Starship Orbital Flight Is Most Likely to Be Delayed | Staship20 Static Fire | Blue Origin | Landsat

installed over the gas tank number two designed to hold liquid nitrogen a new test stand is being built near the orbital launch tower for starship or super heavy booster pre-launch tests the giant Liebherr crane nicknamed kong was decommissioned recently it is believed that this crane will be transported to a bridge construction site in texas the crane which was used for orbital launch tower assembly and ship 20 booster 4 stacking will either return to the site after a few months or will most likely be substituted with a new heavy-lift crane

Oct 4, 2021 - 07:31

landsat 9 a nasa satellite built to monitor the earth's land surface successfully launched atop a united launch alliance atlas 5 rocket on september 27th from vandenberg space force base in california the launch was originally scheduled for september 16 but it was delayed a week due to a high demand for liquid oxygen to help treat covet 19 patients the scent or upper stage released the satellite into a sun synchronous orbit an hour and 20 minutes after liftoff according to the latest reports the northrop grumman built 750 million dollar

landsat 9 is performing as expected as it travels to its final orbital altitude of 705 kilometers four small cubesats were also launched into orbit with landsat 9. two will study the solar wind and exoplanet atmospheres as part of nasa research two others are flying undisclosed missions for the u.s space force the landsat series is a joint u.s geological survey and nasa-led enterprise for earth observation that represents the world's longest running satellite system for optical remote sensing for land coastal areas and shallow waters the images captured by the satellites allow researchers to monitor phenomena including agricultural productivity forest extent and health water quality coral reef habitat health and glacier dynamics the first landsat mission was launched in 1972 and was the first earth observation satellite with the gold to monitor the world's land it was soon followed by successors however the landsat 6 satellite failed to achieve its orbit and communication with the satellite was never established landsat 9 carries a high resolution camera and a sensitive infrared sensor that together can image the earth across 11 spectral bands and resolve objects down to about 15 meters wide landsat 9 will join its sister satellite landsat 8 launched in 2013

And is still in use today working in tandem the two satellites will collect images spanning the entire planet every eight days landsat 9 is designed to last for at least five years but scientists hope it will last far longer all landsat images and the embedded data are free and publicly available a policy that has resulted in more than 100 million downloads since its inception in 2008 blue origin announced that the company would send its second batch of space tourists on a suborbital flight on October 12th

the company has revealed that two of the four crew members will be Chris bishouism co-founder of earth observation company planet labs and Glenda rise vice-chair for life sciences and healthcare at french software company Dassault systems the two other astronauts will be announced in the coming days there is suspense building up in the air after the entertainment website tmz reported that William Shatner the actor who played captain kirk in the popular science fiction series star trek is a member of the upcoming mission

the ns18 mission the 18th flight overall for the new Shepard rocket will lift off from blue origins launch site one in west texas in addition to the four passengers the flight will carry thousands of postcards from blue origins foundation club for the future which aims to inspire future generations to pursue careers in sciences technology engineering and mathematics

during the approximately 11-minute flight, the capsule with the crew on board will cross the so-called carmen line the boundary between earth's atmosphere and outer space at an altitude of about 100 kilometres the space tourists will enjoy about three minutes of weightlessness around the peak altitude before returning to earth for a parachute assisted landing this mission follows blue origin's successful first human flight on july 20th

which included the company founder jeff Bezos and three other passengers blue origin is selling tickets via its website however the company has not yet made public the price tag of its space trips in an essay published on the website lion is on September 30th less than two weeks before the ns18 mission a group of 21 current and former blue origin employees claimed that an effort by company leadership to increase the flight rate of its new Shepard suborbital vehicle was seriously compromising flight safety the essay states that blue origin has been lucky that nothing has happened so far and many of this essays authors say they

would not fly on a blue origin vehicle the essay further claims that company leaders expressed a goal of hitting more than 40 launches of new Shepard spacecraft per year a breakneck pace that did not match available staffing and resources the safety concerns are just one part of the essay which alleges a toxic work environment at the company including allegations of sexism and corporate suppression of dissent after the publication of the essay another former blue origin employee joseph Gruber said he agreed with its claims about the work environment

at the company, an faa spokesperson told space news that the agency takes every safety allegation seriously and the agency is reviewing the information however the agency did not elaborate on the nature of the reviewer investigation on Wednesday after completing a mishap investigation into the mission that carried sir Richard Branson to space the federal aviation administration approved virgin galactic to fly again the regulator had grounded the space tourism companies operations last month after the faa learned that the company's spacecraft went off course during the mission on july 11th

the company acknowledged the glide path deviated from the pre-planned one because unexpected high winds on unity's ascent had pushed the rocket-powered vehicle slightly off course the investigation which began on august 11 determined that the virgin galactic spaceship two vehicle deviated from its assigned airspace on its descent from space and the company failed to communicate the deviation as required the faa needed virgin galactic to implement changes on how it communicates to the faa during flight and virgin

galactic has made the required changes and can return to flight operations the faa concluded in a brief statement unity has a few more test flights to complete before full commercial operations can begin the next trial mission called unity 23 which will carry members of the Italian air force to suborbital space will lift off no earlier than mid-October after that flight virgin galactic plans to perform extensive maintenance and upgrade work on both spaceship 2 and its white knight 2 carrier aircraft to allow both to fly more frequently the company expects that commercial flights of spaceship 2 will not resume until late in the third quarter of 2022 nasa's over achieving mars helicopter ingenuity is taking a short break before it attempts its next flight

the rotorcraft had been scheduled for a brief hovering exercise on september 18th but it turned out to be an uneventful flight because ingenuity decided not to take off the 14th flight was supposed to be a brief hover flight at five meters altitude that would have demonstrated the little choppers ability to fly at 2 700 revolutions per minute rather than the usual 2537 rpm

ingenuity performed a high-speed rotation test on september 15th spinning its blades at 2800 rpm for a spell while it remained on the ground everything went well paving the way for the September 18 flight but the chopper detected an anomaly in two flight control servo motors during a servo wiggle test a routine pre-flight check of its systems the 1.8 kilograms robotic helicopter then cancelled its flight attempt ingenuity has six servo motors designed to adjust the pitch of the rotors allowing the chopper to control its orientation and position during flight

the ingenuity flight team is still trying to determine the cause but according to them it may be due to increasing wear in the servo gearboxes and linkages the flight cancellation means ingenuity won't try to take off again until sometime past mid-October the reason for the extended delay is mars solar conjunction a time when earth and mars are opposite each other with the sun in between this can cause communications problems between earth and robotic explorers on mars ingenuity will not be completely idle during this time however ingenuity and perseverance will be configured to keep each other company by communicating roughly once a week with ingenuity

sending basic system health information to its base station on perseverance now let's discuss some of the major starship updates from the past week despite the lack of flight tests in recent months SpaceX starbase remains active with preparations for the upcoming orbital flight test of booster 4 and ship 20. the true test of nerves will occur during ship '20s seemingly imminent static fire test

ahead of the static fire test on September 27th SpaceX engineers proceeded to conduct a cryogenic proof test of ship 20. spacex seemed to be partially or wholly pressurized ship 20 at ambient temperatures before aborting a cryogenic proof test either before or just after it began some of the thermal protection system tiles popped off the vehicle during the early phase of the testing and elon musk quickly confirmed that header tank venting caused the tiles to pop off from the vehicle the ceramic heat shield tiles of ship 20 have proven to be extremely delicate with dozens of chipping cracking and fracturing during and after installation

in a structure as large as starship even just the thermal contraction and expansion of steel at extreme temperatures could change the rocket's diameter an inch or so potentially causing tiles to press or rub against each other resulting in tile damage this incident highlights the need to improve the way tiles are fastened on the ship two days later on September 29th SpaceX put ship 20 through a cryogenic proof test filling the rocket with several hundred tons of liquid nitrogen to simulate its cryogenic propellants during the test engineers assessed the structural integrity of the stainless steel spacecraft and simulated the forces of the raptor engines with the help of the thrust simulators that were transported to the launch site a week ago as usual lab padres live stream cameras captured

the event in high resolution from multiple angles the test was confirmed to be successful by elon musk via twitter the thrust simulators were removed from the test stand four days later signalling the end of the cryo proof test campaign now SpaceX can move on to perform ship 20's static fire tests that include a wet dress rehearsal and firing the raptor engines of the ship at full thrust while the launch vehicle is held firmly attached to the launch mount

the initial round of static fire tests may include only one or two raptor engines which will be followed by the first six engine raptor static fire test road closures are scheduled for October 7 8 and 11 for the static fire test campaign meanwhile booster 4 removed from the orbital launch mount a week ago was moved away from the integration tower location to facilitate booster catching arm installation and movement check once the arm installation is complete the booster will return to the launch mount to begin its test campaign once the preflight test campaigns of ship 20 and booster 4 are done SpaceX will proceed towards the first orbital test flight of a fully assembled starship launch system

the federal aviation administration recently said that it would extend the public comment period for the draft environmental review of the proposed spacex starship program to november 1st the extension comes after federal and state agencies participating in the review requested to extend the period for public input in the environmental assessment the faa released the 151-page draft environmental review in september that evaluates the potential environmental impacts of spacex's initial mission profile for the starship program all comments and questions were due by october 18

which has now been extended to November in addition the faa will hold virtual public hearings on October 18th and October 20 to solicit comments from the public concerning the scope and content of the draft programmatic environmental assessment if the faa determines environmental impacts of the proposed project would be significant and those impacts could not be properly mitigated to less than significant levels the agency would conduct a more intensive review SpaceX cannot launch the starship and super-heavy vehicle until the faa completes its environmental review and licensing process analyzing the timeline for public comment and the time it took the faa to publish the draft environmental review it seems unlikely that the faa will complete its environmental review by the end of this year this means that the orbital test flight of starship may slip into early 2022

as SpaceX teams slowly prepare ship 20 and booster 4 for the first orbital test flight the company has simultaneously begun assembling the future starship and booster prototypes at the starbase factory let's analyze the progress with the help of this detailed illustration by Brendan lewis parts of starship 21 and booster 5 have been floating around star bases build a site for weeks construction of all stainless steel sections of ship 21 has been completed and stacking operations will begin shortly the aft dome section of ship 21 which was recently mated with the engine skirt was spotted inside the mid-bay last week the forward flaps were attached to the nose cone of the ship recently

the production of the forward dome common dome half dome and the engine skirt of ship 22 is now complete booster 5 stacking began around September 15th the oxygen tank section of booster 5 is currently being assembled in high bay moreover the production of the methane tank section is underway the new cylindrical stainless steel tank was installed in booster 5 last week

this is the boosters boost back and landing propellant tank which will store propellants required for the boost back burn to kill all forward velocity then accelerate the rocket on a parabolic trajectory towards the landing site and perform a landing burn during mid-air booster catching two grid fins of the booster were recently spotted lying at the construction site

at the current assembly rate spacex's second flight worthy booster could reach its full height as early as mid october for the past few weeks pieces of booster six have been floating around the construction site the production of the forward dome common dome half dome and a four ring oxygen tank section of booster six is complete now let us discuss some of the recent developments regarding blue origins protest against the human lunar landing system contract that nasa awarded to spacex in april

according to hundreds of pages of legal filings obtained in a freedom of information act the verge reported that nasa says that blue origin gambled with its moon lander proposal by hoping nasa would be willing to negotiate its 5.9 billion dollars price tag according to nasa blue origin made a number of assumptions about the agency's hls budget and built its proposal with this figure in mind but all of these assumptions were incorrect

nasa added that blue origin executives may have thought that the negotiation tactic would work because it had in the past but this time the bet simply did not work out in blue origin's favor overall NASA says that blue origin made a bet and it lost moving on to other starship updates SpaceX's tank farm that stores propellants to support orbital flights is being prepared for full-scale operations

occasional operations such as filling the tanks with cryogenic liquid nitrogen for pressure tests are happening for the past two weeks on Saturday cryo shell number three was lifted and installed over the gas tank number two designed to hold liquid nitrogen a new test stand is being built near the orbital launch tower for starship or super heavy booster pre-launch tests the giant Liebherr crane nicknamed kong was decommissioned recently it is believed that this crane will be transported to a bridge construction site in texas

the crane which was used for orbital launch tower assembly and ship 20 booster 4 stacking will either return to the site after a few months or will most likely be substituted with a new heavy-lift crane

construction of the new wide bay near the existing high bay is progressing a new blue crane was recently erected near the white bay construction site seemingly to assist with construction a year ago a similar blue crane was used to build the high bay with this we have covered all the major updates from last week please share your thoughts on the latest science news and starship updates in the comments section also do not forget to subscribe to the channel for more weekly updates and as always thanks for watching.

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