the scorching on the "back" was highest on the outboard CBC started first (starboard CBC, when viewed from the "front") but still below the inter-tank section. The scorching was linearly lower on the center and port CBCs. Staggered engine start appears to be a success.

You can find great photos of both launches at www.spaceflightnow.com
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frognbuff
You're not paying close attention then. Compare photos of NROL-49 (the previous west coast heavy) to see the contrast. NROL-49 was scorched front and back, all three cores, past the hydrogen tank and across the inter-tank compartment. NROL-65 had ZERO scorching on the "front" side (with the cable tunnels and LOX feedlines) and the scorching on the "back" was highest on the outboard CBC started first (starboard CBC, when viewed from the "front") but still below the inter-tank section. The scorching was linearly lower on the center and port CBCs. Staggered engine start appears to be a success.

You can find great photos of both launches at www.spaceflightnow.com


I see the stagger now in the scorch patterns. Didn't notice it before.

Still makes me wonder if some sort of active draft venting could be incorporated in the pad to eliminate the scorch completely...
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Old 08-31-2013, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
I see the stagger now in the scorch patterns. Didn't notice it before.

Still makes me wonder if some sort of active draft venting could be incorporated in the pad to eliminate the scorch completely...


Perhaps - but it would be costly. To date, the "scorch" has not impacted mission success. Even "crispy critter" NROL-49 was considered 100% successful. So staggered start is really just risk reduction against potential FOD (read: smoke) ingestion into the vehicle. And it is far cheaper than a modification to a launch pad that sees, on average, less than one launch per year!!
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:57 AM
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JAXA's new Epsilon rocket has been launched successfully (see: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...a/130914launch/ and http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...nta/status.html ), injecting the SPRINT-A planetary astronomy satellite (now named Hisaki after reaching orbit, separating from Epsilon's fourth stage, and powering up) into an orbit very close to the prelaunch projections. Enjoy the Sake tonight, JAXA--you've earned it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Hello All,

The inaugural launch of JAXA's new Epsilon solid propellant (with a small liquid propellant fourth stage) SLV (Satellite Launch Vehicle) from the Uchinoura Space Center was aborted this morning, less than one minute before the planned liftoff time (see the illustrated Mission Status Center page here: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...nta/status.html ). The re-scheduled launch date & time will be posted here, and this page will carry live streaming coverage of the launch when it occurs. The Epsilon rocket is designed to conduct largely autonomous countdowns, making its own computerized self-diagnostic health tests (including deciding if it is flying within the range safety criteria and destroying itself if necessary). These features will not be used for this first test launch. The vehicle is carrying a planetary telescope-equipped satellite called SPRINT-A, which is intended to be injected into a 590 mile (950 km) X 714 mile (1,150 km) orbit inclined 31 degrees to the equator. The launch trajectory ground track can be seen here (see: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...roundtrack.html ). The timeline of events during the vehicle's powered ascent (see: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/epsil...chtimeline.html ) indicates delays of up to minutes between stage burns. Also:

A triple-barreled Delta IV Heavy rocket is scheduled to be launched tomorrow morning (Wednesday, August 28) at 10:52 AM Pacific Time (1:52 PM Eastern Time, 1752 Greenwich Mean Time [GMT]) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (see: www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d364/preview.html ). The vehicle, which will carry the classified NROL-65 satellite into a polar orbit, will also test a new staggered engine start sequence that is intended to reduce the amount of flaming gaseous hydrogen around the rocket at launch. The starboard booster's RS-68 engine will be ignited at T-7 seconds, followed by the port booster's and the center "core" vehicle's RS-68s at T-5 seconds. This flight's Mission Status Center page (see: www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d364/status.html ) will have live coverage of the launch.
__________________
Black Shire--Draft horse in human form, model rocketeer, occasional mystic, and writer, see:
http://www.lulu.com/content/paperba...an-form/8075185
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6122050
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
All of my book proceeds go to the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre www.northcotehorses.com.
NAR #54895 SR
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