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SpaceX Falcon 9 FT 1st reuse launch - SES-10 - LC-39A

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Grendal, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Falcon 9 • SES 10
    Launch window: NET March 29th - Launch time is TBD
    Launch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
    A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES 10 communications satellite. Owned by SES of Luxembourg, the spacecraft will provide direct-to-home TV broadcasting and other telecommunication services for Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. It will also cover Brazil and support offshore oil and gas exploration. Delayed from 3rd Quarter, October and February. [March 8]

    SES-10 - Wikipedia

    This will be the very first reuse of an orbital booster. As noted in the wiki, SES-10 is an extremely heavy satellite and was originally going to be launched on a Falcon Heavy. Since that was the original plan then SES probably paid a premium price for the launch. The improvements to the Falcon 9 allowed SpaceX to switch the satellite to their smaller and less expensive rocket. The Falcon 9 FT has improved the abilities of the rocket so much that it even allows for a possible landing of the booster. SES volunteered and got a discount to be the first reuse flight. Or as SpaceX likes to call it, a "flight proven" booster will be used for this launch.

    The booster to be used will be the one originally used for CRS-8, which was the second booster to land and the very first to successfully land on an ASDS.

    Lastly, it has been confirmed that SpaceX will attempt to recover the booster. This will be a difficult landing attempt because the satellite is heavy and is slated for GTO. If successful, this will then be the very first booster to be recovered twice and the first time that SpaceX will get to examine a booster flown twice.

    Good luck, SpaceX.
     
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  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for starting this thread. So the "improvements" you refer to, do you mean that this F9 will be a Block 5 rocket? (Not to those who don't understand that reference: it means the most recent and most powerful version of the F9. In aerospace, a "block" is a version.)
     
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  3. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    I don't get this: The one that was launched today - EchoStar - was also to GTO and no landing attempt was made because they had to expend all the fuel to get it to GTO. And this one - SES - is a very heavy satellite also to GTO, and how can they land the booster back?
     
  4. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    This can't be a Block 5 rocket as it the one that was flown last year, and the Block 5 improvements came on subsequent rockets made this year... unless those improvements can be made retroactively and is backward compatible.. in software parlance..
     
  5. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    The rocket that launched EchoStar was (apparently) the last of the expendable boosters, (or possibly a reusable booster but flown in an expendable configuration - no landing legs etc) This option pre-dates the Falcon 9 Full Thrust which began launch operations in Dec 2015.

    So all of the first stages which Spacex has recovered are the Full Thrust versions - able to get to GTO and land again (hopefully)
     
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  6. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    #6 Grendal, Mar 16, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
    Sorry, I was unclear. I was commenting from a historical perspective. It seems that the SES-10 launch was commissioned back in the early days of SpaceX, back when there was only the F9 v1.0 and the early idea for a Falcon Heavy. The Falcon Heavy was based on a three core F9 v1.0. Back then, there was no possibility for F9 v1.0 to be able to loft a heavy satellite like SES-10 to GTO. So, I believe, that SES actually bought a launch on Falcon Heavy. Years passed and SpaceX made significant improvements to F9. You had v2.0 and now F9 Full Thrust. So SpaceX reached the point where a F9 could launch SES-10 and even have the possibility of a recovery.

    One more significant improvement, block 5, is upcoming, but not here yet. It is expected to arrive later this year. SES-10 will be a F9 FT as the title of the thread says.

    The knowledgeable people on SpaceX FB are saying that, while the weights are very similar and both are GTO, the launch profile is very different. The EchoStar needed a higher energy launch profile which left too little fuel for a landing attempt. SES-10 will be difficult but there is just enough fuel to try for a landing attempt.
     
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  7. e-FTW

    e-FTW New electron smell

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    I could not wait for this thread to show up. Many challenges/milestones/historic firsts! Am very excited, and will definitely be watching from wherever I am.
    GO SPACEX!
     
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  8. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Do we know yet if this is a drone ship capture or land?
     
  9. BigD0g

    BigD0g Member

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    It's can't be a block 5 rocket, block 5 isn't set to launch until late this year after falcon heavy demo flights.
     
  10. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    If it's a heavy satellite and the flight path is low-earth-orbit-but-setting-up-for-GTO it will have to be a droneship landing for the first stage.

    Not enough fuel to return to LZ1
     
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  11. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    Yup, it'll be a Full Thrust - since these are the versions Spacex has sitting in the re-usable, sorry, flight-proven hanger :)
     
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  12. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    In general we can assume that all GTO flights will land in a drone ship, and all LEO flights will be RTLS, with some possible exceptions depending on the weight of the payload ?
     
  13. BigD0g

    BigD0g Member

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    Mostly yes, but Falcon heavy and Falcon Block 5 will change all of that overnight.
     
  14. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, you are of course correct! I should have thought of that.
     
  15. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    The Block 5 improvement will not be as significant as the change from v1.1 to v1.2. The thrust improvement is only about 10%.

    Here is a list of the improvements by thrust:
    v1.0 - Merlin 1C - 1.1 million lbs.
    v1.1 - Merlin 1D - 1.32 million lbs.
    v1.2 - Merlin 1D - 1.7 million lbs.
    v1.3 - Merlin 1D - 1.9 million lbs. (estimated block 5)

    So overall a 57.5% improvement from Version 1.0 to the estimated final version 1.3.

    From this it makes a lot of sense why a heavy payload like SES-10 can now be carried on a Falcon 9 instead of a Falcon Heavy derived from v1.0 boosters.
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. thimel

    thimel Member

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    Any idea how much of this extra thrust comes from being more efficient and how much comes from burning fuel faster?
     
  17. e-FTW

    e-FTW New electron smell

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    I think you meant to have some awesome image right there, but we can't see it. I'm imagining a Merlin at full beans myself...
     
  18. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    #18 Grendal, Mar 16, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
    Good question, and one I cannot answer. I expect a little of both.

    Overall, The Merlin 1D is an amazing engine working at a level which is about as good as it can be. The engine has the distinction of being the highest thrust to weight ratio of any orbital rocket engine. That said, it is not a very efficient engine. The Raptor should correct efficiency. SpaceX should then have a very powerful and efficient engine for their ITS.

    ??? Hmm. My computer isn't showing what you are commenting on. I did try to insert an image from a website that the forum's program didn't put in. Maybe that was it..... It was a chart showing the Falcon 9 progression from V1.0 to v1.2 FT.

    Falcon 9 - Wikipedia

    Falcon 9 v1.1 - Wikipedia
    The picture that compares the various versions is here.
     
  19. e-FTW

    e-FTW New electron smell

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  20. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't going from 1.1 million lbs to 1.9 million lbs be an increase of about 73%?

    Either way, it's an astonishing improvement over a relatively short period of time.
     
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