Falcon 9 Launches Taiwanese Satellite


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 successfully launched Taiwan’s Formosat-5 remote sensing satellite on Thursday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The company completed the 15th successful recovering of a Falcon 9 first stage booster.

 

Falcon 9, Minotaur IV Launches Set for Thursday & Friday

Three launches are scheduled for the week ahead, including a pair in the United States and one in India.

Falcon 9
Formosat 5 remote sensing satellite
Date: Thursday, Aug. 24
Time: 2:50-3:34 p.m. EDT; 11:50 a.m.-12:34 p.m. PDT (1850-1934 GMT)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Minotaur IV
ORS 5
Date: Friday, Aug. 25
Time: 11:14 p.m.-3:15 a.m. EDT (0314-0715 GMT on Aug. 26)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

This marks the first flight of Orbital ATK’s Minotaur IV booster from Cape Canaveral. The payload, also known as SensorSat, is a military satellite that will scan for other spacecraft and orbital debris. ORS 5 was produced by the military’s Operationally Responsive Space program.

PSLV
IRNSS 1H navigation satellite
Date: Thursday, Aug. 31
Time: TBA
Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

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Relativity Seeks to Disrupt Smallsat Launch Industry

A startup named Relativity has conducted more than six dozen test firings of a new liquid oxygen/liquid methane rocket engine at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, CEO Tim Ellis told a Senate subcommittee last week.

“Relativity is a stealth-mode startup re-imagining the way orbital rockets are built and flown,” said Ellis, who co-founded the company. “We are creating a new launch service for orbital payloads enabled by never-seen-before technologies, allowing for a high degree of launch schedule certainty at significantly reduced cost.”

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SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite With Reused First Stage

Screenshot of Bulgaria 1 satellite launch. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX successfully launched the BulgariaSat 1 spacecraft on Friday using a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage. The stage landed on a drone ship off the coast of Florida. The launch occurred from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Falcon 9 first stage on drone ship. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX’s next launch is on Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch 10 Iridium Next satellites at 4:25 p.m. EDT.

SpaceX Plans Two Launches in Two Days

The Autonomous Flight Safety System first flew from the Eastern Range on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 CRS-10 Feb. 19, 2017. The use of AFSS reduces range space lift costs through reductions in range equipment maintenance and upgrades. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has planned two Falcon 9 launches this weekend, one from each coast.

A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the BulgariaSat 1 communications satellite from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida today. The two-hour launch window opens at 2:10 p.m. EDT. The flight marks the second reuse of a first stage.

The second Falcon 9 flight is scheduled for Sunday at 4:25 p.m. EDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The booster will launch 10 Iridium Next satellites.

SpaceX will webcast both flights at www.spacex.com.

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Elysium Space to Launch Memorial Flight on SpaceX Falcon 9 Mission

Falcon 9 lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: SpaceX)

SAN FRANCISCO (Elysium Space PR) – The pioneering company in memorial spaceflight, Elysium Space, is announcing today that its Elysium Star II memorial spacecraft will be on Spaceflight’s SSO-A dedicated rideshare mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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ULA Lays off 48 Employees at Vandenberg

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

United Launch Alliance (ULA) plans to lay off 48 employees that work for its operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. ULA launches Atlas V and Delta IV rockets from the coastal base.

“United Launch Alliance continues to transform our company to provide cost-effective solutions for our customers, while we maintain our focus on mission success,” spokeswoman Jessica Rye said in a written statement.

“As we announced last year, ULA would have two reductions in force, one in 2016, which was completed, and one in 2017 to accomplish our business goals. We hope to accomplish the majority of the 2017 reductions through voluntary layoffs….

The jobs will end June 1, according to the letter, and include both union and non-union employees. Layoffs are expected to be permanent.

Affected employees currently hold assorted jobs, including technicians and engineers.

Read the full story.

NASA Awards ULA Contract for Joint Polar Satellite System-2 Mission

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has selected United Launch Services LLC (ULS) of Centennial, Colorado, to provide launch services for the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Launch is currently targeted for 2021 on an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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ULA Atlas V Lofts NRO Payload Into Orbit

Atlas V lifts off (Credit: ULA)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.,, March 1, 2017 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 March 1 at 9:50 a.m. PST. Designated NROL-79, the mission is in support of national defense.
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Iridium Announces Successful First Launch of Iridium NEXT Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)
Falcon 9 lifts off. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 14, 2017 (Iridium PR) — Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today the successful launch of its first ten Iridium NEXT satellites. The satellites were delivered into low-Earth orbit approximately one hour after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54:39 a.m. PST. Iridium NEXT is the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe — the largest commercial satellite constellation in space.

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ULA Postpones NROL-79 Launch From Vandenberg

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2017) – The launch date for a United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrying NROL-79 for the National Reconnaissance Office is under review.

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SpaceX Return to Flight Set for Saturday

spacex_iridium1_patchHAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications. The 10 satellites are the first of at least 70 satellites that SpaceX will be launching for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.

SpaceX is targeting launch of Iridium-1 from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The instantaneous launch window opens on January 14 at 9:54:39 am PST or 5:54:39 pm UTC. The satellites will begin deployment about an hour after launch.

The webcast is available here.

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Orbital Launch Statistics for 2016

The Soyuz MS-02 rocket is launched with Expedition 49 Soyuz commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos, flight engineer Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and flight engineer Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Ryzhikov, Kimbrough, and Borisenko will spend the next four months living and working aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)
The Soyuz MS-02 rocket is launched with Expedition 49 Soyuz commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos, flight engineer Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and flight engineer Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

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There were 85 orbital launches in 2016, not including the Falcon 9 that exploded on launch pad prior to a pre-flight engine test. The launches break down as follow:

  • United States: 22 (22-0)
  • China: 22 (20-1-1)
  • Russia: 19 (18-1)
  • Europe: 9 (9-0)
  • India: 7 (7-0)
  • Japan: 4 (4-0)
  • Israel: 1 (1-0)
  • North Korea: 1 (1-0)

For a more detailed description of these launches, please read US, China Led World in Launches in 2016.

Let’s look at launches by booster and spaceport and the flights that were required for human spaceflight.
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SpaceX Targets Dec. 16 for Falcon 9 Return to Flight

Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch 10 Iridium satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. it will be the first flight of the booster since one blew up on the launch pad while being fueled for a test on Sept. 1. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would need to sign off on the flight before it could occur. That approval would come after the FAA reviews the results of SpaceX’s investigation into the September accident.