SpaceX Launches First National Security Mission

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Earlier this week, SpaceFlightNow reported that SpaceX made their first successful launch with a military payload. The Falcon 9 rocket carried a GPS satellite with the nickname "Vespucci" into orbit. Unlike most Falcon 9 missions, SpaceX didn't try to recover the rocket's first stage, as the heavy payload reportedly required the full capability of the rocket, and the U.S. military requires rockets carrying sensitive payloads to de-orbit their upper stages "if possible." This was SpaceX's 21st launch this year, smashing the company's previous record of 18 launches in one year.

    Check out SpaceX's stream of the launch here.

    "Merry Christmas, GPS," a member of SpaceX's launch team announced at liftoff... Air Force officials told reporters earlier this month that later Falcon 9 launches with GPS satellites might include first stage landings, but managers would not commit to such a decision before evaluating the rocket's performance on Sunday's mission... SpaceX has launched a handful of missions for U.S. national security customers, including a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office and an Air Force X-37B space plane in 2017, but those launches were booked separately from the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, program. SpaceX's Falcon rocket family and the Atlas and Delta rocket fleets operated by rival United Launch Alliance are currently certified by the Air Force to compete for EELV-class missions, which include the military's most costly and highest-priority satellites.
     
  2. Accursed

    Accursed Limp Gawd

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    I don't get it, wouldn't landing the first stage "de-orbit" it? If it was a heavy enough load that it consumed all the rockets fuel, so it had none to land, I understand that.
     
  3. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    due to the medium earth orbit they had to put the satellite into there wasn't going to be enough fuel for the burn back and re-entry burns. first stage hit the water some where off the SC/NC coast if i remember correctly.
     
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  4. seanreisk

    seanreisk Gawd

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    SpaceX was ready to attempt a landing, but the Air Force requested an expended first stage. The contract was originally quoted and signed in the 2015/2016 era, and at that time the specs for the Falcon 9 weren't as high as they are now; because of this, at the time of the contract signing the Air Force requested a full burn with no first stage recovery due to the height of the orbit and the weight of the payload. They stayed with the original terms of the contract in spite of improved performance figures on the Block IV and V boosters.

    The Air Force has said that they will consider a landing attempt after reviewing the data from this launch (SpaceX is contracted for 3 more GPS-III launches). As it was, the first stage was really zooming at MECO - it hit a speed over 50% faster than it would normally hit before releasing the second stage.
     
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  5. Oldmodder

    Oldmodder Gawd

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    Nice.
    But as a EURO boy i look forward to be using our own positioning satellites.
     
  6. Prisoner849

    Prisoner849 Gawd

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    National insecurity. Nice the way we're all enamored with the rocket and stop asking what the payload all about. Shiny things though.
     
  7. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    government's the least of your problems when it comes the GPS system, it's everyone else using that GPS data that your car, cell phone, apple watch, health trackers, etc are all recording and storing on privately owned servers being sold off to the highest bidder..

    thanks for the more detailed information.