NASA Nabs Emmy Nominations for SpaceX Launch, Mars Landing

The second Emmy nomination is for NASA’s coverage of the March 2019 flight of SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight.

Two NASA broadcasts for historic milestones in space exploration have nabbed Emmy nominations for interactive programming, but will the space agency take home a statue?

NASA’s coverage of its InSight landing on Mars in November 2018 earned its first 2019 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Original Interactive Program to recognize the agency’s news, webb education, TV and social media efforts.

InSight is the first mission to study the deep interior of Mars, using an ultra-sensitive seismometer, a heat-flow probe and other instruments. InSight is managed for NASA by JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena,” NASA officials said in a statement Friday (Sept. 13). “JPL won the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Interactive Program for its coverage of the Cassini mission’s Grand Finale at Saturn.”

Watch: NASA’s Emmy Video for InSight Mars Landing

Watch:
NASA’s SpaceX Crew Dragon Emmy Video

The second Emmy nomination is for NASA’s coverage of the March 2019 flight of SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight. During that test flight, called Demonstration Mission 1, SpaceX launched human-rated Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station and back as a shakedown cruise for eventual crewed missions. It was the first privately-developed crew-capable spacecraft to visit the space station.

Related: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-1 Test Flight in Pictures

“The nomination is a result of years of preparation for the historic launch and multiple live broadcasts from NASA and SpaceX facilities across the country during each phase of the Crew Dragon’s mission to the International Space Station and its stunning return to Earth,” NASA officials said in the statement. “Throughout NASA’s coverage, the agency and SpaceX engaged social media users around the world and at local social media influencer gatherings at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.”

NASA’s Emmy nominations are part of the Creative Arts Emmys, which are being awarded this weekend (Sept. 14 and Sept. 15) at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. According to NASA, an edited version of the ceremonies will air Sept. 21 on the cable channel FXX, and will appear in the full 71st Primetime Emmys broadcast on Sept. 22.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook

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Watch SpaceX Test Its Crew Dragon’s Escape System

SpaceX just posted dramatic footage of its commercial space taxi Crew Dragon undergoing rigorous tests of its emergency abort system. The idea is …

Abort! Abort!

SpaceX just posted dramatic footage of its commercial space taxi Crew Dragon undergoing rigorous tests of its emergency abort system.

The idea is that if something goes wrong with the rocket carrying the Crew Dragon to orbit, the module can engage its own thrusters to quickly escape the danger — and then coast down safely on a parachute.

Ahead of our in-flight abort test for @Commercial_Crew—which will demonstrate Crew Dragon’s ability to safely carry astronauts away from the rocket in the unlikely event of an emergency—our team has completed over 700 tests of the spacecraft’s SuperDraco engines pic.twitter.com/nswMPCK3F9

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 12, 2019

Ejector Button

The spacecraft is outfitted with eight SuperDraco engines, allowing it to cover half a mile in just 7.5 seconds during an emergency, reaching a top speed of 436 mph, according to a follow-up tweet. Parachutes ensure that the craft safely lands back on Earth after the system deploys.

But testing hasn’t always gone according to plan. The same engines were responsible for blowing up the first Crew Dragon capsule during a system test in April.

Last week, SpaceX tested the first stage of its Falcon 9 boosters that will be responsible for launching two NASA astronauts into orbit as part of Crew Dragon’s first-ever crewed test flight. When exactly that test flight will take place is still uncertain.

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SpaceX’s first rocket built for humans test-fired in Texas

The Falcon 9 booster assigned to launch two NASA astronauts on an orbital test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has been test-fired in Texas, …
The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was test-fired Aug. 29 at the company’s test site in McGregor, Texas. The booster will launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Credit: SpaceX

The Falcon 9 booster assigned to launch two NASA astronauts on an orbital test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has been test-fired in Texas, but the schedule for the long-awaited mission remains unclear.

SpaceX announced the static fire test of the Falcon 9’s first stage in a tweet Aug. 29.

The launch vehicle’s nine Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited on a test stand at SpaceX’s test site in McGregor, Texas, for a hold-down firing before the booster is shipped to Cape Canaveral for final launch preparations.

The 15-story booster produces some 1.7 million pounds of thrust from its nine Merlin engines, which consume super-chilled, densified kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants. During launch, the first stage burns for around two-and-a-half minutes.

The Falcon 9 first stage slated to launch SpaceX’s first piloted Crew Dragon test flight is fresh from the company’s factory in Hawthorne, California. SpaceX is expected to recover the booster aboard an offshore drone ship following the mission’s liftoff from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. The Crew Dragon demonstration flight will mark the third space mission for both Behnken and Hurley.

The test flight will be SpaceX’s first crewed mission, and will lay the groundwork for regular crew rotation flights using the upgraded Dragon spaceship to ferry astronauts between Earth and the space station.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley pose in their SpaceX spacesuits during a joint training exercise in July inside the Operations and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX

While preparations of the Falcon 9 launcher appear on track for the Crew Dragon’s first piloted test flight later this year, SpaceX continues working to overcome a setback in April when the company’s first space-worthy Crew Dragon capsule exploded during a ground test at Cape Canaveral.

The explosion destroyed the Crew Dragon spacecraft that flew on the Demo-1 mission to the space station March. Demo-1 was an unpiloted test flight, and Behnken and Hurley’s mission is designated Demo-2.

In response to the accident, SpaceX has moved forward Crew Dragon vehicles coming off the company’s assembly line in Southern California. The vehicle originally built for Behnken and Hurley will now fly on an atmospheric launch abort test to prove the Crew Dragon’s ability to escape an in-flight rocket failure.

SpaceX will now use the third flight-ready Crew Dragon for the Demo-2 mission with Behnken and Hurley.

Engineers believe a leak of propellant inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s propulsion system — caused by a faulty check valve — led to the Crew Dragons explosion April 20. No one was injured in the accident.

SpaceX is replacing check valves inside the abort propulsion system on future Crew Dragon vehicles to prevent similar leaks from occurring in the future. Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of build and flight reliability, said last month that the company plans to conduct the in-flight abort test in the October or November timeframe, followed by the orbital demo flight with Behnken and Hurley “hopefully this year.”

Boeing, NASA’s other commercial crew contractor, has not yet flown its Starliner crew capsule in space. A Starliner test flight to the space station without astronauts aboard is scheduled some time before the end of the year, and will lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

A Crew Flight Test of the Starliner capsule will follow the unpiloted test flight, but Boeing’s schedules remain just as murky as SpaceX’s.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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SpaceX tried to launch a Mars spaceship prototype on its first big flight, but the test was cut short …

An aerial view of SpaceX‘s Starhopper rocket ship prototype after it aborted launch attempt from Boca Chica Beach, Texas, on July 24, 2019.SpaceX/ …

An aerial view of SpaceX‘s Starhopper rocket ship prototype after it aborted launch attempt from Boca Chica Beach, Texas, on July 24, 2019.SpaceX/YouTube

  • tried to launch, hover, and land a small steel rocket ship called on Wednesday in south Texas.
  • The vehicle is an early prototype of : a far larger system that‘s designed to send people and Mars.
  • However, just after Starhopper‘s engines ignited engineers aborted the launch – and the vehicle never lifted off the ground.
  • Live recorded the moment the test began and abruptly ended.
  • .

SpaceX tried to launch and fly its gleaming Starhopper rocket ship prototype into the skies on Wednesday, but an as-yet unexplained issue cut short the test flight.

Starhopper stands and 30 feet wide, has three landing legs, and is made out of stainless steel. The vehicle isn‘t designed to fly into space, though; it‘s a test-bed for technologies that could eventually power a much larger and more powerful launch system .

SpaceX‘s Starhopper rocket ship prototype sits on a launch pad in south Texas in July 2019.SpaceX via dearMoon

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, envisions Starship as a nearly 400-foot-tall, fully reusable system that can ferry about 100 people and more than 100 tons of cargo at a time . Where Starhopper has one , a full-scale Starship headed for deep space may use more than 40, according to Musk.

Musk last week that Starhopper was supposed to lift off, hover, traverse sideways, and then land during this test. If successful, it would represent the most ambitious test yet for the vehicle, which workers chained to its launch pad during the very first launches in early April.

However, the test did not play out as SpaceX hoped it might on Wednesday evening, as by the company revealed.

‘As you can see, the vehicle did not lift off‘

The video above show‘s about 20 seconds of the Starhopper‘s launch attempt.

The rocket ship ignited its single engine just after 8:32 p.m. ET (7:32 p.m. CT) blowing out a cloud of rocket exhaust, steam, and dirt. But two or three seconds later, either SpaceX engineers or automated systems shut down the engine and terminated the flight.

“It appears as though we have had an abort on today‘s test,” Kate Tice, certification engineer at SpaceX, said during the broadcast. “As you can see there, the vehicle did not lift off.”

Seconds after the engine shut down, a vent located on top of the vehicle flared up and began shooting flames, though it did not appear to cause any visible damage and quickly died out.

The aborted launch follows a successful test-firing last week, though that test apparently disconnected a fuel line, spilled liquid methane onto the launch pad, and triggered an enormous flare-up.

:

Tice reminded viewers during Wednesday‘s launch attempt that Starhopper is part of an ongoing development program and not an operational rocket system.

“Today was a test flight designed to test the boundaries of the vehicle,” Tice said.

A SpaceX spokesperson Business Insider in an email that the hop-and-hover test is “one in a series of tests designed to push the limits of the vehicle as quickly as possible to learn all we can, as fast as we safely can.”

A company representative could not immediately provide additional information about the launch abort, its cause, or when SpaceX would make its next attempt.

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NASA Rehearses Astronaut Launch — and Rescue — with SpaceX, Boeing (Photos)

Both SpaceX and Boeing are busily preparing for the first crewed launches of their commercial spacecraft, and in case something goes wrong, they’re …

Both SpaceX and Boeing are busily preparing for the first crewed launches of their commercial spacecraft, and in case something goes wrong, they’re simulating different types of emergencies.

The companies are contracted under NASA to provide commercial crew spacecraft for missions to the International Space Station (ISS) to supplement the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that is currently used for all ISS launches, which blast off from a facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The first commercial crew astronauts will fly late this year or sometime in 2020, if all goes according to plan. SpaceX and Boeing will each launch their spacecraft from Florida, marking the first time American astronauts have launched from their home country since the last space shuttle mission in 2011.

SpaceX and NASA geared up for the first launch of a Crew Dragon with astronauts aboard with a dress rehearsal of launch day — including simulated emergencies. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will fly the first Crew Dragon mission, practiced suiting up in a SpaceX facility in Hawthorne, California, with SpaceX’s ground closeout team. The NASA and SpaceX teams did a simulated launch countdown, as well as several emergency launch scenarios, which is common practice for all astronauts preparing for spaceflight.

Related: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-1 Test Flight in Pictures

Some of Boeing’s first CST-100 Starliner crew also conducted emergency launch scenarios at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, who will be on the first Starliner crew, participated in the exercise, as well as Eric Boe (who initially was assigned to a Starliner mission, but pulled for medical reasons in January) and astronaut candidate Jasmin Moghbeli (who is completing certification exercises to qualify for future spaceflights).

Our @Commercial_Crew Program is making progress to launch astronauts from U.S. soil to the @Space_Station. Learn about our rehearsals to safely extract crew members from the @SpaceX #CrewDragon spacecraft that will carry astronauts to & from space: https://t.co/0k1PovEqKA pic.twitter.com/km24W9FfhfAugust 18, 2019

What’s new with our @Commercial_Crew astronauts? @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug recently performed suit-up & leak checks using the same Ground Support Equipment hardware that they will use for launch on @SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission. Keep up with their training: https://t.co/irbF3GDaC3 pic.twitter.com/lqIsMGWjYIAugust 8, 2019

The astronauts and ground personnel followed a complicated set of procedures to practice safety in the event of a sudden emergency on the pad, such as a rocket explosion. Such an event could offer only seconds to respond, so practicing everything ahead of time is necessary. During the drill, participants donned portable respirators and practiced moving from the crew access arm on the spacecraft, which is nearly 200 feet (60 meters) high, toward a zip line, which they slid down to a staging location on the ground.

Once everyone reached the ground safely, they rushed inside a vehicle designed to withstand any debris from a disaster. The team drove the so-called mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle almost a mile (1.6 kilometers) to a helipad, where flight surgeons and emergency personnel were ready with ambulances and a decontamination vehicle.

Emergency response personnel surround an asteroid with simulated injuries during an exercise conducted by NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance on July 24, 2019.

Emergency response personnel surround an astronaut with simulated injuries during an exercise conducted by NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance on July 24, 2019.

(Image credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

“Astronauts evacuating from a pad emergency may come into contact with hazardous substances, such as fuel from the rocket or spacecraft, and must be decontaminated to allow medical personnel to safely treat them. In a true emergency, anyone injured would then be transported via helicopter to area hospitals,” NASA said in a statement about the Boeing exercise.

Another practice exercise focused on recovery operations with SpaceX, using a ship called “GO Searcher,” which is one of the vessels that will pick up spacecraft and astronauts splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean after a mission. In this exercise, the teams simulated that Behnken and Hurley needed to be extracted from Crew Dragon. The astronauts were removed and received a mock medical evaluation before they were transported to a nearby airport, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip.

.@NASA led a simulation with @BoeingSpace and @ulalaunch in preparation for upcoming crew flights to the @Space_Station. In the event of an emergency, astronauts and support teams would need to exit the launch pad as quickly as possible: https://t.co/lG6ZspSztG pic.twitter.com/UAgbmm6UZIAugust 5, 2019

“We’re making sure that the team integrates together — that’s a key to any successful mission,” Ted Mosteller, the NASA recovery director in charge of the agency’s team for the Commercial Crew Program, said in a statement concerning the recovery operations. “We worked on successfully doing what we need to do to take care of the crew once they return to Earth.”

In the same statement, Behnken said he is looking forward to his opportunity for spaceflight and returning to the ISS. “Each of these exercises puts us one step closer to fulfilling NASA’s mission of returning astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil,” he added.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow uson Twitter @Spacedotcomand on Facebook.

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