SpaceX just launched 143 satellites...

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luke strawwalker
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#1 SpaceX just launched 143 satellites...

Post by luke strawwalker »

SpaceX just launched 143 satellites successfully earlier this afternoon on a polar launched Falcon 9 rocket. The first stage was successfully recovered on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship just north of Cuba-- I wondered what the landmass was in the downlooking camera on the Falcon 9 first stage! Anyway, the second stage proceeded on to orbit, achieving orbit over the south Carribbean near Panama about the same time the first stage was landing near Cuba. It then coasted around to the other side of the world, overflying Antarctica and west of Australia before moving over eastern India and the Himalayas. There was a 2 second firing of the Vacuum Merlin to circularize the orbit and a neat shot in the YouTube coverage of the interior of the liquid oxygen tank of the second stage, clearly showing the roiling but settled pale blue clear LO2 swirling and churning in the bottom of the tank opposite the camera. It came right after the firing, presumably by mistake as someone was toggling through the feeds... I wish SpaceX would actually toggle through those feeds and show some of those views-- I know as a rocket enthusiast I'd LOVE to see some of those "engineering camera" views like the ones from inside the interstage and especially inside the propellant tanks like that! They deployed the satellites in a staggered arrangement as this "Transporter 1" mission was carrying a huge number of cubesats including some in a release mechanism on the aft end of the Falcon 9 second stage, as well as a large number in dispensers on top of the stage. Both fairing halves were successfully recovered from the sea IIRC and the Falcon 9 continued northward over central Siberia and the Arctic Ocean and flew south over northern Canada where it released its load of ten Starlink satellites, as it continued southward over Canada and just west of the Great Lakes down toward Texas on its way back to Antarctica...

It's a record-- 143 satellites from a single launch vehicle. Recovery of the first stage was picture perfect and could be seen landing on the drone ship, despite mist on the windows from chop and blowing spray. 143 satellites from one vehicle-- now they're just showing off LOL:)

Glad to see that SOMEONE is getting SOMETHING done in space, because NASA and Boeing sure aren't! Last I heard their "minor problem" with Starliner is still in work and they won't even try to launch it again til MAYBE late this year. I read awhile back the chief astronaut assigned to the Boeing team who was to command the mission backed out, citing not wanting to miss his daughter's wedding... Understandable but I'm sure the timing isn't exactly coincidental LOL:) Sounds like he decided to pass on this ride... speaks volumes about the state of Boeing's spacecraft IMHO. It's simply unheard of-- despite all the KNOWN issues with Apollo 1, Gus Grissom and his crew steeled themselves and hoped for the best, knowing if they backed out of the flight that 1) they'd never fly again and 2) someone else would take their place and have to fly, and they probably wouldn't be as well prepared for whatever happened as they were. Basically, same reason Vladimir Kamarov flew Soyuz 1 knowing it was a death trap... he didn't want one of his good friends to have to fly in his place and probably get killed, with less of a chance than he had because he was better prepared from having trained so long on the spacecraft and being most familiar with its issues...

Anyway, congrats to the SpaceX team... a marvelous achievement and they made it look simple! The polar flight out of KSC speaks volumes as to their confidence in the vehicle-- normally KSC only launches into "equatorial" orbits from the minimum 28.5 degrees (KSC's north latitude, which is the lowest inclination orbit that can be flown from there on a standard trajectory) up to about 52.5 degree (IIRC) inclination for ISS. I think the maximum they typically fly out of there is about close to 60 degree inclination toward the north, at least in the shuttle era-- at that point the shuttle was flying basically northeastward just offshore along the East Coast, which was necessary to make abort landings possible at the Transatlantic Abort Landing sites in Spain and North Africa... without overflying the heavily populated Eastern Seaboard with its many large cities and high populations, where a vehicle suffering a disaster would rain debris down on a huge heavily populated area... Even flying southward from the Cape (which wasn't possible for shuttle due to no abort landing capabilities in that direction) what expendable rockets have flown southward usually fly "dogleg" trajectories to keep them away from Cuba and the inhabited Carribbean islands, and air and sea trade routes. Normally, polar inclination launches (near 90 degree inclination) are launched out of Vandenberg AFB in California-- flying southward from Vandenberg, the vehicle is over ocean the entire way as it flies over the eastern Pacific paralleling the coast along southern California and Baja California as it flies southward well out to sea from Central America and northern South America, before coming closer to land as it flies southward toward Antarctica... that allows any damaged or destroyed vehicles to safely crash into the Pacific, and any spent rocket stages or boosters to be disposed of into the ocean to sink. Equatorial orbit launches aren't possible from Vandenberg, because eastward launches would overfly the southwestern and southern US, and nobody wants to drop a spent SRB or first stage on Tucson or Albuquerque, or DFW... or if there's a problem with the rocket have it crashing back down into Huntsville or Jacksonville or Atlanta... LOL:) Launching an equatorial "retrograde orbit" launch from Vandenberg flying west would have HUGE performance costs for the rocket, greatly limiting the payload since you don't get the free "1000 mph boost" from earth's rotation flying eastward... in fact you have to ADD another 1000 mph (roughly) to overcome Earth's rotational velocity... (which is why there's a big performance hit).

Anyway, it's good to see. While NASA is stumbling and Boeing is bumbling and Blue Origin is "talking" but not "showing or doing" (that we can see) SpaceX is getting things done!

Later! OL J R :)
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#2 Re: SpaceX just launched 143 satellites...

Post by Rocket Babe »

It's an accomplishment for sure but I'm not that excited to know there are more ways to track us. :mm:
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luke strawwalker
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#3 Re: SpaceX just launched 143 satellites...

Post by luke strawwalker »

Rocket Babe wrote: Mon, 25 Jan 21, 19:07 pm It's an accomplishment for sure but I'm not that excited to know there are more ways to track us. :mm:
I don't think there's anything to worry about... we all carry our own personal listening and locating devices with us pretty much 24/7 anyway, which the gubmint can listen in on us and lock in our location at any time (cell phones). From what I understand, most of the payload was cubesats in a "ride-share" program that SpaceX initiated... along with another ten Starlink satellites. Why they called it 'Transporter 1".

Unless they are surreptitiously testing actual Star Trek transporter technology, and they just did all that to throw us off the trail-- I better get my tinfoil hat!!! LOL:)

Later! OL J R :)
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#4 Re: SpaceX just launched 143 satellites...

Post by Commander »

Rocket Babe wrote: Mon, 25 Jan 21, 19:07 pm It's an accomplishment for sure but I'm not that excited to know there are more ways to track us. :mm:
Babe, I don't think you have to worry so much about the stuff in space, it seems to me that your movements are being followed closely enough by terrestrial eyeballs. :lol: maybe by some even in your own house. :shock:
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