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I make a living exploiting the things you can do with an Earth that's not flat. The fact of the matter though is that it's not round either; it's lumpy and oblong and has these dense parts and floppy parts and the whole mess is just about as not-flat as things can be. Did you know that gravity is not constant? Not only does gravity vary geographically:
but it also varies over time, both on a 12-hr cycle tracking the tides and on a 5.9 year cycle tracking the variation of Earth's rotational rate. It's very inconvenient.
I had to update for some other system issues but note that this is currently a thing: http://en.fah-addict.net/news/1-drivers/402-warning-do-not-update-your-nvidia-drivers-to-version-375-xx/
2016-04-08 20:43 UTC (16:43 EDT), Cape Canaveral, FL: SpaceX will be launching a Falcon 9 medium-lift launch vehicle carrying a Dragon 1 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the Commercial Resupply Services program. This will be the 10th flight of the Dragon 1 spacecraft and the eighth mission under the CRS contract (designated CRS-8/SpX-8) and is the return-to-flight mission for Dragon following the June 2015 launch failure of Dragon CRS-7. CRS-8 is slated to arrive at ISS at 11:00 UTC (07:00 EDT) on April 10 following a one and a half day rendezvous phasing profile.
CRS-8 is manifested to carry more cargo than any previous Dragon resupply mission: 3136 kg. The flagship payload for this mission is the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), a demonstration inflatable habitation module. BEAM is the first commercial ISS module and the first new ISS module to be launched since the end of the shuttle program. BEAM was developed and manufactured by Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, NV to be the first human-occupied inflatable habitat and perhaps the last prototype before their debut as a commercial provider for private space stations.
BEAM fully-deflated and ready for final integration into Dragon's unpressurized trunk.
The weather is forecast to be 90% favorable for the 4/8 launch attempt with scattered clouds and moderate winds. The launch window is instantaneous due to the nature of the spacecraft orbital injection and as such any delay or hold will result in a 24-hour delay. In addition to the primary mission of delivering the Dragon spacecraft safely to its rendezvous with ISS, SpaceX will be making another attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle on its Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) Of Course I Still Love You shortly after launch. The December 21, 2015 launch of Orbcomm OG2 resulted in a successful land landing though previous attempts at landing on the drone ship have been unsuccessful. This will be an afternoon launch providing good conditions for the launch and first stage recovery attempt. SpaceX will be providing live streaming coverage of the launch on their webcast at http://www.spacex.com/webcast/ and NASA will also be streaming the launch on their feed at http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv .
Have fun and fly safe!
2015-12-21 01:29 UTC (2015-12-20 08:29 EST), Cape Canaveral, FL: SpaceX will be launching their newly-upgraded Falcon 9 medium-lift launch vehicle carrying eleven Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) telecommunications satellites for ORBCOMM of Rochelle Park, New Jersey. These spacecraft are the next set of the OG2 second-generation satellites to augment Orbcomm's machine-to-machine global telecommunications service. The satellites are based on Sierra Nevada Corporation's SN-100A small spacecraft bus and are manufactured in Louisville, CO.
This will be the first commercial launch for the Falcon 9 since the catastrophic in-flight breakup of the vehicle carrying the Dragon 9/CRS-7 spacecraft to the International Space Station. The failure root cause analysis concluded that the incident was caused by the failure of a retaining strut in the 2nd stage helium pressurant system. The strut failed well below its design operating limits which allowed a helium tank to come loose and overpressurize the stage. This in turn caused the vehicle to break up.
This mission is the debut flight of the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Upgrades include deep-cryogenic densified propellants, uprated engines, more tank capacity, and stronger structures which add up to an additional 33% of launch vehicle performance.
Weather is currently projected to have a 90% chance of being favorable for flight. The launch window is instantaneous so any delay or hold called will result in the launch slipping to another day. In addition to the primary mission of delivering the eleven OG2 spacecraft safely to their destination in low-Earth orbit, SpaceX will be making its first attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle at its recently-completed Landing Complex 1 facility shortly after launch. SpaceX has advised local residents that they may hear a sonic boom as the vehicle approaches depending on weather conditions. A successful landing could mark the beginning of a revolution in affordable space flight.
The previous attempt during the CRS-6 launch ended in a hard landing due to problems with throttle valve stiction on the landing engine. Earlier attempts also ended in near-successes including a perfect landing in high seas without a drone ship in place during the DSCOVR mission earlier this year and a crash landing on ASDS Just Read The Instructions due to early depletion of hydraulic fluid powering the first stage control effectors during the CRS-5 mission. This will be a night launch and the rocket's flight path takes it east away from Florida so your best bet of catching the launch is to watch the SpaceX webcast: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/
Have fun and fly safe!
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