Cape Canaveral, fl. – SpaceX The U.S. secretly launched a U.S. spy satellite into space on Saturday (December 19) at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), marking the 26th rocket of the year.
Nigo pay maya payload, Called NROL-108, Lifted from Pad 39A to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT), in the planned three – hour launch window.
Two steps used Falcon 9 rocket The gray satellite was launched as part of a government mission, NRL-108, marking the 26th launch of SpaceX in 2020, the company’s new record. About nine minutes after the liftoff, the first stage of the booster created some dramatic sonic booms. On solid ground, Touches the Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1) of SpaceX at the nearby Cape Canaveral Space Station.
Today’s flight was the fifth launch of the first phase of this particular Falcon 9. The booster, designated B1059, had previously delivered two commercial cargo missions to NASA for the International Space Station. Batch of SpaceX Starlink satellites Earlier this year, most recently Earth observation satellite launched for Argentina.
The Falcon 9 exploded into clear blue sky on Saturday morning, a complete change from Thursday’s launch attempt. Thick clouds obscured the rocket from view that day A problem In the second stage of the rocket SpaceX was forced to postpone the launch.
A few minutes after the Falcon jumped out of the pad, the first stage of the rocket reappeared in the sky, with the iconic sonic booms that you expect the overhead to crash into as the booster lands on the landing site.
The B1059 is the second booster to land on the Cape this year (as opposed to a drone at sea). (Third, landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Sentinel-6 Earth launch satellite For NASA in November.) In fact, this is the third voyage to the LZ-1 for this booster, since the senior Falcon 9 returned to shore earlier this year after launching the CRS-20 mission into orbit.
A nigo pay payload
Today’s Falcon 9 launch into a classified payload orbit to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the government’s agency overseeing spy satellites in the country. Little is known about the satellite, except that the NRO secured the ride of the secret cargo through non-conventional means.
Normally, the intelligence agency would secure space travel through the U.S. space force’s national security space launch program, but this time it took place on its own, According to a report from Spaceflight.
“In some cases, NRO uses alternative methods to collect launch services after a comprehensive assessment of satellite risk tolerance, required launch dates, available launch capabilities, and cost – all of which ensure that the satellites are safely orbited in a timely manner.” The spokesman told Spaceflight.
Another interesting twist is that SpaceX never conducted a static fire test of its rocket before the flight. Typically, the company holds the rocket on the pad and briefly fires its nine first-stage engines before the lift to make sure their systems are working as expected. SpaceX rarely avoids this routine inspection, but it is unheard of.
The mission marks the NRO’s sixth launch of the year, and the second to fly on SpaceX Falcon 9. the first The NROL-76 mission was launched in May 2017.
The NRL-108 mission is the 50th reflight of the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 since the company recalled its first booster in 2015. It marks the 70th landing of a falcon. To secure the landing, the booster separates from its upper stage and performs a series of orbital ballet moves, which rearrange itself for landing. It then carried out a series of three-engine burns, slowing down enough to touch its designated landing pad seamlessly and marking the 21st landing for SpaceX.
To facilitate reuse, the company usually relies on two large drone ships, “Off Course I Still Love You”, “Just Read Instructions”, to establish floating platforms in the typical Atlantic Ocean and then launch more rockets to launch and enable SpaceX.
As Booster returns to Land, “Off Course I Still Love You” is reserved for the mission, while “Just Read Instructions” is currently bringing back a booster from the company’s latest launch. 13. For that mission, a Falcon 9 rocket launched for the seventh time, A large satellite is being launched into space for Sirius XM. The booster is one of only two of those seven missions to take off and return to port at the same time as today’s launch.
Upon their return to Port Canaveral, Florida, the Landed Boosters are taken back to their SpaceX facilities, where they are carefully inspected and rebuilt to fly again.
The current iteration of the Falcon 9 will be finalized in 2018. Also known as Block 5, Which features a 7 1.7 million thrust and some other upgrades, enabling rapid reuse. SpaceX claims that each of these boosters can fly up to 10 times with occasional minor upgrades and up to 100 times before retiring.
To date, SpaceX has launched the same booster a maximum of seven times. According to Elon Musk, founder and CEO of the company, each Falcon 9 booster can fly at least 10 times. We haven’t seen a fly many times yet, but we could see it next year.
Rocket Firing Recovery
Prior to today’s launch, SpaceX deployed one of its twin fairing catchers, the Geo Mystery, to deliver the fairing pieces after today’s launch. The company’s other fairing recovery ship, the GO Miss Chief, remained in port for its second consecutive mission. Both boats operate giant, mobile catcher mittens and snagging payload fairings – protected nose angles around the satellites during launch – on their attached nets as they fall back to Earth.
To this end, SpaceX has parachutes and special software installed on its payload fairings, which consist of two joined pieces. The fairs are designed to lead you into the recovery zone, where you can wait for Miss Tree and Miss Chief to snatch them up when they return to Earth. In case the boats are lost or not trying to catch the weather, both are on board equipment to take the fairing pieces out of the water and into the harbor for repairs.
The company is successfully reusing payload fairings, the last mission launched by the Sirius XM-7 satellite – the first flight to feature updated fairing on non-SpaceX payload. Normally the company reuses fairings on its own Starlink missions. One of the hidden fairy pieces flew past the Sirius XM-7 payload as it passed through the air. Anasis-2 mission This summer, a communications satellite was launched for South Korea’s military.
Today’s mission marks the end of a busy launch year for the Cape. A total of 31 missions have been launched from the region this year, 26 of which are on SpaceX rockets. Next year, SpaceX will continue to fill its Starlink satellites and launch two space missions, one of its heavy-lifters. Falcon Heavy.
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