A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off 88 small satellites from Florida on Wednesday, flew over Cuba and climbed into polar orbit, while the first stage, making its eighth flight, flew back for a picture-perfect Sea Canaveral landing. Filled.
Launched by twin sonic booms, the well-traveled first stage, charred and soot from re-entry heating, touched down about eight and a half minutes after liftoff, marking SpaceX’s 89th successful booster recovery and its 20th at CE Canaveral. reached the place. Space Force Station.
This was SpaceX’s first Florida landing since last December because orbital requirements and payload weight did not release enough left-over propellant to make it back to the launch site. Instead, those rockets proceeded to land on the off-shore droneship, but one of them was successful.
Wednesday’s launch was only the third polar orbit flight by SpaceX since 1969.It is generally staged from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to avoid flying over heavily populated areas. But SpaceX proved to be targeting polar orbits off Florida based on the planned trajectory and the rocket’s automatic self-destruct system.
And so, instead of flying to the east or northeast after its 3:31 a.m. EDT liftoff, the Falcon 9 ran on a southeasterly trajectory and then “doggled” once off the coast of Florida to divert the flight path. “Practised. straight south.
The first stage collapsed two and a half minutes after launch, flipped around and fired three of its nine engines to reverse course and return to Sea Canaveral. The second stage, powered by a single engine, executed two firings to reach the planned 326-mile-high orbit within just one hour of liftoff.
Over the next half hour, all 88 satellites attached to a deployment mechanism atop the second stage were released in a carefully scripted sequence.
SpaceX attempted to launch the Transporter 2 mission on Tuesday, but the countdown was interrupted less than a minute before liftoff when a commercial helicopter strayed into the launch danger zone. SpaceX founder Elon Musk blamed delays in the “unreasonably huge” maintenance sector, tweeting “the current regulatory system is broken”.
“Unfortunately, the launch has been postponed for today, because an aircraft entered the “keep out zone,” which is unreasonably vast,” he said. Astronauts can become civilization. The current regulatory system is broken.”
But it was smooth sailing Wednesday for SpaceX’s second “rideshare” mission, after awaiting weather delays, as a low-cost way for researchers, businesses and government agencies to get small satellites into orbit quickly. was presented.
SpaceX charges $1 million to accommodate payloads weighing less than 200 kilograms, or 440 pounds, and $5,000 for each additional kilogram, or 2.2 pounds.
The first “transporter” rideshare mission wasPutting 143 small satellites into orbit.
The Transporter 2 mission, launched Tuesday, includes CubeSats, Microsats and Orbitals owned by a variety of companies and agencies, including NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the Space Development Agency, the Air Force, and even SpaceX. Deploys, who are deployed. Its three Starlink internet satellites.
Seattle-based Spaceflight Inc. managed 36 of the 88 satellites, including six Microsats, 29 CubeSats, and payloads hosted on another satellite.
The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency placed five satellites on Transporter 2, including one to test space-based data analysis and four that will test advanced optical communications terminals provided by various vendors.
“We are trying to trace the acquisition, signaling and tracking,” a senior SDA official said in a statement. “Can we make a connection, can we hold that connection and can we exchange data between two terminals in space with that connection?”
The system will be tested with satellites up to 2,400 miles kala.
“We’re going to try to essentially send data from DC to Denver at the speed of light,” the official said. “And that’s what we’re going to bring to the warfighter over the next several years.”