Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION  (Read 233916 times)

Offline tleski

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #80 on: 03/29/2017 01:48 AM »
Patches were always made available only after successful completion of the mission. For example, no patches for CRS-7 or Amos-6 are available. I would expect the patch design to be published in their press kit if they have any for this launch unless it leaks before that.

NRO has its own patches
But I am assuming SpaceX will have their own patch too. Correct?
And they don't release them until the successful launch is completed (and after splashdown in the case of Dragon missions).

Offline rockets4life97

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #81 on: 03/29/2017 02:05 AM »
SpaceX's patches usually come with the press kit. I expect there is no press kit with NRO launches...

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #82 on: 03/29/2017 03:38 AM »
IIRC, the NRO launch isn't a commercial launch.

It wasn't purchased through the Air Force
Jim- I assume this means that they won't be ceded launch authority or radio spectrum through the Air Force, but does the NRO have its own "indigenous" authority/spectrum to cover launches not procured through the AF?  or were you commenting that SpaceX need "commercial coverage" after all? 
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Offline Graham

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #83 on: 03/29/2017 03:36 PM »
Could it be an Intruder?
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #84 on: 03/29/2017 07:57 PM »
Could it be an Intruder?

Possible, but IMHO unlikely, as the most recent Intruder launch was just a few weeks ago.

Offline William Graham

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #85 on: 03/30/2017 06:36 PM »
Could it be an Intruder?

Intruder tends to be a West Coast payload, but it can fly from either coast. There have been three past launches from CCAFS.
 * USA-60 (first launch of the second generation)  - Titan IV(405)A from LC-41
 * USA-181/NROL-23 (third launch of the third generation) - Atlas IIIB from SLC-36B
 * USA-194/NROL-30 (fourth launch of the third generation) - Atlas V 401 from SLC-41

I think all of these used CCAFS because there was no available West Coast pad. NROL-30 was launched before the Atlas V pad at Vandenberg was ready for use - I believe the same may have been true with regards the Titan pad for USA-60. Atlas III never had a pad at Vandenberg.

NROL-23 is an interesting case. I've never been entirely sure why that launch used an Atlas III. Until recently I had assumed the contract was awarded after Lockheed Martin discontinued the Atlas II, however ILS announced the NRO contract in 1998 and were still signing Atlas II contracts in 2002. It looks like it was actually awarded through a competitive commercial procurement, with Atlas up against a Delta III (http://www.ilslaunch.com/node/699). So there's past form for using NOSS as a commercial test case.

I agree with Gunter's analysis that it is unlikely, though. From past launches it looks like they have four prime pairs of satellites each with a lifespan of about 10 years. Replacements seem to launch in cycles of four at two year intervals, followed by a four year gap between cycles. Unless something has changed or a satellite is failing, I would not expect to see another Intruder launch until the 2020-2021 timeframe.


I haven't done the maths, but I'm wondering if Falcon would, hypothetically, be able to return to the launch site following a GTO launch with a sufficiently light payload - such as a 2,000 kg 702SP.

Online envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #86 on: 03/30/2017 07:16 PM »
I haven't done the maths, but I'm wondering if Falcon would, hypothetically, be able to return to the launch site following a GTO launch with a sufficiently light payload - such as a 2,000 kg 702SP.

Most likely, yes, RTLS is possible. The F9 upper stage can accelerate a 2,000 kg payload through about 1,300 m/s more dv than it can with a 5,300 kg payload like SES-10 which is just on the edge of ASDS recovery. Even a payload as large as 3500 kg could potentially RTLS.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #87 on: 03/31/2017 09:04 AM »
So, a 17-day gap from SES-10 to NROL-76. Should be interesting to see if SpaceX can keep up the pad cycling cadence!
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Offline rockets4life97

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #88 on: 03/31/2017 01:26 PM »
Easter morning launch?!  8)

Offline Norm38

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #89 on: 03/31/2017 01:55 PM »
SpaceX confirms this will be an LZ-1 landing.

Webcast will cut off launch coverage as usual for NRO missions (like we see with ULA), but will continue for booster landing coverage.

Why do they cut off coverage? Anyone who wanted to track the second stage can, it's a rocket, it's extremely visible.  What information does the 2nd stage camera provide that they don't want out?  I can see not showing satelite deployment, not showing the bird itself, but not cutting coverage.
Does that mean they won't even call out SECO?

Offline ZachS09

They always cut off NRO launch coverage after fairing separation because, in my humble opinion, they don't want anyone seeing what type of payload it is.
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Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #91 on: 03/31/2017 02:40 PM »
They always cut off NRO launch coverage after fairing separation because, in my humble opinion, they don't want anyone seeing what type of payload it is.

Well of course that's always been the way of it with NRO launches.

Offline Newton_V

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #92 on: 03/31/2017 02:53 PM »
NROL-23 is an interesting case. I've never been entirely sure why that launch used an Atlas III.

It needed the performance.

Offline MKremer

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #93 on: 04/01/2017 04:12 AM »
They always cut off NRO launch coverage after fairing separation because, in my humble opinion, they don't want anyone seeing what type of payload it is.

Well of course that's always been the way of it with NRO launches.
No, it was much, much worse prior to YouTube and other sorts of live launch coverage streams. We're very very spoiled nowdays in regards to launch coverage and payload info.

Online wannamoonbase

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #94 on: 04/01/2017 04:24 AM »
They always cut off NRO launch coverage after fairing separation because, in my humble opinion, they don't want anyone seeing what type of payload it is.

Well of course that's always been the way of it with NRO launches.
No, it was much, much worse prior to YouTube and other sorts of live launch coverage streams. We're very very spoiled nowdays in regards to launch coverage and payload info.

No kidding, coverage is great these days.  The final days of the shuttle really improved the level and detail of coverage too.

SpaceX is very good at teasing.  It'd be amazing to see what they have that we don't see.  Surely they have great footage from on board the fairing from last night.  Seeing that would be something else.

Regarding NROL-76 I wonder if the customer even allows video for SpaceX's internal use.  Or perhaps they allow it but have to delete it if there are no anomiallys.
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Offline MKremer

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #95 on: 04/01/2017 05:33 AM »
SpaceX is very good at teasing.  It'd be amazing to see what they have that we don't see.  Surely they have great footage from on board the fairing from last night.  Seeing that would be something else.

Regarding NROL-76 I wonder if the customer even allows video for SpaceX's internal use.  Or perhaps they allow it but have to delete it if there are no anomiallys.
There is an older SpaceX fairing video on YouTube:


I would think that NRO requires SpaceX to terminate all video at a specific point, and also has the right to double/triple-check that their requirements were met, on national security grounds.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #96 on: 04/01/2017 08:57 AM »
Regarding NROL-76 I wonder if the customer even allows video for SpaceX's internal use.  Or perhaps they allow it but have to delete it if there are no anomiallys.

There is zero chance NRO will let Spacex put a camera under the fairing.
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Offline dglow

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #97 on: 04/01/2017 09:02 AM »
Regarding NROL-76 I wonder if the customer even allows video for SpaceX's internal use.  Or perhaps they allow it but have to delete it if there are no anomiallys.

There is zero chance NRO will let Spacex put a camera under the fairing.

No, just zero chance NRO will let them broadcast the stream.

Offline Zardar

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #98 on: 04/01/2017 11:51 AM »
Easter morning launch?!  8)

No surprise there, from reviewing SpaceX schedules, they have a very high preference for scheduling each launch campaign so that the static fire and/or launch attempt aligns with a Sunday.

As to why this is, I am not sure. Free overtime, cheaper range costs, less impact of road/airspace closures perhaps?


Offline Newton_V

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #99 on: 04/01/2017 01:46 PM »
About the cameras..

Only aft-facing allowed.
Only real-time video up to PLF jettison.
All cameras off before SV separation (and stay off, even for subsequent burns).
Any recorded video needs to be approved/reviewed by the customer before release.

Obviously, any customer can change these rules if they want, but they understand the LV video is useful to the contractors.

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