SpaceX Falcon 9 from CA Coming Up

Images credit & copyright: Ryan Chylinski and SpaceX.

Launch Alert!: Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 06:17 PST (09:17 EST & 14:17 UTC), a SpaceX Falcon 9 (core B1038.2) will be launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) carrying the Airbus Defense and Space Paz satellite for Hisdesat of Madrid. Falcon 9 core B1038.2 was previously flown on the Formosat 5 mission on August 24, 2017. This flight will also carry SpaceX’s Microsat 2A and Microsat 2B internet technology demonstrator satellites. When complete, the 12,000 “Starlink” satellite constellation will deliver internet to everywhere on Earth.  The plan is to have two layers in the constellation; 4,425 satellites 700 miles high and 5,718 satellites about 400 miles high and the two will operate on different frequencies from one another.  It’s estimated that the company plans to have 40 million subscribers by 2025 with a revenue of around 30 billion dollars that year alone. In a Tweet by Elon Musk on February 21, he stated where the name Starlink came from; “If anyone is curious, the name was inspired by The Fault in Our Stars.

Note: Sunrise for the Los Angeles area will be roughly 06:30 PST so as Falcon climbs from the dark into the already lit higher altitudes we have an opportunity for yet another amazing aerial display as the rocket goes through plume spread and staging.

Stats: This will be SpaceX’s 4th launch of 2018, the 55th SpaceX flight overall (5 Falcon 1, 49 Falcon 9, 1 Falcon Heavy). This will be SpaceX’s 18th launch of 2017, the 46th Falcon 9 flight overall and the 5th reuse of a Falcon 9 booster. There will be no landing attempt during this mission in order to remove the block 3 Falcons from inventory.  To date there have been 23 landings overall; 12 on drone ships and 11 on land. This will also be the first use of the 2.0 version of SpaceX’s payload fairing and the first use of Mr. Steven; the payload fairing catcher ship as SpaceX will attempt to recover the fairings.

Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS): Were built at the Conrad Shipyard in Morgan City, Louisiana, the same place that NASA’s Pegasus barge was refitted to support the SLS program. Pegasus carried lots of equipment throughout the years but most famously the space shuttle external fuel tanks from NASA’s Michaud Plant in Louisiana to KSC.

SpaceX’s barges are 300 by 100 ft. with “wings” that extend that width to 170 ft. It has also been fitted with thrusters repurposed from deep sea oil rigs that are able to hold balance and position to within 3 meters even in storm conditions. ASDS’s are painted black with the SpaceX “X” logo, a yellow inner ring and outer white ring acting as a bull eye. The East Coast ASDS is “Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY)” and the West Coast’s ship is “Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).”

In total there have been three ASDS’s. The first of which was Marmac 300, a deck barge named “Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).” That ASDS was used for two east coast landing attempts (CRS 5 & 6), deconstructed and retired. East Coast duties were then transferred to Marmac 304 named “Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY).” A third ASDS, Marmac 303 was constructed and stationed on the West Coast where it fields launches from Vandenberg AFB, CA. Its name, “Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).”

These fun yet odd names come from Scottish Sci-fi legend Iain Banks’s “Culture” series of 10 novels. They are spacecraft known as General Contact Units (GCU’s) from the novel “Player of Games.” Other spacecraft in the series (which get to name themselves) are even more entertaining such as “Size Isn’t Everything,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Death and Gravity.” Here’s a fun Wiki page with more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spacecraft_in_the_Culture_series

The Rocket and Performance: SpaceX Falcon 9

Height: 70m (229.6 ft.)

Core Diameter: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Width: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Stages: 2

Boosters: 0

Total Engines: 10 (9 in the first stage and 1 in the second stage)

Total Thrust (sea level/vacuum): 7,607 kN (1,710,000 lbf) / 8,227 kN (1,849,500 lbf)

Mass: 549,054 kg (1,207,920 lb.)

Payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO): 22,800 kg (50,265 lb.)

Payload to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO): 8,300 kg (18,300 lb.)

Payload to Mars: 4,020 kg (8.860 lb.)

Cost: $62 million

Dragon Spacecraft (when in use): 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. Dragon, along with Russia’s Progress & Soyuz, Europe’s (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), Orbital ATK’s Cygnus and Japan’s (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), is one of only six vehicles that can fly to the Space Station. While Russia’s Soyuz is currently the only crewed means of reaching and returning from Station, SpaceX’s Dragon is currently the only means of returning experiments and supplies back to Earth from Station.

Main Composite Payload Fairing (when in use): the two shell, composite payload fairing is 13 m (43 ft.) in length and 5.2 m (17 ft.) in diameter. The fairings are used to protect the spacecraft during ascent through atmospheric turbulence and into space. Once the rocket has reached a safe altitude the fairings jettisoned, exposing the spacecraft(s).

SpaceX Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy Second Stage:

Height: 10 m. (33 ft.)

Diameter: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Engine(s): Single Merlin Vacuum Engine

Engine Chambers: 1

Engine Type: Gas generator

Propellant Feed: Turbopump

Chamber Pressure: 9.7 MPa or 97 bars or 1,410 psi

Fuel Type: Liquid

Fuel: Chilled Rocket propellant-1 (RP-1) or highly refined kerosene. Lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen (LH2) but is cheaper, room temperature stable, less explosive and denser. RP-1 is much more powerful than LH2 by volume and much less toxic than other room temperature fuels such as hydrazine (N2H4).

Oxidizer: Subcooled Liquid Oxygen (LOX). LOX is often coupled with rocket propellant-1 (RP-1), liquid hydrogen (LH2) and methane (CH4) as it creates a high specific impulse.

Thrust (vacuum): 934 kN (210,000 lbf.)

Single Merlin 1D Thrust to Weight Ratio: 180.1 

Specific Impulse (vacuum): 348 s

Burn Time: 397 s

Restart Ability: Yes

Reusable?: No

SpaceX Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy Interstage:

The interstage is a 4.4m (14.4 ft.) composite structure that connects the first stage to the second stage and holds the release and separation system. It’s an 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.

SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage:

Height: 47 m. (154 ft.)

Diameter: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Width: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Engine(s): 9 Merlin 1D Engines

Engine Chambers: 1

Engine Type: Gas generator/Open-cycle

Propellant Feed: Turbopump

Chamber Pressure: 9.7 MPa or 97 bars or 1,410 psi

Fuel Type: Liquid

Fuel: Chilled Rocket propellant-1 (RP-1) or highly refined kerosene. Lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen (LH2) but is cheaper, room temperature stable, less explosive and denser. RP-1 is much more powerful than LH2 by volume and much less toxic than other room temperature fuels such as hydrazine (N2H4).

Oxidizer: Subcooled Liquid Oxygen (LOX). LOX is often coupled with rocket propellant-1 (RP-1), liquid hydrogen (LH2) and methane (CH4) as it creates a high specific impulse.

Single Merlin 1D Thrust (sea level/vacuum): 845 kN (189,964 lbf.)/914 kN (205,475 lbf.

Single Merlin 1D Thrust to Weight Ratio: 180.1

Total Thrust (sea level): 7,607 kN (1,710,000 lbf) / 8,227 kN (1,849,500 lbf)

Specific Impulse (sea level/vacuum): 282 s/311 s

Burn Time: 162 s

Restart Ability: Partially (1 or 3 engines can restart for landing actions)

Reusable?: Yes

First stage boosters are fitted with four independently steerable titanium grid fins that help control pitch, yaw and roll during vertical decent as well as four landing legs that extend before touchdown.

Watch Live:

SpaceX Webcast: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

SpaceX YouTube (Hosted Webcast): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p-PToD2URA

SpaceX Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpaceX

Falcon 9 PAZ & Microsat 2A & 2B Mission Info:

45th Space Wing L-1 Weather Forecast (East Coast Launches Only): http://www.patrick.af.mil/About-Us/Weather

Wall Street Journal page on SpaceX’s “Starlink” satellite system: https://www.wsj.com/articles/exclusive-peek-at-spacex-data-shows-loss-in-2015-heavy-expectations-for-nascent-internet-service-1484316455

SpaceX Press Kit: http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/paz_press_kit_2.21.pdf

Launch Campaign (Reddit): https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7qnflk/paz_microsat2a_2b_launch_campaign_thread/

General 2018 Launch Schedule (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_in_spaceflight

Ryan Chylinski:

Website: https://voyager77.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/timelapsejunkie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sciencetripper/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ryan.chylinski

SpaceX:

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/

Elon Musk Twitter: https://twitter.com/elonmusk

Elon Musk Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elonmusk

SpaceX Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpaceX

SpaceX Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpaceX

SpaceX Instagram: https://www.instagram.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

Falcon 9 Family & Random SpaceX Information:

SpaceX Falcon 9: http://www.spacex.com/falcon9

SpaceX Falcon 9 User’s Guide: http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/falcon_9_users_guide_rev_2.0.pdf

SpaceX Falcon Heavy: http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

SpaceX Falcon 9 Spaceflight 101: http://spaceflight101.com/spacerockets/falcon-9-ft/

SpaceX Falcon 9 (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9

SpaceX Falcon Heavy (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Heavy

SpaceX launches (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_Heavy_launches

SpaceX booster landing attempts (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_booster_controlled-descent_and_landing_tests

Falcon 9 core (booster) serial numbers: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/cores

SpaceX Stats: https://spacexstats.com/

SpaceX Now: https://spacexnow.com/

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft:

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/dragon

SpaceX Crew Dragon: http://www.spacex.com/crew-dragon

Dragon serial numbers: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/capsules

Launch Complex-39A (LC-39A):

NASA Launch Complex 39 (LC-39): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/launch/launch-complex39-toc.html

Heroicrelics Launch Complex 39 (LC-39): http://heroicrelics.org/info/lc-39/lc-39-abcd.html

Wiki Launch Complex 39 (LC-39): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennedy_Space_Center_Launch_Complex_39

Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) Cape Canaveral:

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Canaveral_Air_Force_Station_Space_Launch_Complex_40

Patrick AFB: 45th Space Wing, Cape Canaveral, Florida:

Main Site: http://www.patrick.af.mil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/45thSpaceWing

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/45thSpaceWing

Vandenberg AFB, 30th Space Wing, CA:

Vandenberg AFB launch complex locations & viewing locations: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1eJ71ff_mISR9o8ndMX7nwrvQlTw&hl=en_US&ll=34.6567746365756%2C-120.51221950488281&z=12

Vandenberg AFB : http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/30thSpaceWing

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/30thSpaceWing

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/30SWVandenberg

 

Peterson AFB, U.S. Air Force Space Command, Colorado: 

Website: http://www.afspc.af.mil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AFSpace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AirForceSpaceCommand

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/airforcespacecommand

 

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