SpaceX launches first polar orbit mission from Florida in decades – Spaceflight now

A Falcon 9 rocket landed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday. Credit: SpaceX

Crashing from Cape Canaveral on an unusually southerly route, the Falcon 9 rocket struck stormy weather and successfully launched an Argentine radar observation satellite over Earth’s poles on Sunday at the 100th launch of SpaceX.

Scattered hurricanes in Central Florida threatened to stop launching on Sunday, but weather conditions were acceptable, as the countdown took place in the final minutes before the 229-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 7-18:56 p.m. Afternoon EDT (2318: 56 GMT).

SpaceX aimed to launch two Falcon 9 rockets from Cape Canaveral Sunday – a feat not matched since 1966 – but preparations for another flight were delayed due to bad weather. That rocket is loaded with 60 Starlink broadband satellites, and is now scheduled to take off from Pad 39 at the Kennedy Space Center at 9:29 a.m. EDT (1329 GMT) on Tuesday.

Nine Merlin engines flew in a matter of seconds before launching, and Clamps allowed a 1.2 million-pound rocket and Argentina’s SOCOM 1B radar remote sensing satellite to be allowed off the pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Falcon 9, instead of heading east-east or east, passed through the cloudy sky and headed south-southeast from Florida’s Space Coast, then made a right turn toward Fort Lauderdale and Miami on the east coast of Fort Florida. In polar orbit.

Sunday was started from Cape Canaveral after 1969. Since then, most U.S. The polar orbit of departed from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, which has an open range over the Pacific Ocean, which is not needed. Rocket to avoid flying over the ground, to make an in-flight turn, or “dogleg” maneuver.

The nine Merlin engines on the first stage of the Falcon 9 shut down about a minute and a half after launch, then the booster – reused from the previous three missions – detached and flipped to return to Cape Canaveral.

After firing the engines to slow down, the booster lengthened the landing leg and returned to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the mission in about eight minutes, a powerful sonic boom slipping down into the humid thick atmosphere.

SpaceX landed the Falcon 9 booster at Cape Canaveral since 2015 and it was the 18th successful Falcon 9 first-stage 59th recovery recovery, including landing on SpaceX’s ocean-going drones.

During the landing of the booster, a single Merlin engine on the stage above the Falcon 9 injected a 6,724-pound (3,050 kg) SAOCOM 1B satellite into orbit about 380 miles (610 kilometers) from Earth.

The Argentine-built satellite, equipped with a state-of-the-art radar imaging instrument, detached from the upper phase of the Falcon 9, about 14 minutes into the mission. Two small rideshare payloads – named GNOMES 1 and Tyvak 0172 – deployed from Falcon 9 after about 45 minutes.

The GNOMES 1 microsatellite is a planned fleet of about 20 small spacecraft, developed by Colorado-based company Planetic, that collected radio intelligence to measure atmospheric effects on signals transmitted by GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Bidou exploration satellites. . Can obtain information about useful atmospheric conditions in weather forecasting.

The Tyvak 0172 is a small spacecraft built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems. Details about its mission have not been released by SpaceX or Tywak.

SpaceX launches first polar orbit mission from Cape Canaveral since 1969

The Rydshare payload split wrapped up the first launch in polar orbit off the Florida space coast in more than 50 years. Prior to Sunday, the last polar orbit from Cape Canaveral began on February 26, 1969, when the Delta Rocket launched the ESSA 9 weather satellite.

After skirting in South Florida, the Falcon 9 rocket flew over Cuba and Central America, then rose over the Pacific Ocean west of South America. A few minutes after unveiling, the issue of immediate impact was ensured as a turn in the rocket’s belt – where debris could fall – did not cross Florida after leaving Cape Canaveral.

U.S. According to officials from the Space Force’s 45th Space Wing and the Federal Aviation Administration, Cape Canaveral has been charged with ensuring public safety during a rocket launch.

This estimate of the SAOCOM 1B flight path is an estimate derived from the parameters of the known target orbit of the downrange hazard areas and. Credits: Spacelight now

Range security officials studied whether the U.S. primary polar launch in California – a southeast launch from Florida in 2016 – would be revived after a wildfire at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

It outsourced the ability of SpaceX to return to first-stage booster controlled landings – instead of leading it back to Earth downgrade – and made possible the polar launch from Cape Canaveral using Falcon 9’s autonomous flight safety system.

“SpaceX will be able to do that after we’ve analyzed the matter,” said Wayne Montaith, associate administrator of the FAA’s Office Fees for Commercial Space Transport. “No. 1, booster flyback, and number 2, more importantly, autonomous flight safety because going south, the way the architecture of the command district systems is permanently configured, you will only look at the plume, and you will get the signal. Attention, and you may not be able to send આદેશ destructive commands.

“So with autonomous flight safety and booster flybacks, we were able to provide them with what we found to be a hypothetical safe corridor from a safety perspective,” said Monteith, a former commander of the 45th Space Wing.

The State Department is accused of instructing other countries to launch rocket flights over their territories. According to Brig, those instructions were made for the SAOCOM 1B mission. The current commander of the 45th Space Wing is General Doug Skies.

Launched from Cape Canaveral aimed at polar orbit in 1960, the satellite suffered a flight failure and spread debris over Cuba, reportedly killing a cow and destroying a U.S. military base in Havana. A protest was displayed at the office.

Gwynn Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of the company, told reporters last year that SpaceX has been selected to use the Southeast Polar Launch on the SAOCOM 1B mission to allow the company to reduce staff levels at Vandenberg during the few launches there.

The company is planning a second launch from Wendenburg in November, with a joint project between NASA, NOAA, the European Space Agency and other European organizations, along with the Sentinel 6 Michael Freelich ocean satellite satellite from Wendenberg in November.

Another Falcon 9 in polar sun-synchronous orbit is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral in December on a rideshare mission with a number of smaller satellites.

Scott Higginsbotham, a mission manager for NASA’s Launch Services program, confirmed the mission – called SpaceX Transporter-1 – as it prepares to launch from Cape Canaveral. NASA has booked a small payload to fly the Falcon 9 Rideshare launch.

SAOCOM 1B joins twins in orbit

Developed by the Argentine space agency, Conai and the Argentine aerospace contractor INVAP, the SOCOM 1B satellite joins a twin radar imaging spacecraft that launched in October 2018 on the previous Falcon 9 flight.

The SAOCOM 1B spacecraft will scan the Earth with an L-band steerable synthetic hole radar, which will enable all day and night weather impressions of the planet. Radar imagers can see through clouds and are effective 24 hours a day, but optical cameras are blocked by clouds and darkness.

Among other purposes, SAOCOM satellites are designed to measure soil moisture and collect data for users in the agricultural and forestry sectors of Argentina.

The SAOCOM 1B satellite weighs about 6,724 pounds (3,050 kilograms) and is similar to the SAOCOM 1A, according to Raul Kulishevsky, executive and technical director of Konai.

Kulishevsky said the Falcon 9 would put SAOCOM 1B into orbit at 385-miles (altitude (620-kilometers)), where it would double the observation capability of SAOCOM 1A. SkyMed works closely with satellites.

“One of the main goals of SOCOM satellites is to provide information for the agricultural sector because one of the things we develop is soil moisture maps, not just surface, but we can measure this parameter by taking advantage of L-band capabilities. Soil moisture is 1 meter of soil surface, ”said Kulishevsky. “This is very important information.”

The entire SOCOM project, valued at about 600 600 million, includes two satellites, two launches, a new ground tracking station and industrial upgrades, Kulishevsky said in an interview with Spaceflight Now.

Cape Canaveral was sent from Argentina earlier this year before team members posed with the SAOCOM 1B radar imaging satellite. Credit: CONAE

SAOCOM 1B was previously scheduled to launch in March, but Argentine officials abandoned the mission due to concerns over a coronavirus epidemic. Engineers put SAOCOM 1B in storage at Cape Canaveral until early July, when the engineers returned to Florida from Argentina to finish reading the spacecraft for the liftoff.

The launch of SAOCOM 1B was again delayed from the end of July because the series was not available for this launch, according to SAOCOM 1B team members. Sources said the delay was due to concerns over the safety of the range and excessive concerns with a classified payload mounted on top of the United Launch Alliance’s Delta 4-heavy rocket on the neighboring launch pad.

The Falcon 9 rocket landed on the track near the Delta 4 pad rather than the usual eastward launch in the south direction required for the Sacom 1B mission.

Overflight range safety concerns associated with Delta 4’s NRO payload suddenly appeared to evaporate without explanation on Saturday, when range safety officials agreed to allow the SAOCOM 1B launch to proceed.

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