Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 2 (June 25, 2017) : Discussion  (Read 92444 times)

Offline gongora

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Space Intel Report: Maritime tracker exactEarth cuts costs, awaits Iridium fleet deployment [Apr. 11, 2017]
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The company has two more payloads on larger satellites on the way...The eV-8 AIS payload is hosted aboard the Spanish government’s Paz radar Earth observation satellite...Spanish authorities recently announced that they had switched to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and secured a late-2017 launch slot.

The major event for exactEarth, however, is its partnership with Harris Corp. of the United States, under which 60 AIS payloads will be launched aboard Iridium Communications’ Iridium Next second-generation constellation.

Four of the 10 first Iridium Next satellites launched in January by SpaceX carry AIS payloads for exactEarth. The company said April 6 that it expected them to enter service by the end of May.

A second Iridium 10-satellite launch by SpaceX is scheduled for June. Nine of these satellites carry AIS gear.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Christian Daniels‏ @CJDaniels77

@IridiumBoss Are you still on course for the Iridium- 2 flight?
https://twitter.com/CJDaniels77/status/857220605405528065

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Matt Desch‏ @IridiumBoss 9m9 minutes ago
Replying to @CJDaniels77

Yes, still on for June.
https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/857224072702427136

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Peter B. de Selding‏ @pbdes 5m5 minutes ago

@IridiumComm: Our 2d group of 10 2d-gen sats to launch June 29 w/ @SpaceX. @Intelsat: We expect late-June launch of IS-35e w/ @SpaceX.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/857564394749919237

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Here's the launch time:

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Matt Desch‏ @IridiumBoss 1m1 minute ago

Announced Iridium NEXT launch #2 date this morning: Thurs, June 29, 1:04pm pdt. Will start sending sats to VAFB soon. T minus 9 weeks!

https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/857570216687128576

Offline deruch

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Peter B. de Selding‏ @pbdes 5m5 minutes ago

@IridiumComm: Our 2d group of 10 2d-gen sats to launch June 29 w/ @SpaceX. @Intelsat: We expect late-June launch of IS-35e w/ @SpaceX.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/857564394749919237
For those who will inevitably end up scratching their head trying to figure out how both Iridium-#2 and Intelsat-35e are going to be launching in "late-June", remember that Iridium is launching from Vandenberg AFB (in California) and Intelsat-35e from KSC (in Florida).  So, even if both launches are scheduled very close to each other, pad-turnaround won't be an issue.
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Online Chris Bergin

For Immediate Release
Contact Information Below

 

Iridium Announces Successful Completion of First-Launch Iridium NEXT Satellites Activities and Second Launch Date

Next-Generation Satellites are Actively Serving Iridium® Network Customers, While the Company Prepares for the Second Launch

MCLEAN, Va. – May 2, 2017 – Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM), the only communications company with 100 percent global coverage, has announced that the first set of Iridium NEXT satellites have been integrated into the operational constellation and are providing excellent service to Iridium customers. Prior to achieving this major program milestone, the new satellites went through a rigorous testing and validation process that demonstrated that they met all performance requirements and even exceeded many. The Iridium NEXT satellites are already providing superior call quality and faster data speeds with increased capacity to Iridium customers. In addition, the Company has announced the targeted launch date for the second payload of ten Iridium NEXT satellites as June 29, 2017, at 1:02pm PDT, with an instantaneous launch window. All planned Iridium NEXT launches will take place from SpaceX’s west coast launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, on Falcon 9 rockets.

The testing and validation process for the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation involved a thorough test of each of Iridium’s services, an assessment of each satellite’s performance against established metrics, and a formal acceptance process between Iridium and Thales, thus ensuring a smooth integration into Iridium’s existing network architecture.  Once completed for each new satellite, a precisely orchestrated process of replacing the original Iridium® satellite with a new Iridium NEXT satellite, known as a ‘slot swap’ is completed.  To date, the team at Iridium’s Satellite Network Operations Center (SNOC) has successfully completed three individual slot swaps, and two dual slot swaps.   Two of the new satellites are currently drifting to their assigned orbital plane.

“To say that I am proud of the Iridium satellite network operations team is an understatement,” said Scott Smith, chief operating officer at Iridium. “Conducting multiple slot swaps to replace a network of this magnitude is an incredible task, and only Iridium has the team and technical capacity to manage this project. We have been preparing for this process for years, and since first launch the team has worked non-stop to manage each maneuver to successfully integrate the new satellites into the active network. We are thrilled to say that these new satellites are exceeding expectations and are already delivering faster speeds to our customers.”

The Iridium NEXT satellites are manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor, and assembled at Orbital ATK’s facility in Gilbert, Arizona. Thales Alenia Space has been tasked with certifying these next-generation satellite vehicles, all while maintaining a demanding manufacturing timetable to meet Iridium’s launch schedule.

“We are deploying the largest satellite constellation in the world, and it works! We met challenges that were unprecedented in the space sector, in terms of end-to-end system performance and production rate,” said Bertrand Maureau, executive vice president, telecommunication at Thales Alenia Space. “Seeing the satellites exceed our expectations and be smoothly integrated into the existing network was one of the top highlights in our company’s history. Iridium NEXT is an extraordinary story, and we are both proud and greatly moved to have successfully passed this major milestone. In our industry, when things go as planned and even exceed expectations, it’s an impressive achievement, and we are very excited to be looking forward to the second launch.”

The late-June launch will deliver the second set of ten Iridium NEXT satellites into low-earth orbit, bringing the total count to 20 Iridium NEXT satellites in space.  A total of 75 satellites will be launched over eight launches, and are expected to be completed by mid-2018.  A network replacement of this size and scale has never been achieved before, and Iridium NEXT has been coined one of the largest “tech refreshes” in history. The new constellation is the first step in delivering Iridium’s next-generation portfolio of communications services, called Iridium CertusSM, and will also introduce new revolutionary technologies and services like the AireonSM space-based ADS-B aircraft surveillance and flight tracking network.

To learn more about the process of a satellite “slot swap,” visit: .  For real-time updates about the Iridium NEXT program, please go to www.IridiumNext.com and follow Iridium on Facebook (Iridium Communications), Twitter (@IridiumComm) and LinkedIn (Iridium).

 

About Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network — Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Clarification of status of first 10 Iridium NEXT sats:

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Iridium Corporate‏Verified account @IridiumComm 22m22 minutes ago

Thrilled to share successful integration of 1st 8 #IridiumNEXT SV's (2 drifting) & 2nd @SpaceX launch date for 6/29! http://bit.ly/2oTI9QM
https://twitter.com/IridiumComm/status/859410428698525696

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Peter B. de Selding‏ @pbdes 5m5 minutes ago

Clarification on @IridiumComm: 8 of 10 2d-gen sats are in operation; 2 others have been tested & are drifting to final orbits as planned.
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/859414973180776450

Offline gongora

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Iridium's 2017-04-27 Earnings Call Transcript:
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First off, I'm happy to report that our initial batch of Iridium NEXT satellites are now fully operational and working very well. We went through an extensive checkout process before putting these into the constellation. Each satellite was tested thoroughly, both individually and in conjunction with all our other satellites. Primary and hosted payload functions have also been tested extensively to ensure these and future satellites will work as designed once launched.

We completed the commissioning of these Iridium NEXT satellites about a week ahead of schedule, which is a real testament to the planning and preparation of our satellite operations team. What's important is that our experience with in-orbit testing, slot swaps and the new satellite performance gives us confidence that we'll be able to manage the roughly 60-day launch cycle that SpaceX is targeting following the second launch. In all, I am very pleased with the execution of Thales Alenia and our operations team, and I congratulate them both on all the good progress so far.

Of the 10 satellites we launched in January, 8 were placed into service in plane 6, while 2 satellites have begun a 10-month journey to an adjacent plane as part of a highly choreographed process that will eventually get all the satellites into their proper positions at the earliest possible time. We continue to expect that the Iridium NEXT constellation will be fully operational in mid-2018. This outlook is predicated upon our second launch in June, and SpaceX's execution of Iridium NEXT launches about every 60 days thereafter. Based upon the launch success and turnaround SpaceX has demonstrated this year, they should be able to keep to this cadence.

Each of the 8 Iridium NEXT satellites we put in service so far are not just working well, they're providing our customers better service. The satellites' faster processors, larger memory and modern engineering design are delivering better voice quality as well as faster data throughput for our maritime, aviation and IoT customers.

While our current network is performing amazingly well for its age, the statistics for our newest satellites are even better. I can't wait for the coming launches and the impact that additional NEXT satellites will have on the overall work performance, and that's even before we introduce new services.

The offshoot of our successful launch campaign is that we must also plan for and execute the deorbit of legacy satellites being removed from the constellation. I thought you might find it interesting the methodology we're taking for decommissioning our Block I satellites, now that we've started that process to give you insight into the effort and care we're taking to execute on this part of the mission.

As I've described before, the process of replacing a legacy satellite with an Iridium NEXT satellite is called a slot swap, and it follows a precise sequence of steps to ensure service continuity. As a new Iridium NEXT is cross-linked into the constellation and L-band services are engaged, the new and the old satellites remain co-located for a short period. Based on the health and operational capabilities of the legacy satellite, we'll either start an immediate deorbit or move it into a temporary storage orbit, approximately 20 kilometers below the operational constellation. Those legacy satellites lowered to the storage orbit will be maintained as a contingency measure until all 75 Iridium NEXT satellites are placed into service. As a practice, we're keeping the best of the legacy satellites in orbit as either operational satellites or as temporary spares, and then we'll deorbit the rest pretty quickly.

For example, of the 11 satellites in plane 6, 8 are the new Iridium NEXT satellites from the first launch, and 3 satellites are the  best-performing legacy satellites that were operating in this plane. Of the 7 remaining legacy satellites we remove from service, we plan to put the 2 best in the temporary storage orbit as backups
. For the rest of the old satellites, our operation team follows a methodical decommissioning process to deorbit and safely retire them from lower orbit. Each of the satellites we deorbit will follow NASA recommendations with a scripted series of thruster burns to utilize all their fuel to put them in the lowest orbit possible, where they will then automatically deplete or passivate their batteries, open their electrical relays and propellant lines and position their solar arrays for maximum drag, so that the satellites will burn up in the atmosphere. We're expecting most satellites will burn up within a year or less after completing this process.

A few weeks ago, the first of our Block I satellites, SV40, was decommissioned this way, and we are planning for the second and third to occur in the next few weeks. We will continue this process for all legacy satellites that we aren't using as temporary spares, and we'll eventually deorbit all the Block I spares after Iridium NEXT is completed next year.

So moving back to building and launching the new satellites. To date, Thales Alenia has manufactured over 40 Iridium NEXT satellites, and production continues on track to complete all satellites around year end. Thales and their partner, Orbital ATK, are doing a good job on production, and we should have plenty of satellites ready for each launch. As far as the second launch goes, SpaceX has informed us that they have scheduled our launch for Thursday, June 29, just a few minutes after 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time. That launch will be into plane 3. Vandenberg has also confirmed the 29th, so satellites will start shipping to the base in about 2 to 3 weeks to begin processing as the dispenser and the payload adapters are ready and on-site.

With SpaceX's increasing cadence on production and launch, they've also provided us launch dates for 3 more launches in 2017, in August, October and December. So we're hoping they stay on track as we're ready to deploy satellites as soon as they can launch them.
...

Offline gongora

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FCC permits are up for this one, mission 1338. ASDS landing.
Landing STA

Offline ryanpritchard01

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Will we ever see a east cost land landing :(

Offline kevinof

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We already have.

Will we ever see a east cost land landing :(

Offline Kaputnik

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We already have.

Will we ever see a east cost land landing :(

[citation needed]
Waiting for joy and raptor

Offline Lars-J

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We already have.

Will we ever see a east cost land landing :(

[citation needed]

I think the confusion is east/west. Presumably the question was meant for WEST coast. (we have seen 4 land landings on the east coast) ;)

And yes, they eventually we will see a land landing at Vandenberg, they are in the process of completing a landing pad. If you look at the latest Google Maps satellite images here, you can see it in progress.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2017 10:56 PM by Lars-J »

Offline old_sellsword

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I think the confusion is east/west. Presumably the question was meant for WEST coast. (we have seen 4 land landings on the east coast) ;)

And yes, they eventually we will see a land landing at Vandenberg, they are in the process of completing a landing pad. If you look at the latest Google Maps satellite images here, you can see it in progress.

The landing pad looks to essentially be complete, according to the Iridium-1 launch photos.

Offline IanThePineapple

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I think Formosat will be the first land landing at Vandy.

Perhaps some of the later Iridium missions that fly on Block 5 will be able to RTLS...?
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Offline macpacheco

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Apparently the issues with ASDS @ VAFB are:
Potentially becomes a bottleneck - VAFB launches are rare
Delay to get the stage back from a ballistic trajectory far from coast - VAFB launches are mostly south heading, which allows ASDS to be positioned fairly close to the port closest to Hawthorne (to my knowledge, refurb for VAFB launches are done at SpaceX main factory)
If 100% of VAFB launches no longer need ASDS, it perhaps can be permanently allocated to the East Coast, which creates the incentive of building a 3rd ASDS and being able to recover all 3 FH boosters on a ballistic arc, resulting in the best possible FH performance expending just the upper stage.

When we add all items up, it seems VAFB land landings really only become important IF ASDS can be permanently freed to stay in FL, either for higher cadence of ASDS F9 recoveries or with a trio to permit max performance FH launches without expending the center booster.

There is zero evidence that ASDS landings lead to higher refurb costs or reduces chances of recovery (yet).
But I think its likely moving forward the scenario that with a west coast LZ, ASDS is not needed anymore and can be moved to the cape (permanent or at least semi permanently) is intriguing to say the least.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 08:34 AM by macpacheco »
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Offline yokem55

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Apparently the issues with ASDS @ VAFB are:
Potentially becomes a bottleneck - VAFB launches are rare
Delay to get the stage back from a ballistic trajectory far from coast - VAFB launches are mostly south heading, which allows ASDS to be positioned fairly close to the port closest to Hawthorne (to my knowledge, refurb for VAFB launches are done at SpaceX main factory)
If 100% of VAFB launches no longer need ASDS, it perhaps can be permanently allocated to the East Coast, which creates the incentive of building a 3rd ASDS and being able to recover all 3 FH boosters on a ballistic arc, resulting in the best possible FH performance expending just the upper stage.

When we add all items up, it seems VAFB land landings really only become important IF ASDS can be permanently freed to stay in FL, either for higher cadence of ASDS F9 recoveries or with a trio to permit max performance FH launches without expending the center booster.

There is zero evidence that ASDS landings lead to higher refurb costs or reduces chances of recovery (yet).
But I think its likely moving forward the scenario that with a west coast LZ, ASDS is not needed anymore and can be moved to the cape (permanent or at least semi permanently) is intriguing to say the least.
Unless Block 5 changes things, the Iridium launches still require the ASDS. 10 mt to 800 km to a near polar inclination means they need the ASDS. That said, they want to use the ASDS less, not more. The biggest reason being the added time required for recovery not to mention the downrange weather risks. It will be interesting to see the trades between launching a 3-core RTLS FH and a downrange recovered ASDS F9.

Offline Arb

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ASDS Landing confirmed.

Matt Desch‏ @IridiumBoss
Replying to @stratohornet
We're a very heavy payload, even for LEO, so they are planning another barge landing.

Matt Desch‏ @IridiumBoss
Replying to @SpaceY_UK @stratohornet @elonmusk
And, while it may officially be an ASDS, I was referring to alternate name: Big-Ass Remote Grin Enhancer (BARGE)...
8)
« Last Edit: 05/17/2017 02:29 PM by Arb »

Offline gospacex

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But I think its likely moving forward the scenario that with a west coast LZ, ASDS is not needed anymore

Sounds unlikely. There bound to be payloads which can't RTLS, but can ASDS. Just one lost stage represents loss of revenue of some ~$10m.

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and can be moved to the cape (permanent or at least semi permanently) is intriguing to say the least.

Or build / buy another barge for ~$10m? Not a rocket science.

Offline Jakusb

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Matt Desch‏ @IridiumBoss  25m25 minutes ago
Replying to @CJDaniels77
Start shipping satellites this weekend; rocket stages show up next week...

link to tweet
« Last Edit: 05/17/2017 02:51 PM by Jakusb »

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