NASA certifies Falcon 9 for highest priority science missions

NASA has certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 to launch the agency’s most important science missions, giving the agency new options that could result in lower costs.

SpaceX said that the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) awarded its Category 3 certification for the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. That certification allows NASA to use the Falcon 9 for its highest-value science missions.

“LSP Category 3 certification is a major achievement for the Falcon 9 team and represents another key milestone in our close partnership with NASA,” Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said in a statement. “We are honored to have the opportunity to provide cost-effective and reliable launch services to the country’s most critical scientific payloads.”

The Category 3 classification requires a vehicle to have performed at least 3, and as many as 14, successful launches. The difference in number of launches depends on the amount of additional NASA audits and reviews of the vehicle are performed to verify its reliability; more reviews allow NASA to certify the vehicle with a fewer number of launches. SpaceX did not specify what approach it used with NASA to obtain the Category 3 certification.

The current version of the Falcon 9, the Block 5, has performed six launches to date, all successfully. The overall Falcon 9 family has carried out more than 60 launches dating back to 2010, with one in-flight failure on a Dragon cargo mission in 2015 and a pad explosion in 2016 during preparations for a pre-launch static-fire test. There have been 34 consecutive successful Falcon 9 launches since that 2016 explosion.

Read more at spacenews.com

Image Credit:    NASA KSC/Tony Gray

News This Week

An AI strategy is no longer optional

At the New York Times DealBook conference, Intel emphasized it was urgent that every company put an artificial intelligence (AI) strategy in place. The reason, in a word, is data. The data deluge continues [...]

Artificial synapses made from nanowires

Scientists from Jülich together with colleagues from Aachen and Turin have produced a memristive element made from nanowires that functions in much the same way as a biological nerve cell. The component is able [...]

Updated – NanoApps Medical Inc. Near-Term Projects

NanoApps Medical is investigating the possibility that superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SPIONs) (Figure 1) and other classes of nanoparticles (e.g., gold coated nanoshells) (Figure 2) might have the capacity to target cancerous tumors, metastasizing cancer cells, [...]

Nonstop tranport of cargo in nanomachines

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks are cilia, antenna-like structures protruding from most vertebrate cells. Whenever cilia [...]

2018-11-16T12:07:42+00:00

Leave A Comment