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Last updated: August 5, 2015

SpaceX Aerospace Journal

July 21st, 2015 - Elon Musk answering questions from journalists about a strut on the Falcon 9 rocket that failed on the CRS-7 Mission


Space X rocket exploding after lift off.
SpaceX Falcon rocket has technical problems and begins to combust about 2.5 minutes after lift off from Cape Canaveral on Sunday, June 28th, 2015. Photo: Associated Press.

Jun 28th, 2015: On Sunday morning, a Space X rocket carrying an unmanned cargo capsule experienced a total failure shortly after lift off. It was supposed to be the 7th Dragon supply capsule to the ISS and the 3rd attempt at landing a rocket on a barge, however 2.5 minutes after lift off, the rocket experienced some type of problem and lots of white smoke or chemical could be seen surrounding the rocket before it eventually fell back to Earth falling into the Atlantic ocean. The cargo capsule was carrying supplies for the 3 member crew currenly on the ISS and a first of its kind docking port for the new crew capsules going to the International Space Station in the future. The Russian space agency will attempt a cargo delivery to the ISS on Friday. Musk stated on Twitter that the problem may have been related to an overpressurization in the liquid oxygen tanks of the upper stage of the rocket.

Vulcan rocket made by the United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket in stages
The United Launch Alliance's new rocket, Vulcan, introduced in April 2015, will try to compete with SpaceX's Falcon series of rockets to make space travel more affordable.

May 30th, 2015: Earlier this week, SpaceX was given certification by the Pentagon to launch military rockets into space. Previously the United Launch Alliance, a joint corporation between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, had a monopoly on the U.S. military's rocket launches. Now, SpaceX has successfully challenged that monopoly by giving United Launch Alliance competition that will push them to cut costs because SpaceX has significantly reduced the cost of launching rockets. The Washington Post



Falcon 9 rocket attemting to land on the autonomous drone ship making its vertical descent just above the ship, and a photo of the same rocket minutes earlier during lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Above: Falcon 9 attempting to make a vertical landing on the autonomus drone ship on April 14th, 2015. Rollover image: Falcon 9 rocket carrying dragon lifting off from Cape Canaveral on April 14th, 2015. Photo NASA.

April 13th, 2015: The Falcon 9 launch was a no-go at (T- 2:39) seconds before lift off due to anvil clouds (thunderstorm clouds) moving within 10 miles of the launch site. The launch is reset for April 14th at 4:10 pm eastern time.

April 6th, 2015: On Monday, April 13th, immediately after the launch of the Dragon cargo capsule (CRS-6) via Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX will also attempt to land the booster stage of the Falcon 9 on a landing pad at sea called the autonomous drone ship, which if successful, will be the first such landing in history leading the way to rocket reusability. After lift off of the Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon cargo capsule will orbit the Earth for 2 days before docking on the International Space Station. ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will be operating the robotic arm to capture the Dragon when it approaches for docking two days afterward, with the assistance of U.S. astronaut Terry Virts who will be looking out the cupola windows of the ISS to help visually guide her. NASA coverage of the Falcon 9/ Dragon - CRS-6 launch on Monday April 13th begins at 3:30 pm eastern time.

Commerical Resupply Services (CRS) DragonV1-4 docked to the robotic arm of the ISS.
Dragon V1 (CRS-4) docked to the ISS. Photo by: SpaceX

March 23rd: Elon Musk declares SpaceX photos public domain and available for public use. Forbes

ABS3A first electric satellite

1 March 2015 ~ On Sunday, March 1st at 10:50 pm EST SpaceX launched the ABS-EutelSat twin satellites from Cape Canaveral space launch complex 40. Live coverage began at 10:30 pm on the SpaceX Webcast. Boeing made both the ABS-3A satellite and the Eutelsat 115 West B satellite which are powered by "revolutionary xenon ion engines that turn (xenon) gas into a propellant."

official mission patch for Boeing ABS satellite rocket launch


Photo: SpaceX. First electric satellites: ABS-3A and Eutelsat-115 West B. Falcon9 ABS/EutelSat-1 mission patch.


SpaceX ABS/Eutelsat launch - March 1st, 2015


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the ABS/EutelSat satellites into geostationary transfer orbit on March 1st, 2015 at 10:50 pm EST from Cape Canaveral.
Falcon 9 launch

25 February 2015 : SpaceX completed a static fire test today in advance of their March 1st, 2015 launch of twin satellites from Cape Canaveral. During the static fire test they run through the sequence of events that would normally occur on the launch day except for the actual launch. Space X will not attempt to land the core stage of this Falcon 9 rocket, as they fully attempted to do on a modified barge landing pad earlier this year. However the rocket has been equipped with the Space X grid shaped fins which are powered by a hydraulic fluid and ideally slow the rocket down before it softly touches down on landing pad barge, or sinks into the ocean. The SpaceX grid fins are an essential component in helping SpaceX reach their goal of rocket reusability in the near future which involves rockets that return to the landing pad to make a safe vertical landing of the "first stage" or "core stage" of the rocket after launching the "payload" (satellites, crew capsules, non-crew capsules) into orbit. Their next attempted landing of the Falcon 9 rocket will be during the April 13th, 2015 launch of the Commercial Resupply Services vehicle (CRS-6) that will deliver food and supplies to the International Space Station. SpaceX actually makes a CRS model, and it is called the Dragon V1, which is what they will be launching on that date. Space X is also remodeling the Launch Complex 13 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to be their new landing pad for the Falcon 9 reusable rocket. [spaceflightinsider]

SpaceX will be opening the world's first commerical spaceport at Boca Chica beach in Texas near Brownsville. SpaceX already has a plant for rocket engine development in McGregor, Texas. Today it was announced that the first 2 rocket launches to occur from the new launch site at Boca Chica beach will carry 2 satellites by a company called SES into orbit. [themonitor]

SpaceX has also founded a division of their company to develop their own satellites. They have a satellite development plant in Redmond, Washington. Their satellites are intended to provide global internet coverage and the cost of the venture will be between $10 and 15 billion. SpaceX plans to create a network of 4,000 satellites that will each weigh a few hundred kilograms. [satellitetoday]

24 February 2015 ~ Launch complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station/Kennedy Space Center is getting remodeled in preparation for the first Falcon Heavy rocket launch by SpaceX later this year. [spaceflightinsider]

Landing pad with name Just Read the Instructions
Feb.8th, 2015: SpaceX will make 2nd attempt to land the Falcon 9 rocket on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship.

19 February 2015 ~ SpaceX will build a Falcon 9 reusable rocket landing pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station rather than attempt to land the core stage of their Falcon 9 rocket on a barge at sea as they had previously attempted to do in early 2015.

[Orlando Sentinel] , [Spaceflightnow] .

Elon Musk signs a book deal with Penguin

Posted: 15 February 2015 ~ Elon Musk signs $3.5M deal with book publisher, Penguin. Musk's book is expected to be about sustainability on Earth and human existence on Mars [news link]


Posted: 11 February 2015 ~ DSCOVR satellite observatory was launched to the gravitational balancing point between the Earth and the Sun called Lagrange point 1, by the Falcon 9 rocket today, however the rocket landing test on the barge was reportedy cancelled due to rough seas.

Falcon 9 carrying the Discover satellite

Posted: 10 February 2015 ~ Approximately 15 minutes before countdown to lift off, the SpaceX launch of the DSCOVR satellite observatory and the Falcon 9 landing test was again delayed, this time due to high upper level winds. The launch is recycled forward 24 hours until Wednesday, Feb. 11th, 2015 at 6:03 PM east coast time. In other Space X news, the Dragon-5 Resupply capsule that was launched by SpaceX to ISS on January 10th, and arrived on January 12th was released today from the ISS at 2:10 pm eastern time to return to Earth 6 hours later. [news link]

Posted: 9 February 2015 ~ SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the Deep Space Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite is scheduled for no earlier than Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 at 6:05 PM east coast time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.

Posted: 8 February 2015 ~ At approximately 2 minutes and 26 seconds before the 6:10 PM eastern time lift off of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the DSCOVR satellite on Sunday, February 8th 2015, the SpaceX launch was aborted by one of the controllers citing a range track radar issue. The SpaceX DSCOVR satellite launch was reset for Monday, February 9th, 2015 at 6:07:49 PM eastern time and then reset for Tuesday February 10th, at 6:05 PM.

Posted: 31 January 2015 ~ On February 8th, 2015, SpaceX will make its second attempt to land the Falcon 9 rocket on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, in the Atlantic ocean. Space X has named it's Autonomous Spaceport Drone ships "Just Read the Instructions" and "Of Course I Still Love you," apparently in memory of the science fiction writer Iain M. Banks. During the February 8th launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX will be sending NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite into orbit for a 110 day trip to Lagrange Point 1, 1.5 million kilometers deep in Earth's orbit, halfway between the Earth and the Sun. To prevent the same thing from happening that caused the first attempted landing of the Falcon 9 reusable rocket to be unsuccessful, SpaceX will supply the Falcon 9 with 50% more hydraulic fuel utilized by the grid shaped X Wings to stabilize the rocket, and slow its speed, on its way down to the landing pad. For a highly detailed, technical article on this topic check out this link

Discover Satelite logo
credit: image credit: NoAA/NASA/USAF

Posted: 1 Jan. 2015/ Updated: 10 Jan. 2015

NASA Kennedy Space Center video of Falcon9/ Dragon 5 launch

Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon 5 encapsulated in its nose.
Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon 5 encapsulated on tip of rocket ready for launch at Kennedy Space Center on January 10th, 2015.
Space X modified cargo barge for landing a reusable rocket at sea.
On January 10th, 2014, The Falcon 9 rocket made an unsuccessful hard impact landing on the autonomous spaceport drone ship in a holding position in the ocean (not at the dock) but it did make it to the landing pad target.

SpaceX: The Falcon 9 reusable rocket was launched flawlessly at 4:47:10 a.m. eastern standard time on Saturday, January 10th, 2015 from Kennedy Space Center - Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, and made it back to the SpaceX autonomous landing pad carrier ship, however according to Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and CEO, it landed hard. In summary, "Close but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future though," said Musk on Twitter. The un-manned Dragon-5 resupply capsule that was launched into space by the Falcon-9 in this mission will rendezvous and dock onto the harmony node of the the International Space Station after being grappled with the robotic arm by Commander Barry Wilmore on Monday, January 12th at 6:12 a.m. EST. Watch or hear for more updates on NASA-TV. Read the press release on Falcon-9 reusable rocket's semi-successful landing. Musk stated on Twitter that SpaceX "did not get good landing/impact video" because it was "Pitch dark and foggy. Will have to piece together landing from telemetry and actual pieces."

SpaceX is Making the World's First Reusable Rockets

Space X's Falcon 9 rocket launch with Dragon 5 Resupply Capsule to the International Space Station is now set to launch on Saturday, January 10th, 2015 at 4:47 AM eastern standard time. The event will be broadcast Live on NASA-TV. From Launch complex 40 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida, SpaceX will launch its 5th Resupply Capsule (Dragon-5) to go to the International Space Station to deliver goods to the astronauts onboard the ISS. During this same launch, SpaceX will also attempt to land the heavy lifting booster portion of its rocket on a modified cargo barge in the ocean. Normally the boosters of a rocket, for example the ones made by the United Launch Alliance, are separated from the spacecraft about 3 minutes into launch and recovered in un-reusable condition from the sea. The trajectory of these pieces of used rocket is calculated so that the scientists know where to recover the boosters from the ocean. Rather than have this most expensive part of the rocket be unusable, Elon Musk's team at SpaceX is going to attempt to make a vertical landing of this portion of their Falcon9 rocket.

SpaceX is known for wanting to make an eventual manned mission to Mars possible. Since there are no runways on Mars, Musk realizes that having reusable rockets is essential to landing on Mars. Elon Musk, a physicist and billionaire founder of SpaceX knows that landing the rocket on the barge will be a very challenging task with only 50% chance of success on the first try, however the world is wishing SpaceX the best of luck with their historic work.

The Dragon-5 Resupply Capsule will be launched on the head of the Falcon 9 rocket that SpaceX is going to try to land on the barge. The Dragon 5 Resupply Capsule, after it separates from the Falcon 9 rocket, will travel into orbit around the Earth and meet up with the International Space Station to deliver goods to the astronauts on the ISS. Elon Musk has stated that having reusable rockets as opposed to United Launch Alliance's un-reusable rocket boosters, would drive down costs. It would also be a moment of historic progress in rocket technology and make more options and possibilities available in space flight.

By Andrea Boggs

[reference list]

Merlin 1d Engline of the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket
Falcon 9 rocket showing its X wings

SpaceX's Merlin 1d Engine.Falcon9's first stage of the rocket incorporates 9 Merlin 1d engines for lift off.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket with X wings.
SpaceX's Dragon V2 Crew Capsule ~ NASA article on Dragon V2
Dragon V2 Crew Capsule will be ready in 2017
Inside the SpaceX Dragon V2 crew capsule
SpaceX Dragon V2 Crew capsule able to hold a 7-member crew. Will be ready in 2017. See the computer touch screen inside? It will be used during flight by future astronaut crews.
Dragon V2 Crew Capsule interior can hold 7 astronauts. Will be ready by 2017 to begin ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Profile by Jon Ross
Falcon 9 January 10th launch close up
Video: Watch animation of how the "Falcon Heavy rocket" (not the same as the Falcon 9) will make a reusable flight into orbit and then back to Earth.
Diagram of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration.
SpaceX - Falcon-9 Rocket - Vertical Take off Vertical Landing
Elon Musk holding a miniature model of the Falcon 9 world's first reusable rocket which his company SpaceX makes.
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX holding a miniature model of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Reusable Rocket.
Reference list
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25 February 2015
20 February 2015
Lagrange pts
7 February 2015
7 February 2015
7 February 2015
31 January 2015
29 January 2015
15 January 2015 FREEMAN, M. (15 JANUARY 2015) VIASAT HIRES SPACEX FOR LAUNCH. U-T SAN DIEGO, P. C1, C2. "Falcon Heavy rocket set to send ViaSat 2 satellite into orbit next year."
14 January 2015
10 January 2015
7 January 2015
6 January 2015
2 January 2015
29 December 2014
26 December 2014
16 December 2014
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