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SpaceX Falcon 9 FT - NROL 76 (classified) - LC-39A

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Grendal, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    NROL-76 is a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) launching for the first time via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

    Launch Date: NET April 16th
    Launch period: TBD
    Launch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

    Very little detail is known since this is a classified mission. Here is an article on what little is known:

    NRO discloses previously unannounced SpaceX launch contract - SpaceNews.com

    I believe this is the launch that ULA chose not to bid on and got them in trouble. Very recently ULA did finally bid on and go head to head with SpaceX for a classified launch and lost.

    It will be interesting to see whether SpaceX does any broadcast for this launch. ULA has done their basic broadcast on classified launches recently. We'll see whether SpaceX does something. Will there be a booster recovery attempt? That is very likely but not confirmed. The current speculation is that this is a LEO launch and a landing attempt at LZ-1.
     
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  2. hockeythug

    hockeythug Active Member

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    #2 hockeythug, Mar 27, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
    ULA stream stops after fairing jettison(On NROL-37). I assume they will prolly cut it off after first stage cutoff and separation.
     
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  3. Mike1080i

    Mike1080i Member

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    If they are attempting to land the first stage, I might guess they would switch to cover that without any updates on second stage flight.
     
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  4. grichard

    grichard Member De-Luxe

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    For those of us who don't follow this quite as closely: What sort of potentially-sensitive data could be revealed by following the launch beyond the first stage?
     
  5. hockeythug

    hockeythug Active Member

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    I suppose second stage burn maneuverers could narrow down where the payload is going to be placed initially. The payload is classified and could be one satellite or a handful of smaller ones. These are classified spy satellites we are talking about here.

    ULA launches the larger ones with antennas that are allegedly upwards of 300ft.

    Orion (satellite) - Wikipedia

    This is a older version that is only 250ft.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Mike1080i

    Mike1080i Member

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    I'm pretty sure nothing like that is on this flight! It's probably something a tad less interesting like a relay satellite (Quasar maybe?). But, you're right the second stage flight profile can offer up clues to the orbit of the payload, which might be used as a starting point for when it could appear over tracking stations. The orbit can also be a clue as to the payload's mission.
     
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  7. hockeythug

    hockeythug Active Member

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    Yeah, definitely nothing like that. Just was showing what NROL is capable of. I relate that one to the solar energy weapon Icarus from the James Bond film Die Another Day. Ha.
     
  8. macpacheco

    macpacheco Member

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    NROL-76 launch is NET April, 16. Next SpaceX planned launch.
     
  9. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    The NROL launch has been push out to NET April 30th with the Static Fire on the 26th. Sources say that the push was due to the NRO and not SpaceX.
     
  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    That delay is not helpful to SpaceX's desire to increase the cadence of F9 launches. Gwynne must be gritting her teeth...
     
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  11. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    So now we have a time frame if the launch happens on the 30th.

    It is 1100-1300 GMT (7:00-9:00 a.m. EDT).

    So a hopefully lovely daylight booster landing at LZ-1. Optimum opportunity for a fairing recovery since this is an easy lightweight LEO launch. I would not expect any videos of the fairing recovery attempt except from a nearby ship as they come in. Since it isn't needed for the booster SpaceX might use the ASDS for the fairing recovery attempt. I haven't heard from anyone whether that will happen but the ASDS is available.
     
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  12. Mike1080i

    Mike1080i Member

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  13. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Mike, thanks for that news, good to hear!

    You post is a link but it doesn't link to a URL, just the text of the post. So the link doesn't work.
     
  14. Mike1080i

    Mike1080i Member

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  15. e-FTW

    e-FTW New electron smell

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  16. Matias

    Matias Active Member

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    #17 Matias, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
  17. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Here we go. It looks like SpaceX is skipping the Hosted and Technical choices this time for just one choice that I expect to be slightly hosted.



    Hopefully the weather is good for a beautiful daylight landing at LZ-1.
     
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  18. hockeythug

    hockeythug Active Member

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    Darn. Hold. 24 hour recycle.
     
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  19. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    #20 Grendal, Apr 30, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
    Hold. 24 hour recycle. Same crazy early hour. A 1st stage sensor issue.

    Weather is the same. So we'll hopefully still have a beautiful daylight landing shot. They have a camera mounted 300 feet from the landing zone.
     

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