Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Short Takes – 3-6-24 – Space Geek Edition

SpaceX fuels up massive Starship megarocket in test for 3rd launch (photos). article. Pull quote: “The gleaming, stainless-steel Starship rocket and its Super Heavy booster, which together stand 400 feet tall (122 meters), were filled with more than 10 million pounds of liquid methane and liquid oxygen propellant during the recent launch dress rehearsal, which was performed at SpaceX's Starbase facility near Boca Chica Beach in southern Texas.”

NASA addresses the crack in the hatch of the Crew-8 spacecraft. article. Pull quote: “While engineers were doing a final check of the hatch following its closure, including taking photos of the seal, they noticed a crack in the RTV (a type of silicone), which acts as a top coating on the hatch seal. The crack is estimated to be 0.02 square inches, and a crack would have to be more than twice that size to be enough to prevent the launch.”

Blue Origin targets 2025 for cargo lander’s inaugural moon trip, with humans to follow. article. Pull quote: “Couluris was referring to a pathfinder version of Blue Origin’s nearly three-story-tall Blue Moon Mark 1 cargo lander, which is taking shape at Blue Origin’s production facility in Huntsville, Ala. The Pathfinder Mission would demonstrate the MK1’s capabilities — including its hydrogen-fueled BE-7 engine, its precision landing system and its ability to deliver up to 3 tons of payload anywhere on the moon.”

NASA Ends $2 Billion Satellite Refueling Project After Contractor Accused of ‘Poor Performance’. article. Pull quote: “The project’s termination also stems from the “lack of a committed partner,” as NASA put it, presumably referring to Maxar, a key contractor for OSAM-1. A report from NASA’s inspector general in October highlighted Maxar’s “poor performance,” citing the company’s underestimation of the project’s scope and complexity, a lack of full understanding of NASA’s technical requirements, and deficiencies in necessary expertise. The company was already taking a financial loss on its OSAM-1 involvement. The nature of Maxar’s fixed-price contract with NASA, which didn’t “provide NASA adequate flexibility to incentivize Maxar to improve its performance,” contributed to staffing challenges and project delays, according to the OIG.”

China will launch giant, reusable rockets next year to prep for human missions to the moon. article. Pull quote: “The rockets, which CASC did not refer to by name, include a 13-foot (4-meter) diameter rocket and 16-foot (5 m) diameter rocket. The larger rocket may be a variant of the planned Long March 10, a 302-foot-long (92 m) launch vehicle that has the capacity to send 27 tons into translunar orbit, SpaceNews speculated. Long March 10 will also be responsible for sending the crew of the newly-announced Mengzhou spacecraft to the moon in 2030, according to Live Science's sister site”

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