Home / Science / This week’s SpaceX launch will have its first land-based rocket landing since December – Spaceflight Now

This week’s SpaceX launch will have its first land-based rocket landing since December – Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 rocket crashes into a touchdown at Landing Zone 1 after launch in August 2020. Credit: SpaceX.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on an offshore trajectory from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday to put 88 small satellites into polar orbit. The Falcon 9’s first booster stage returns to Florida’s Space Coast for the first land-based rocket landing at Cape Canaveral since December.

The Falcon 9 rocket is set to take off from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral during a 58-minute launch window at 2:56 p.m. EDT (1856 GMT) on Tuesday. SpaceX delayed the launch from last week to settle. Additional pre-flight money But the company did not provide further explanation for the delay.

SpaceX tested the Falcon 9 booster that flew earlier on Tuesday. To prepare for Transporter 2’s small satellite sharing mission.

There’s an 80% chance that the weather will be acceptable at Cape Canaveral’s launch on Tuesday.

According to SpaceX, the Transporter 2 mission will launch 88 small spacecraft into orbit for customers around the world. Transporter 1, SpaceX’s first car-sharing mission, launched in January with 143 small satellites, which is the number of spacecraft. Record single in a single release

The Transporter 2 mission won’t break that record, but SpaceX said customer spaceships waiting to take off Tuesday had more combined mass than previous ride-sharing missions.

The payload aboard the Transporter 2 includes a small satellite for the US Army. as well as radar and Earth observation satellites for Satellogic and ICEYE, a commercial remote sensing company based in Argentina and Finland. There are also a number of CubeSats launched for US and international carriers.

Friday’s launch will be the 20th Falcon 9 launch of the year, but all 19 missions through 2021 are aimed at landing aboard drones in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX’s final rocket landing at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station happened on the company’s final mission of 2020, the National Reconnaissance Office’s launch on Dec. 19.

All but one of SpaceX’s attempts to land this year has been successful.

SpaceX will typically land the Falcon 9 booster aboard drones on missions carrying heavy cargo into space. or baggage-carrying flights to high-altitude orbit

when launched with a lighter payload The booster will have enough rocket reserves to replace itself using “boostback” combustion after splitting from the stage. That will be the case with the Transporter 2 launched on Tuesday.

About two-and-a-half minutes after separating from the Falcon 9’s upper stage in the mission, the 15-storey booster will ignite three engines to reduce horizontal speed and begin accelerating back to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.

The first stage will land at Cape Canaveral approximately eight minutes after liftoff. While the Falcon 9’s second stage operates “dogleg” to redirect from the first route southeast to south parallel to the east coast of Florida.

The second stage will soar over the Strait of Florida and Cuba before reaching orbit carrying 88 passengers.

This will be SpaceX’s third launch from Cape Canaveral to use a trajectory at the South Pole since last August. before August No trajectory has been taken from Cape Canaveral since 1969.

SpaceX said the returning rocket stage could create one or more sonic booms that could be heard across central Florida, depending on the weather.

A Falcon 9 booster descends on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station following its December 2020 launch. Credits: SpaceX.

The auxiliary landing will be the 20th touchdown of the Falcon 9’s first stage at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and the 89th recovery of the Falcon 9 booster in total. There have been 66 successful auxiliary landings. Aboard SpaceX’s drone fleet and three rocket landings at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

“Furthermore, Falcon 9 will fly along Florida’s east coast over the ocean and may be visible from the ground,” SpaceX said in a statement.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage will send 88 spacecraft into a synchronous orbit of the Sun at an altitude of about 310 miles (500 kilometers), marking the beginning of the designed payload deployment sequence. carefully

SpaceX has announced the launch of a small satellite ride-sharing service in 2019, following Transporter 1 in January and Transporter 2 this week. SpaceX’s next launch of Transporter 3 is scheduled for December from Vandenberg. It is located on the central coast of California.

On its website, SpaceX says customers only charge $1 million to launch a 440 pound (200 kg) payload on a shared flight into synchronous orbit. Enabled by the cost reduction from reusing Falcon 9 rocket hardware, SpaceX prices are significantly lower than what other launch carriers charge for similar payloads.

Jeanne Medvedeva, vice president of launch services at Exolaunch in Berlin, said: “These launches are worth it. Cheapest today,” said in an interview earlier this year.

Companies such as Exolaunch reserve ports on the Transporter 1 and Transporter 2 convoys, then share that capacity with a number of smaller satellite customers. Seattle-based Spaceflight and Italian company D-Orbit have reserved the space. Empty for the launch of Transporter 2, then allocate the space to the customers.

Spaceflight and D-Orbit have their own satellite operators mounted on the Transporter 2 unloading fleet. Their vehicles will separate from a Falcon 9 rocket to launch satellite passengers later.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1

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