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SpaceVidcast Daily 11.5.10

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SpaceX Falcon 9 times three on your SpacePod for May 11th, 2010. As one spaceship ends its career, another one is just beginning. The SpaceX Falcon 9 is getting ready for launch. Now, an exact date is not yet set in stone, but the last we have heard was a No Earlier Than May 16th launch date. Rumors say May 23rd, but we'll see how that flight termination system we talked about last week ends up. Now, the Falcon 9 that is getting ready to launch is but one of three that SpaceX has built or is in the process of building. This first flight is to test the basic system, then Falcon 9 flight 2 is designed to be the first under COTS and the first flight of an operational Dragon spacecraft. Dragon is the cargo capsule that is capable of being man-rated but is not yet there yet, so cargo only for now. The initial COTS-1 Dragon module will orbit the Earth several times then re-enter and splashdown off the coast of Southern California. This is designed to test the basic functions of Dragon as well as the Draco thrusters. Get it? Dragon - Draco? And that's one of the really cool things about SpaceX. Unlike other companies, these engines are all SpaceX designs. The Merlin 1C engines that lift the Falcon 9 are SpaceX engines, not decommissioned ICBMs like on other rockets. The Draco thrusters that allow the Dragon capsule to steer and orient itself in space are also SpaceX designs and not just part of a decommissioned Government space program somewhere. It's sorta fun to watch the test of the Draco Thrusters, almost like they are trying to make a song of sorts. (Ben makes a variety of thruster engine noises while dancing like Kermit the Frog) And then there's Falcon 9 Flight 3. Heck, flight #1 isn't even off the ground yet and already SpaceX is working on creating their third Falcon 9 rocket! Production for this rocket has already started with completion of several sections. Ten Merlin engines are being worked on right now, nine Merlin 1C engines and one Merlin Vacuum engine for the second stage. While we will be sad to see the Space Shuttle leave us, it will also be a fun new beginning for commercial space companies like SpaceX. These companies can't be given a free ride and will need to prove that they have vehicles capable of safe transport of not just cargo but humans as well. But we also can't just throw up our hands and call it 'unproven technology'. All technology is unproven until, well, proven. It is the 'unproven' technology that changes the world, not the stuff we already know about. I'm personally very excited to see the space shuttle and if we're really really lucky, we'll be able to see the launch of the inaugural Falcon 9 flight before we have to leave. Of course our tickets back to Minneapolis are for the 22nd and the Falcon 9 is rumored to fly on the 23rd. So, hmm, I guess we'll see. And speaking of, this will be our last SpacePod for this week, as Cariann and I are leaving for Kennedy Space Center tomorrow. I tried to convince SpaceX on giving us a personal tour, but we were flat out told no. So, hopefully we'll be able to show you something old and something new this Friday. So what's the rest of it? Something blue, something borrowed? Something ... Well, I don't know. Don't forget the countdown to the final launch of Atlantis begins at 20:00 UTC or 4pm EST today!

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 36 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Benjamin Higginbotham
Views: 84
Posted by: spacevidcaster on Jun 5, 2010

SpaceX Falcon 9 times three on your SpacePod for May 11th, 2010As one spaceship ends its career, another one is just beginning. The SpaceX Falcon 9 is getting ready for launch. An exact date is not yet set in stone, but the last we have heard was a No Earlier Than May 16th launch date.

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