SpaceX Starship Booster Upgrade After Static Fires, Hakuto-R Moon Lander, CRS-26, & Artemis 1 Update
"We'll get right into it, along with the general Starbase news. The incredible little Hakuto-R Moon Lander will be arriving soon. There's a lot to learn about this one that will be launched into space by Falcon 9."
"We had CRS-26 delivering critical components to the International Space Station. Then Artemis 1 shows Orion continuing its breathtaking journey as it prepares to return home."
SpaceX-Prix: SpaceX Starship Booster is ready to blast off again
On Monday morning SpaceX performed multiple fire suppression tests on Booster 7, and then after a few hours the road closed, the launch site was fully cleared of workers, and then a few hours later venting kicked in for propellant loading.
After some time of orbital launch mount venting, Booster 7 had a quite long depress vent followed by cars returning. The engine chill and venting continued, and the liquid oxygen tank was filled close to the brim. The fire suppression system activated and the 33 engine static fire of Booster 7 was successful, with 11 engines firing. A small brush fire occurred, but extinguished itself quickly, and the insulation on one of the propellant lines caught fire.
SpaceX's new FONDAG concrete held up a little better compared to the old concrete, but there was still some debris raining down from the sky. It doesn't look all that bad though, just some damage right at the point where the main exhaust might have been hitting the concrete.
Personally I loved seeing the massive oxygen tank of the booster almost completely frosted over. It'll be cool to see ice shaking off during the initial liftoff of the orbital flight.
On Thursday two Raptor engines were delivered to the launchsite and a new platform was moved underneath. A new engine was installed and the old one was removed.
The booster had a busy week, and then came back down on Friday. I suspect SpaceX wanted to finalize the shroud installation around the engines and the orbital launch mount.
Ship 24's repairs continued this week, with the crew placing back a lot of the heatshield tiles that had been uncovered for the repairs. Over at the buildsite, work continued on Ship 25's Raptor Vacuum engines.
Ship 26 is nearing completion with its Nosecone assembly being moved into the Highbay early in the week. I really want to see how it looks finished, especially since it excludes the flaps since SN6.
The news of the week is arguably SpaceX's ispace M1 launch coming very soon with the Falcon 9 booster 1073 on its fifth flight
This mission is carrying the Hakuto-R M1 lunar lander for Japanese company ispace and the Lunar Flashlight CubeSat for NASA.
I always love watching these landing zone missions as we get to see the incredible uninterrupted footage.
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The lander weighs 340 kilograms and has a leg span of 2.6 meters. It will land in Atlas Crater on the moon and has a main thruster, tiny little thrusters, and reaction thrusters.
SpaceX's Artemis 1 mission will perform the first orbital control maneuver, and then will perform a massive range of tests including reaching lunar orbit and landing on the surface. If all goes well, this paves the way nicely for mission 2 in 2024.
SpaceX cargo dragon mission CRS26 launched from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center on a fantastic clear day. Greg Scott picked up some spectacular views from the ground, and after second engine cutoff we had some great unique views of the unpressurised trunk of Dragon.
The crew were now cleared to resume their exercising once the spaceship was securely docked to the station's Harmony module.
The 3,528 kilograms of cargo included food, equipment, and science experiments. One of the experiments is growing dwarf tomatoes under different light spectrums to see how each affects growth, flavor, and overall nutrition.
The Orion capsule is now just over 2 weeks into the Artemis 1 mission and has reached its peak distance from earth of 435,000 kilometers (270,000 miles).
The engineers continued to test out multiple systems onboard Orion, including the star tracker and inertial measurement units, as well as Callisto, a digital voice assistant.
Orion is closing in on the moon and will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, December 11th.
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Australia launched its first satellite in 1967, a 3 stage modified Redstone rocket from project Sparta, from Woomera, South Australia. It completed 642 laps around earth before re-entering the atmosphere.
Australia had a large part in the upcoming space launch industry, but sadly it all but disappeared by 1980. Now there is finally activity with Southern Launch constructing their coastal launch site at Whaler's Way in South Australia, and Gilmour Space making great progress towards their first launch.