Image Credit & Copyright: SpaceX of Asiasat8 launch. All live stream and mission links below.
LAUNCH ALERT: Monday, April 27, 2015 at 18:14 EDT (22:14 UTC) a SpaceX Falcon 9, version 1.1 rocket will be launching from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40 or “SLICK-40”) carrying the TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat 1 communications satellite for Thales Alenia and the Turkmenistan government and provide communications for Central Asia.
This flight will not be a first stage ASDS landing attempt. This will be the Falcon 9’s 18th flight “F9-18” and the Falcon 9 version 1.1 (F9v1.1) 13th flight.
NOW FOR THE ROCKET: The Falcon 9R v1.1 rocket is a 2-stage partially reusable rocket with future ambitions of becoming fully reusable. The new version is 3.7 meters (12ft) in diameter and 68.4 meters (224.4 ft.) tall which is much taller than the Falcon 9 v1.0 or “Block 1” in order to house a longer fuel tank. It is also fitted with upgraded and reconfigured Merlin family main engines replacing the 9 Merlin-1C with the more powerful Merlin-1D engines that will provide a thrust of nearly 600,200kg (1.5 million lb.) at sea level which equates to a significant payload capacity increase. Each Merlin-1D provides 147,000 lb. of thrust at sea level or about 55% more thrust than the original 1C engines. The new merlin 1-D engines are also in a circular “octaweb” configuration and are equipped with the capability to throttle between 70% and 100%. All in all the Falcon 9 v1.1 is able to loft 13,150kg (28,990lb) into low Earth orbit (LEO); 4,850kg (10,690lb) into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) or 2.9 tons to escape velocity.
DRAGON SPACECRAFT = The Dragon spacecraft is about 23.6 ft. (7.2 m) tall with trunk attached and 12 ft. (3.7 m) wide. It’s comprised of two main sections; the pressurized cargo area which can carry 388 cubic ft. of cargo as well as the unpressurized cargo area. The trunk (unpressurized area) carries 494 cubic ft. of cargo as well as the solar arrays. OR: MAIN COMPOSITE PAYLOAD FAIRING = the composite payload fairing is 13.1 meters (43ft) in length and 5.2 meter (17ft) in diameter.
SECOND STAGE = is powered by a single Merlin-1D Vacuum engine with aluminum-lithium alloy tanks fueled by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene (LOX/RP-1). This stage can be restarted multiple times to place multiple payloads into desired orbits. For maximum reliability, the second stage has redundant igniter systems and has a burn time of 375 seconds.
INTERSTAGE = a composite structure that connects the first stage to the second stage and holds the release and separation system. Its al all pneumatic stage separation system for low shock, highly reliable separation that can be tested on the ground, unlike pyrotechnic systems used on most launch vehicles.
FIRST CORE/BOOST STAGE = is powered by nine (9) Merlin-1D engines in their circular “octaweb” configuration with aluminum-lithium alloy tanks fueled by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene (LOX/RP-1). The core stage has a burn time of 180 seconds and is gradually throttled. Its 9 Merlin-1D engine system can sustain up to two engine shutdowns during flight and still successfully complete its mission. The first stage can be fitted with four independently steerable grid fins that help control pitch, yaw and roll during vertical decent as well as four landing legs that can extend before touchdown on the Autonymous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) and in the future LC-1 (Former SLC-13) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
WATCH THE LAUNCH LIVE: NASA TV launch coverage begins at 15:30 EDT (19:30 UTC). On Monday, April 15 grapple coverage begins at 05:00 EDT with grapple slated for 07:00 EDT. Berthing coverage begins later at 09:15 EDT.
SpaceX Webcast: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/
SpaceX Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/SpaceX
AmericaSpace Launch Webcast: http://www.americaspace.com/?page_id=33925
SpaceflightNow Launch Webcast: http://spaceflightnow.com/live/
SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 page: http://www.spacex.com/falcon9
Elon Musk Twitter: https://twitter.com/elonmusk
SpaceX Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpaceX
SpaceX Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpaceX
SpaceX YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel
SpaceX Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SpaceX
SpaceX Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacexphotos