Rocket explosion will delay commercial space deliveries

Rocket explosion will delay commercial space deliveries
Brian Dowling Friday, September 02, 2016


BAD BLAST: A SpaceX rocket delivering a Facebook satellite exploded at a Cape Canaveral launch pad yesterday.

The dramatic explosion yesterday of a SpaceX rocket on a Cape Canaveral launch pad — with a 
$195 million Facebook satellite strapped to it — is expected to delay orbital deliveries in the red-hot commercial space industry, experts told the Herald.

“With this failure, they are going to take a few months to do an investigation and that is going to push everything back for a lot of customers who are relying on them,” said Bill Ostrove, a space industry analyst with Forecast 
International who expects the FAA to launch a review of the explosion.

Brian Dowling for Boston Herald

First NASA Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars


Explore Mars proposes to land the first human mission in Copernicus Crater.

Although this crater has many of the requirements for a landing site to be considered (geologically interesting places and features like Olivine dunes and gullies that hint of water) the overriding reason to propose Copernicus is, that the first landing of Humans on Mars will be writing history. It will be a pivotal moment in human history., where humans will start to view themselves as a two-planet species. Knowing that the landing of humans on Mars will be talked about for centuries, even for millennia,  the choice for a spot with historic value, as the Copernicus Crater has, makes sense to all the billions that will talk about it for generations to come.

Who was Nicolaus Copernicus?  In 1543 Copernicus created another pivotal moment in human history by publishing his book on The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. In this book he proves with meticulous mathematical calculations that Earth (and thus humans) are NOT the center of the Universe. This knowledge of not being the center of the universe  shook up humanity and how it viewed itself in general and started a science renaissance.

By landing in Copernicus Crater we humans show that we understand that Copernicus started the process by which we now find ourselves on Mars.

Explore Mars will present its presentation ‘Writing History’ on Thursday 29 October 2015, 4:05 pm.

Click Here to Watch the Streaming Broadcast of the Workshop

Space Exploration Alliance Blitz 2015

Register Here

[br]The Space Exploration Alliance (SEA) will be holding its annual grassroots visit to Congress, known as the “Legislative Blitz”, in Washington, D.C. from Sunday, February 22 to Tuesday, February 24, 2015. With unprecedented budgetary pressures facing the legislative and executive branches of government, it is uncertain which path our nation’s leaders will take with respect to our nation’s space program. More than ever before, it is absolutely critical that the voices of the space advocacy community be heard in this debate. Come join space advocates from around the country to let Congress know that there is strong constituent support for an ambitious space program. [br]
The Space Exploration Alliance is a collaboration of leading non-profit organizations that advocate for the exploration and development of outer space, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Explore Mars, Inc., Federation of Galaxy Explorers, Moon Society, Mars Society, National Society of Black Engineers, National Space Society, The Planetary Society, Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.
(Please note that registration for this event closes on February 1, 2015. Due to scheduling requirements, we regret that we will be unable to accommodate any requests to register after that date.)

For more information, please contact Rick Zucker at [email protected]


ExoLance: Preliminary Modeling for Penetration Effectiveness


Aerojet Rocketdyne has been performing modeling of the Mars penetrators under internal funding as in-kind support for the ExoLance project.  This work uses an industry standard simulation known as hydrocode modeling.  In the hydrocode model, a grid is generated to represent the material that the penetrator is impacting and the model is run to determine the depth of penetration for various parameters such as penetrator mass, shape, initial velocity at impact and angle of entry.  In order to use the hydrocode model as a design tool, it is first necessary to calibrate the model against a known test result.  Since the DS-2 project did extensive testing in the 1990’s on simulated Martian soils, we elected to use it as our calibration case.

Figure 1 shows the DS-2 penetrator as configured for the tests.


Figure 1

Figure 2 shows the test set-up including the gas gun used to accelerate the penetrator to a velocity of 200 m/s at impact.


Figure 2

The test results for a 90 degree impact (normal to the surface) from test firing shot number 9 were as follows:

  • Shot #9 Target:  clay
  • Forebody penetration (m)   0.38
  • Aftbody penetration (m)  0.2
  • Impact speed (m/s)  172
  • Incidence (deg) 90

The first movie shows the results of the preliminary hydrocode modeling.  After selecting a soil composition that matched the clay type soil used in the test, the model was run with a DS-2 penetrator design and the grid mesh was adjusted until the results shown below were achieved.

90 Degree Simulation

normal angel of incidenceThis result shows the penetrator entering and generating a small spray of ejecta as it burrows down past 10 cm.  At approximately 0.9 milliseconds, as the penetrator is passing through 10 cm, the ejecta pattern resembles a classic cratering process with a small cone forming on the surface.  Of course, in the actual impact, the aftbody will be interacting with this region.  One millisecond later the tunnel has reached 20 cm depth and the tunnel is now showing signs of tapering on the walls.  The penetrator comes to rest at approximately 39 cm depth in approximately 10 milliseconds.  This compares very favorably with the measured DS-2 results shown above.





70 Degree Simulation

Off axis angle of incidence

A second case was run to document the sensitivity to off-nominal entrance angles.  In this case, the penetrator enters at a 70 degree angle relative to the surface.  As you can see from the movie, the penetration depth is reduced to approximately 25 cm.  As is evident from the simulation, the penetrator body “slides” a little sideways into the soil, causing the tunnel to be wider and also reducing the ultimate depth.

Contribute, Participate, & Share

The ExoLance Mission at Indiegogo


Mars Day on the Hill September 29, 2014

Capitol Hill MDOTH2014

Explore Mars, Inc. will be holding a grassroots visit to Congress, known as “Mars Day on the Hill”, in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 29, 2014.

As demonstrated by a recent national public opinion poll commissioned by Explore Mars, Inc., the Boeing Company, and Phillips & Company, there is broad support within the United States for both human and robotic missions to Mars. However, the challenges that budgetary and other obstacles present for NASA are many. In the current economic and political climate, it is essential to let our elected representatives on Capitol Hill know that there is strong constituent support for our civil space program and for an ambitious yet sustainable path forward.

If you wish to participate in Mars Day on the Hill, please register here.

To help defray the costs associated with this event, we ask for a $15 registration donation (students can register for $10).  If you have any questions, please contact Rick Zucker, Explore Mars’ Director of Political Outreach, at [email protected].  Space is limited for this event, so please register as soon as possible. (Registration will close by September 19th, or when we reach capacity, whichever comes first.)

We will hold an information meeting (or telecon) on the afternoon of Sunday, September 28th (precise time and/or location TBD), during which logistics and last minute details for the following day will be discussed. The power and responsibility of democracy is that each of us can and should avail ourselves of the opportunity to make our views known to the offices of our elected representatives.

Please join us on September 29th, 2014 as we lend our voices to the debate about the future of America’s space program.