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SpaceX Falcon 9 FT launch - Iridium Next 1-10 - SLC-4E

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Grendal, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Since we have a firm date, here is an upcoming Vandenberg launch:

    Launch time: 0449 GMT on 20th (12:49 a.m. EDT; 9:49 p.m. PDT on 19th)
    Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

    A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. Delayed from 1st Quarter. Moved up from August. Delayed from July and Sept. 12. [July 29]

    Another very late/very early launch. This is expected to be an ASDS landing on Just Read The Instructions out of the Port of Los Angeles.

    Details of the satellites:
    Iridium satellite constellation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  2. NikeWings

    NikeWings Member

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    Do you have any idea how close you can get to Vandenberg during a launch?
    Anything worth seeing as a civilian with no base access? Thank you.
     
  3. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    We have been having one too many night launches. Is there a reason for that ?
     
  4. Chuq

    Chuq Member

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    Obviously because space is dark, the launches have to be at night or else they'd never get to space.
     
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  5. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    And it does make for a really cool light show!
     
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  6. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I recall reading that at the last SpaceX launch from Vandenburg it was foggy and the launch was not visible. And you are quite a ways away, unfortunately. Sorry I can't remember which launch it was, but I bet @Grendal can tell you.
     
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  7. Nikxice

    Nikxice Member

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    Not only are night launches cool to watch, it's great to see SpaceX contributing to the residual light show that is continually showcased in the night sky. Briefly mentioned in Grendal's Wiki link, Iridium flares are spectacular and pretty easy to locate. For years I've used Chris Peat's website 'Heavens Above' to cherry-pick the best ones to watch. Just logged in and saw that Iridium 50 will be overhead my location Saturday night at 21:09:55 EDT. The flares are always brightest just after sunset or before sunrise. Noticed this one will be at a magnitude of -8.2, just about as bright as they get. For anyone who would like to check it out,
    Heavens-Above I don't think you have to create a login anymore, but you'll at least need to fill in a field asking for your location.
     
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  8. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    The launches are spectacular at night, except the landings - which I think is more exciting - end up with poor videos.
     
  9. palmer_md

    palmer_md Member

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    #9 palmer_md, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
    The best spot is at Renwick and Ocean. You cant see the pad from there, but it is as close as you can get. You'll see the rocket just after it clears the tower. It is just to the south-west of this location. Pretty much perpendicular to Ocean Ave. You can see the pad on the earth view of the map below.

    Google Maps
     
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  10. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Ecarfan is correct. The last Vandenberg launch of Jason 3 was very foggy. The previous Vandenberg launch was the very first F9 v1.1 flight with the Cassiope satellite and it had a crystal clear launch.

    Vandenberg has a website with details for watching a launch:
    Viewing Vandenberg Rocket and Missile Launches

    A fun reminder of the early days for SpaceX is the Cassiope launch:
     
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  11. NikeWings

    NikeWings Member

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    Thank you @Grendal @ecarfan @palmer_md for you information and insight.
    I haven't missed a stream but attending a [foggy] launch would be cool just to pull the physical experience into it.....and the SC down the road makes VAFB perfect. Well, actually, watching a launch from Hawthorne Mission Control would be closer and more perfect. :)
     
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  12. Mike1080i

    Mike1080i Member

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    #12 Mike1080i, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
    Yep, Orbital mechanics. Basically if you are aiming for a specific orbit you have to wait until the launch pad rotates under that orbital plane (or reasonably close to it if you have enough launch vehicle performance). There is a lot behind calculating the proper launch time to reach a given point in space. Lately those times have happened to be at night for SpaceX flights.

    Here's a youtube clip that covers the basics.
     
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  13. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Yes, it was overcast at about 200' according to the Lompoc weather. A friend and I flew up and watched the launch from the air about 10 miles away... I don't think I ever posted this picture, hardly worth it. This is a few seconds after it broke the cloud cover at about 2000'.
    DSC_0006.jpg
     
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  14. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    This has the possibility of being the RTF launch. It will very likely be sometime in December even if it is the second launch.
     
  15. NikeWings

    NikeWings Member

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  16. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    As far as I know, Yes. I'd say that SpaceX would take a December slot if it is available. The problem comes that there might not be one available and until SpaceX has officially got up and running the company has to remain fluid on scheduling. Vandenberg, on the other hand, will want a rock solid decision to launch that SpaceX cannot give yet. I've heard that 39A in Florida has a "placeholder" launch time frame. Maybe Vandenberg can do something similar.
     
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  17. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    With rockets on the move, SpaceX still aiming for 2016 return to flight

    A booster is headed to Vandenberg for a possible RTF launch in December.

    The booster was already in Vandenberg when the anomaly happened in September. After the anomaly it was shipped back to McGregor, Texas and now with whatever modifications were needed it is headed back to Vandenberg for possible launch.
     
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  18. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Good news! Thanks for posting. I've been anxiously awaiting signs of the return to flight mission.

    Just re-watched Episode 1 of the Nat Geo "Mars" series. Heartbreaking watching the reactions of SpaceX employees to the CRS-7 mission failure. Those people need some good news.

    Will watch Episode 2 tomorrow.
     
  19. oneday

    oneday Member

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    I just heard from a source inside Vandenberg that this launch is scheduled for Dec. 16.

    I was unable to find anything online to corroborate this, so take it with a grain of salt. However, it's been so quiet on here, figured even a unsubstantiated rumor would be worth hearing.
     
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  20. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    It looks like you were correct:

    SpaceX eyes December 16th for first Falcon 9 launch since September explosion

    The launch will need approval from the various agencies that sign off on a RTF. The date is not on any of the official launch schedules. Those are probably waiting on the sign off from the official agencies.

    3 1/2 months for a RTF is unprecedented in American launch programs. The last RTF was unprecedented too at 6 months. So one more area that SpaceX is a disruptor.
     
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