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SpaceX Falcon 9 FT - Formosat 5 - SLC-4E

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Grendal, Aug 14, 2017.

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  1. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    #1 Grendal, Aug 14, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2017
    Launch Date: August 24
    Launch time: 1850 GMT (2:50 p.m. EDT; 11:50 a.m. PDT)
    Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
    A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Formosat 5 Earth observation satellite for Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO). The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage will return to landing on a platform downrange in the Pacific Ocean. Delayed from July. [July 17]
    Details on the satellite:
    FORMOSAT-5 - Wikipedia
    FORMOSAT 5

    This is a lightweight satellite at a little over 1000 pounds. So there will be plenty of extra fuel. We will find out if there will be a west coast RTLS for this mission. The pad is there at Vandenberg. It all comes down to permits at this point. If it doesn't RTLS it should be an easy ASDS landing on JRTI.
     
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  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I would go see this launch but my wife and I will be on the road coming back from a 6 day trip to Oregon to see the eclipse.

    When you say "the pad is there" do you mean the stage LZ at Vandy is built and ready but not officially permitted to operate yet?
     
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  3. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Yes. The Vandy pad is there and ready. It sits right next to the launch pad. You can see it in this picture, to the right and behind the F9.
    31450835954_178ca1272b_z.jpg

    Oops. I just caught that the launch details says that it will be an ASDS landing. So whatever permits are needed are going very very slowly.

    Lastly, it is my understanding that this satellite was originally supposed to be launched on a Falcon 1. SpaceX dropped the F1 and this launch sat in limbo for years. SpaceX had Sherpa included but the long delays caused Sherpa to launch most of its small sats on other launches. So now Formosat gets its own F9 since it has a unique orbital profile that prohibits other payloads from joining the launch.
     
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  4. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    Given that this one is an extremely small 1000 pound rocket, do they even need a 2nd stage ?? :)

    I am guessing a big catapult tied to two big trees near cape, and swing it.. it should be in space :)
     
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  5. evp

    evp Nerd

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    The initial acceleration might be a little severe. Also, screaming out of the atmosphere at Mach 25 will put on quite a show.
     
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  6. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    The light colored area right behind the rocket? Hmm...that seems much to close to the launch pad to be an LZ, doesn't it?

    Sorry, I'm not convinced. o_O
     
  7. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    A bunch of the more informed people on SpX FB says that is what and where it is. The angle of the picture makes it look a lot closer than it really is.
     
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  8. Nikxice

    Nikxice Member

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    The SpaceX Vandenberg launches take place on the eastern launch pad of Complex 4. The western pad was a previous launch site that SpaceX has now refurbished for future use as a booster RTLS. From the perspective of Grendal's photo it appears likely that the RTLS area is in the background. I took a google map shot of what I believe are the locations of the two pads. At the time of this photo the RTLS appears to still be under construction. I measured the distance between the sites at just over a quarter mile.

    Vandenberg.PNG
     
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  9. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Unfortunate timing. If I weren't going to be on a plane at that time, I'd drive down to watch this one.
     
  10. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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  11. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Wow thanks for the analysis. I'm amazed at how close that LZ is to all those structures. @Grendal, okay, I'm convinced. :rolleyes:
     
  12. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    Official distance between the center of the launch pad and the center of the landing pad is 1,412 feet and the ASDS parking distance is 214 miles downrange, per the NSF article linked above.
     
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  13. kengchang

    kengchang Member

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    Going to view this launch, excited!
     
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  14. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Here we go:


    Weather is 90% go for tomorrow.

    I don't think I've mentioned it yet but this should be the last Block 3 F9 FT. The last launch was a Block 4 and all future launches should be Block 4 until Block 5 arrives at the end of the year. Details about the differences between Block 3 an 4 are not well known. I expect that the engine improvement has happened. Block 5 will be very obvious because the landing legs will change to the type that doesn't need to be removed.
     
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  15. SMAlset

    SMAlset Member

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    #15 SMAlset, Aug 23, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    In the area and hopefully will see it launch. Are you going to Hawk's Nest, Ocean Avenue or another viewing area? Year's ago we went on a tour at VAFB and were also down there for a great airshow. Been awhile since both so if this is a go it will be the first launch we've seen. Excited too, especially given it's a SpaceX launch. News said it should be clear by launch time.
     
  16. kengchang

    kengchang Member

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    Yes, I will be at Hawk's nest. It's especially significant to me that the Formosat 5 satellite was built 100% by Taiwan where I came from.
     
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  17. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I see that the launch window opens at 11:51AM PDT. That is now only 12 minutes away. From where I'm sitting the webcast hasn't started yet. Seems odd.
     
  18. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Okay webcast has started now.

    Laura Lyons is looking very glamorous today!
     
  19. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Complete success. Again.
     
  20. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    #20 mkjayakumar, Aug 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    BULLS EYE

    Untitled.png
     
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