CAPE CANNOT BE MINING, Fla. – SpaceX successfully launched an advanced GPS satellite for the US Space Force on Thursday (November 5), marking the first launch in nearly two weeks on the Space Coast.
One of two corporate phases Falcon 9 rocket exploded from the 40th Space Launch Complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here at 6:24 pm EST (2324 GMT), bringing the GPS III-SV04 satellite into orbit. Nine minutes later, the first floor of the rocket hits the deck of “Of course I still love you,” one of SpaceX’s. two drones.
The GPS III-SV04 mission was set to follow in the heels of the United Launch Alliance (ULA). Rocket v, is scheduled to lift a US reconnaissance satellite from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday (November 3). However, launch of the Atlas V was delayed twice due to problems with the ground system equipment. ULA is currently targeting Friday (November 6) for that launch.
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It was a crystal clear night here on the Space Coast, and onlookers can track the missile through different launch stages. A nebula-like cloud, usually visible on clear nights, forms around the rocket as the first and second phases separate. The booster retry burn is also visible from the press viewing area.
Tonight’s GPS mission was waiting to launch because SpaceX was already forced to cancel on October 2. During the final seconds of the countdown that day, Falcon 9’s computer detected an engine abnormality and the rocket’s onboard flight termination system turned off the engine. The crew were able to keep the vehicle safe and, after a thorough investigation, they pinpointed the problem.
SpaceX determined that residue from “cover lacquer”, designed to protect sensitive engine parts during anodizing treatment against corrosion, was left behind during the treatment. SpaceX reps said the lacquer blocked the 0.06-inch (1.6 mm) wide vents for two of the nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9’s first leg, a SpaceX representative said in an interview. press conference on October 28.
Similar lacquer traces were found in the engine on the Falcon 9’s other first two legs – one on the rocket that will launch the Sentinel-6 Earth observation satellite and the other on the Crew-1 boosters, SpaceX’s next astronaut mission. SpaceX has swapped affected engines. The Crew-1 launch date, slated for November 14, is unaffected by this swap. However, SpaceX and NASA are delaying Mission Sentinel-6 until after Crew-1, setting a new target date of November 21.
Today’s flight marks the third GPS supply for SpaceX. The two previous advanced GPS III missions also launched on a Falcon 9 rocket, including one in June. Another satellite was launched on the last ULA flight Average Delta IV in August 2019.
The US military plans to launch a total of 10 upgraded GPS satellites, which will replace the aging members of the current constellation. SpaceX has secured additional contracts to carry out the next two GPS III missions, which are expected next year.
Built by Lockheed Martin in Colorado, the GPS III-SV04 satellite launched today is the fourth member of an upgraded GPS-guided spacecraft generation that transmits more power signals, has better interference resistance and more broadcast frequency to make the GPS network more compatible with the representative of Lockheed said.
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The 227-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 is SpaceX’s mechanical horse, and the rocket has more than 1.5 million pounds of thrust at takeoff. Today’s mission features a new Falcon out of the oven, its exterior completely white for its first voyage into space.
SpaceX has relied heavily on its veteran missile fleet, with Falcon 9’s early stages having five or more flights per leg. The boosters launched today, known as the SpaceX as B1062, could be the last brand-new device we see launching GPS satellites, as the US government has given SpaceX a green light to do show future military missions. Proven boosters on flight.
That decision follows another recent announcement that would allow SpaceX to reinstate the missile’s early stages on national security missions – something that was not previously permitted. The next two GPS missions, which were scheduled to fly aboard the SpaceX next year, will now launch on top of the refurbished missile.
Space Force officials say the announcement is a first for national security payloads and could save nearly $ 53 million for US taxpayers on two flights.
What’s in a name?
The military has nicknamed each of its upgraded GPS satellites, naming them after famous explorers. The satellite launched tonight is nicknamed “Sacagawea” after instructor Shoshone, who helped Lewis and Clark on their expeditions through the American West in the early 1800s.
The satellites were previously named “Vespucci“and”Magellan“in honor of the explorers Amerigo Vespucci and Ferdinand Magellan. The satellite launched in June was originally named Columbus, but it has recently received a new nickname:” Henson “, in honor of the explorer. Black Matthew Henson, who participated in the first expedition to the North Pole more than a century ago.
All nicknames are unofficial nicknames given to pre-launch satellites as a way of honoring past explorers and continuing the tradition of spacecraft naming.
Several subsequent missions have names chosen for their respective satellites. The fifth satellite, GPS III-SV05, will be called Neil Armstrong. Other upcoming satellites will be named after Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and Katherine Johnson, Space Force officials said.
Today’s mission marks the 97th time that a Falcon 9 rocket has flown and the 20th mission in 2020 for SpaceX. It also marked the 64th successful booster recovery. SpaceX’s drone, “Of Course I Still Love You,” has been positioned in the Atlantic, awaiting its restoration efforts.
The company’s other drone, “Just Read the Instructions,” is now out at Port Canaveral, waiting for the next mission. The giant ship, which now has 11 rockets, was delivered to the East Coast earlier this year, after receiving some sweet upgrades.
Today’s launch is also the first time since August that the brand-new SpaceX booster is available. Temporary engine breakdowns lay the foundation for SpaceX’s new boosters, allowing the company to focus on its own veterans and rockets Starlink internet constellation. In October, SpaceX launched 180 Starlink satellites, bringing the total number of satellites launched to nearly 900.
The B1062 is the star of today’s show, and it could also be the first Falcon 9 boosters to bring two different GPS satellites into orbit; It is scheduled to launch the next one, sometime next year. This will be the first time a Falcon 9 has ever flown that will hang one of these advanced global positioning satellites.
With the final Starlink mission, carried out on October 24, SpaceX has hit a milestone: 100 successful Falcon launches. This total includes the entire Falcon family, including the avant-garde (and long-retired Falcon 1) and the currently active Falcon Heavy. SpaceX tweeted out a recent video to celebrate a milestone.
One of the two people caught the fault of SpaceX, GO Ms. Chief, waiting in the recovery area tonight. The two boats are equipped with giant nets to catch the missile warheads, or nose cones, after they are deployed in flight. (The SpaceX gasses return to Earth in two halves.)
GO Ms. Chief left Port Canaveral on Wednesday (November 4) prior to today’s launch. The ship went alone this time when its partner, GO Ms. Tree, still in Port in Florida. (The boat was damaged on an earlier mission and is presumably still under construction.)
During a pre-launch broadcast, SpaceX engineer, Jessica Anderson, announced that the company would not try to catch, but instead would pick up debris once they land in the ocean. Boats are capable of catching fish that fall in their nets, or picking them out of the water after they have been dropped. Such efforts will occur approximately 45 minutes after take-off.
With the help of Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief, SpaceX has succeeded in attempting to reuse more rockets, even reusing the first few in multiple missions.
Next up for SpaceX is Crew-1Its first, contracted crew mission to the International Space Station for NASA. Another Falcon 9 rocket will send four astronauts to the station during a six-month stay. That flight will take off from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 14 at 7:29 p.m. EST (0029 GMT Nov. 15).
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