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Thread: Falcon 9: Iridium NEXT #6/ GRACE-FO (fairing recovery pictures)

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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default Falcon 9: Iridium NEXT #6/ GRACE-FO (fairing recovery pictures)

    Date: May 19, 2018
    Time: 1104 ET, 1304 PT (2104 UT)
    Pad: Vandenberg SLC-4E
    Core: B1043.2 (ZUMA)
    Landing: no (2nd use Block 4)
    Entry experiments: likely

    Iridium NEXT #6
    Number: 5 satellites
    Mass (each): 860kg
    Dispenser: 500kg
    Orbit: 625km
    Inclination: 86.66°
    Mission: communications constellation

    GRACE-FO (NASA/German DLR)
    Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On
    Number: 2 satellutes
    Mass (each): 580kg
    Orbit: 490km
    Inclination: 89°
    Mission: "GRACE-FO, scheduled for launch in 2018, will continue the work of tracking Earth's water movement to monitor changes in underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, soil moisture, ice sheets and glaciers, and sea level caused by the addition of water to the ocean."
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    New launch date: May 21

    Times: 1253 PT, 1523 ET, 1923 UT
    Dr. Mordrid
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    So, 1547;58 Eastern

    And, the next 2 Iridium launches will be on F9 Block 5

    Iridium Corporate ✔ @IridiumComm
    Update to the Launch Update: Due to range availability at VAFB, #Iridium6/#GRACEFO is now targeting 1 day later; NET 5/22 with backup of 5/23. Instantaneous launch on 5/22 = 12:47:58 pm PDT (19:47:58 UTC) #IridiumNEXT #HereWeGo
    6:24 PM - May 15, 2018
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    @IridiumBoss
    We were ready for 5/21, but the base isn't. Let's hope for good weather and a great launch on 5/22 instead. This is a great picture, btw... #WeAreReady

    https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/stat...62455454199818

    NOTES

    The Block 5 Falcon 9 upper stage (all upper stages are Block 5 now) will release the GRACE-FO satellites to their 89° plane first, then after they're clearly perform a plane change burn to 86.66° and release the Iridium NEXT satellites.

    After deploying the satellites the upper stage will perform a disposal burn and re-enter - possibly doing recovery tests as part of the new upper stage re-use development program. Telemetry from these tests can't penetrate the re-entry plasma plume, so a new antenna will broadcast it up to existing Iridium NEXT satellites for relay back to SpaceX. Yeah, SpaceX and Iridium are collaborating bigtime.

    5 Iridium NEXT satellites below, 2 GRACE-FO satellites on top.

    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 16th May 2018 at 07:00.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    @nextspaceflight
    #SpaceX recovery vessel Mr. Steven has left the Port of LA and is heading down range to support a fairing recovery attempt during the Falcon 9 Iridium-6/GRACE-FO mission.

    https://twitter.com/nextspaceflight/...10836879196160

    Mr. Steven's net is to catch payload fairing halves coming down on a GPS-guided parafoil for reuse. $5 million a set. Later it may be used to catch incoming Falcon 9 upper stages for reuse. Mr. Steven is a VERY fast pump-jet.

    Yes, SpaceX is assembling its own navy.



    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 20th May 2018 at 23:37.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Dr. Mordrid
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    Mr. Steven came sooooo....close!!

    Eric Ralph @13ericralph31
    Mr Steven returned to port around 7pm PST May 23 with both Iridium-6/GRACE-FO fairing halves aboard, by all appearances intact! Seawater immersion means no reuse, but they may find use as drop test articles to refine accuracy @NASAJPL @IridiumBoss @nextspaceflight @Teslarati pic.twitter.com/NFF16Jqw3d
    |
    Given the fact that they seem to have figured out how to recovery fairings intact from the ocean surface, it's truly just a matter of time before @SpaceX engineers & techs refine the accuracy enough for Mr Steven to catch them out of the air. Live coverage included, perhaps...
    |
    Lastly, these incredible photos were taken by @chuckbennett (Instagram username is the same) a skilled photog & editor (you may recognize him from past work w/ The Daily Breeze). Meanwhile, @w00ki33 is heading down to capture the fairings from the docks, so very neo-noir





    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 24th May 2018 at 04:15.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    I carry a gun because I can't throw a rock 1,250 fps

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    Gradually getting the GPS parafoils down closer to Mr. Steven for a dry catch. Once they dry catch the fairings, upper stages (and perhaps Dragon) are next.

    SpaceX ✔ @SpaceX
    Falcon 9 fairing halves deployed their parafoils and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean last week after the launch of Iridium-6/GRACE-FO. Closest half was ~50m from SpaceX’s recovery ship, Mr. Steven. http://instagram.com/p/BjdAcCuFegz
    3:21 PM - May 31, 2018





    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 31st May 2018 at 14:49.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

    I carry a gun because I can't throw a rock 1,250 fps

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