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SpaceX F9 - 12th Reuse - Iridium Next 51-55/GRACE-FO - SLC-4E

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
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Jan 31, 2012
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Launch Date: May 22, Tuesday
Launch Window: 1947 GMT (3:47 p.m. EDT; 12:47 p.m. PDT)
Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Booster Recovery: None - Possible water landing with focus on fairing recovery.
Booster Type: B1043 - Block 4 - Reused from Zuma on 1/8/18
Orbit: LEO 4800 kg (Iridium)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 5 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet and two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE Follow-On) satellites for NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

Iridium NEXT | Iridium Satellite Communications
 
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Patrick W

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Mar 17, 2015
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SLC, UT
Launch Date: May 19, Saturday
Launch Window: 2003 GMT (4:03 p.m. EDT; 1:03 p.m. PDT)
Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Booster Recovery: Expended - Possible water landing with focus on fairing recovery.
Booster Type: B1043 - Block 4 - Reused from Zuma on 1/8/18
Orbit: LEO 4800 kg (Iridium)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 5 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet and two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE Follow-On) satellites for NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

Iridium NEXT | Iridium Satellite Communications

Not sure what you mean by "Booster Recovery: Expended" Does that mean the booster will not be recovered?

And where you say "Possible water landing" don't all the boosters that are not recovered land in the water?

???

Thanks.
 
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Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,652
9,181
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Not sure what you mean by "Booster Recovery: Expended" Does that mean the booster will not be recovered?

And where you say "Possible water landing" don't all the boosters that are not recovered land in the water?

???

Thanks.

The booster will not be recovered. It is the second launch of a Block 4. However, SpaceX will probably use the booster for experimental maneuvers that will be used for future recoveries. SpaceX has called these experimental water landings in the past. That is how they actually had the B1032 NROL 76/GovSat-1 booster survive landing in the water.

Sorry for the confusion. I should have realized that not everyone would get the reference.
 
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Patrick W

Active Member
Mar 17, 2015
1,504
924
SLC, UT
The booster will not be recovered. It is the second launch of a Block 4. However, SpaceX will probably use the booster for experimental maneuvers that will be used for future recoveries. SpaceX has called these experimental water landings in the past. That is how they actually had the B1032 NROL 76/GovSat-1 booster survive landing in the water.

Sorry for the confusion. I should have realized that not everyone would get the reference.

Thanks for the explanation. I did not know SpaceX had ever done a "soft" landing on the ocean. Or that any to land in the ocean actually survived. Too bad no video of that touchdown. Just sorry to hear it was later sunk. For anyone that might be interested I found this: Chris G - NSF on Twitter
 
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Thanks for the explanation. I did not know SpaceX had ever done a "soft" landing on the ocean. Or that any to land in the ocean actually survived. Too bad no video of that touchdown. Just sorry to hear it was later sunk. For anyone that might be interested I found this: Chris G - NSF on Twitter
The early tests were soft ocean landings. A quick search came up with this, maybe there are some better videos out there.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,652
9,181
Santa Fe, New Mexico
I love Iridium launches. The sight of 10 satellites all getting released one after another in about 15 seconds apart each, and that you can see them as pearls floating in the sky is a visual treat. If they get released during the day time sky with the sun low on the horizon, it would be spectacular.

Keep in mind that this will be a bit different. Only 5 Iridium satellites are deploying this time with 2 NASA satellites as well. We still have two more Iridium launches still to come. Matt Desch has recently tweeted that those two will be using new Block 5 rockets for those. So no more reuse for Iridium.

There are six "spare" satellites sitting on the ground as a backup for future failures that go beyond the spare satellites they will have in orbit. So if enough things go wrong in space then SpaceX will get one more launch from Iridium in the future. After that, I'll bet the next constellation goes up on a BFR in about 10 to 15 years.
 

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