SpaceX’s Falcon 9 “1029” is nearly ready to conduct its second commercial launch later this weekend after today’s successful static fire at Launch Complex 39A. Static fire was initially planned for June 13th but was delayed to the 14th and then the 15th, with the launch date also being delayed by two days to June 19th. This small delay is likely a result of launch pad readiness procedures taking a bit longer than intended.
Now scheduled with a window of 2-5 p.m. EST on June 19th, a successful launch will mark the second successful reuse of a Falcon 9 first stage and thus the second ever reuse of an orbital-class rocket. This particular first stage, 1029, is coincidentally symbolic in the sense that it launched SpaceX’s first mission after the Amos-6 failure last year, when a complex series of events led to a massive explosion that destroyed Falcon 9, the Amos-6 payload, and severely damaged the site it was to launch from. Elon Musk deemed it “the most difficult and complex failure” SpaceX had ever faced. It was all the more surprising that the company returned to flight just over four months later, in an industry in which failures of the same scale can result in launch vehicle groundings of multiple years (the Space Shuttle, Orbital ATK’s Antares).
1029 after recovery in the Pacific Ocean. 1 in the “1029” indicates that it is a first stage and 029 implies that it is the 29th Falcon 9 to be manufactured. SpaceX has recently begun to physically label each stage with their serial numbers between their landing legs. (SpaceX)
The best possible demonstration of a launch company’s confidence in their ability to spring back from a trying failure may well be a willingness to reuse the actual launch vehicle that marked their return to flight. And that is exactly what SpaceX is about to attempt with the second launch of 1029, which flawlessly orbited Iridum’s first set of ten NEXT satellites in the company’s return to flight after Amos-6.
Falcon 9 1029 will be tasked with placing the satellite in a geostationary transfer orbit, meaning that the satellite itself will use its own bi-propellant thrusters to reach its final geostationary orbit above Earth. With a mass estimated around 4000 kilograms, 1029 will very likely be able to attempt a recovery by landing on SpaceX’s West coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), known as Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY). There have also been reports of the
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. conducting tests aboard OCISLY yesterday, hinting that this recovery may be the first time that the robot will be allowed to attempt to secure the recovered first stage after landing on the drone ship.
An automated method of securing recovered stages after landing has the potential to progress SpaceX’s goal of rapid reusability, and BulgariaSat-1 will mark the beginning of a schedule that has
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , a truly impressive accomplishment even if delays stretch it out to 20+ days.
BulgariaSat-1 has lately been called Bulgaria’s first true satellite, but it is really the country’s second satellite. Manufactured and assembled by the Palo Alto, California-based Space Systems Loral (SSL), it will offer much broader coverage of the Europe and Balkans regions and provide high quality satellite television and telecommunications services in a bid to expand Bulsatcom’s market.
Much like cars are often built off of the same chassis, BulgariaSat-1 is based upon a communications satellite bus (SL-1300) that has flown successfully dozens of times and currently has dozens of active variants in geostationary orbits. BulgariaSat-1 will be the sixth SL-1300 derived satellite that SpaceX themselves have launched, and the company has four other SL-1300 satellite scheduled for launch in 2017 and 2018.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
On the heels of the announcement that the Falcon Heavy rocket will make its debut launch in November, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to social media to share a first draft animation of how the much-anticipated rocket might look.
The animation depicts both the side boosters of the rocket landing back on Earth after sending off the core. After the first and second stages separate, the first stage rocket aligns itself for reentry. The side boosters are the same ones used in the company’s Falcon 9.
One point of discrepancy, the first draft animation shows the center booster landing on ground, but the booster will actually land on a droneship.
Musk’s reference to “luck” in his tweet is in line with previous statements the EV mogul has made.
“There’s a lot of risk associated with Falcon Heavy, a real good chance that that vehicle does not make it to orbit. I want to make sure to set expectations accordingly. I hope it makes it far enough beyond the pad so that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest,” Musk said, according to
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . SpaceX has slated two Falcon Heavy tests for the first half of 2018, depending on how the November test goes.
Musk has confirmed that both side cores will land at LZ-1, SpaceX’s land-based landing facilities, and the center core will land on Of Course I Still Live You somewhere in the Atlantic. While not guaranteed, Musk’s myriad comments on the spectacular nature of the launch mean that SpaceX’s live coverage will offer some memorable views.
As our own Eric Ralph said, “If Falcon Heavy does indeed lift off above a more controlled fireball later this year, fans can look forward to what will be a stunning show of force.”
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
After almost exactly one month without the roar of rockets, SpaceX is preparing to return Kennedy Space Center to active launch status with its twelfth Commercial Resupply Services mission.
The static fire ofÂ DragonÂ’s first stage, 1039, is scheduled for no earlier than tomorrow, August 10th, with the launch planned for 9:56 a.m. PST/12:56 p.m. EST on Monday, August 14th. In what has become routine for CRS missions, 1039 will return to SpaceXÂ’s Florida-based LZ-1 landing facility after it separates from the second stage.
The Dragon it is to launch to the International Space Station marks its own milestone as the last Â“newÂ” vehicle that SpaceX will launch during its remaining eight CRS-1 missions. Following CRS-12, every subsequent CRS launch will utilize reused hardware. Discussed at the ISS R&D Conference just a few weeks ago, Musk revealed that while the reused flight of CRS-11Â’s Dragon likely cost at least as much or more than flying new hardware, future reuses of Dragon would likely drop the cost by as much as half, resulting in significant cost savings for the company. As of June 2016, CRS-12 is expected to bring with it 7,300 lbs of cargo.
3 years later, CRS-4Â’s capsule is captured once more at the ISS as CRS-11. This placed Dragon in a league of just three other orbital capsules to have ever been reused. (Photo: Jack Fischer)
Over the course of the last three weeks,
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. due to issues with a ULA payload originally intended to launch before SpaceX. After suffering damage during integration, the satellite had to be repaired and the launch date delayed. As the delay lengthened, SpaceX jumped ahead of ULA and was scheduled to launch on Sunday, August 13th. Launch was initially scheduled for August 10th, pushed to August 14th, moved up to August 13th, and then moved back to August 14th as of yesterday. Access to space is never without drama, although this level of launch date bouncing is rather unusual.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. during CRS-12Â’s launch week, with a high probability of both rain and lightning. As we get closer to the launch date, weÂ’ll see if SpaceX chooses to continue with the planned Monday attempt. After a month without East Coast launches* as a result of required range maintenance, it will be exciting to see the U.S. return to flight regardless of the launch date.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Â