SpaceX has not launched an entirely new missile since June, when it augmented the GPS III satellite for the US Space Force on the Falcon 9 rocket. Since that time, the company has made a number of wares. Its own commercial and satellite Starlink missions on a variety of missiles that have flown previously, and all are successful.
However, when the company attempted to launch the first phase of the new Falcon 9 on October 2 – this is for another GPS satellite, dubbed GPS III-04 ̵1; that effort was wiped out at T-2 seconds. Then SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsmann explained that two of the rocket’s nine early-stage engines caught fire early in a launch attempt in early October, and this caused the automatic engines to stop working.
This problem ultimately stems from a small bit of lacquer used in metal processing, which should have been removed before flying but it wasn’t. Now the company believes it has solved the problem, which is a good thing as the company has three important missions coming up for the US government, all scheduled to fly on new rockets.
The first was a second attempt to launch GPS III-04 and this took place on Thursday night. A Falcon 9 missile, with two Merlin engines replaced, will take off at 6:24 pm EST (23:24 UTC) from the 40th Space Launch Complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The satellite weighing nearly 4 tons will be deployed into the transfer orbit at an altitude of about 20,000 km.
Provided this mission is successful and resolves the lacquer problem, SpaceX will then launch a second crew launch, the Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker. , along with Japanese Aviation Exploration Agency mission expert Soichi Noguchi, arrived at the International Space Station. That mission is currently scheduled for November 14.
And finally, SpaceX has another mission for NASA scheduled no earlier than November 21, which is to launch the Sentinel-6 Earth observation spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Base.
Even if they did investigate the lacquer problem, SpaceX was still able to fly its proven missiles as those early stages were proven unaffected by the production issue. . It should also be noted that both the Space Force and NASA have reached agreements with SpaceX to carry out their missions on the first stages used for future missions.
Provided tonight’s GPS III mission kicks off – current weather forecast supports 60% of the likelihood of favorable conditions – SpaceX will try to land its first leg on Of course I still love you Unmanned aircraft. The company’s launch webcast below will start about 15 minutes before the launch window opens.
Photo list by Trevor Mahlmann for Ars