Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon Heavy - STP-2 mission - 39A, Cape Canaveral - 2016  (Read 65494 times)

Online Chris Bergin

  • NSF Managing Editor
  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 100961
  • Liked: 11055
« Last Edit: 01/28/2015 01:06 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »

Offline simonbp

  • Science Guy
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7054
  • Liked: 213
Wow, this looks like a complicated mission. Two primary spacecraft inserted into different orbits (one LEO, one 12,000 km) and a ton of secondaries. Looks like every spare spacecraft the USAF could think of...

Offline Lee Jay

  • Elite Veteran
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5853
  • Liked: 252
Interesting article.  Thanks!

"With these two missions supporting the EELV certification process for both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, SpaceX noted they will be able to prove the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles are designed for exceptional reliability, meeting the stringent US Air Force requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program."

Exceptional reliability?  To me, that would mean better than ULA, and that would require a very long string of successful missions, not just one successful demonstrator.  Is this just marketing/PR speak from SpaceX?

Offline Lars_J

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6161
  • Liked: 664
  • California
Of course it is marketing speak - until they can back it up.

But this will certainly be an interesting mission. It doesn't sound like a something pushing the lift capability to the limit, but they'll certainly give everything else a workout.

Offline spectre9

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2403
  • Liked: 33
  • Australia
Very cool!

Great article.

It's good to see support coming for Falcon Heavy.

Stacking all the payloads together is going to be the way to do it until somebody is willing to utilise the maximum payload to GTO. I think it's 12 tons? Not sure. Does anybody really know? With or without Merlin 1D and tank stretch  :P

Offline cleonard

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 190
  • Liked: 16
It's a wonderful opportunity for Spacex, but they need to execute.  It might seem like it's a long way off in 2015, but it's really not that far off for a vehicle that has not flown yet.

Offline Jason1701

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
  • Liked: 68
Very cool!

Great article.

It's good to see support coming for Falcon Heavy.

Stacking all the payloads together is going to be the way to do it until somebody is willing to utilise the maximum payload to GTO. I think it's 12 tons? Not sure. Does anybody really know? With or without Merlin 1D and tank stretch  :P

The quoted FH figures for the last few years have all been with 1D and stretch, but not always admitting that.

Online Comga

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2858
  • Liked: 404
It's a wonderful opportunity for Spacex, but they need to execute.  It might seem like it's a long way off in 2015, but it's really not that far off for a vehicle that has not flown yet.

and from a pad whose construction has not been started.
I will trust Chris that this confirms that SpaceX will launch the FH from the East coast using LC-40. 
This will be interesting.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6335
  • Liked: 253
  • A spaceflight fan
  • London, UK
At the time the type was officially announced, it was implied very strongly that DoD or USAF had urged SpaceX to proceed with Falcon Heavy more quickly than they had initially planned.  I wonder if STP-2 was the mission that they had in mind, even then?
"Oops! I left the silly thing in reverse!" - Duck Dodgers

~*~*~*~

The Space Shuttle Program - 1981-2011

The time for words has passed; The time has come to put up or shut up!
DON'T PROPAGANDISE, FLY!!!

Online john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3639
  • Liked: 368
  • Afore you post. Google sci.space.* first
  • Everyplaceelse
But this will certainly be an interesting mission. It doesn't sound like a something pushing the lift capability to the limit, but they'll certainly give everything else a workout.

IIRC the "on ramp" for new launchers (reported on nasaspaceflight.com previously) has a scale of mission reliability. I suspect these payloads are not at top end so the customers can take the hit if it does not work out.

This is a huge opportunity to go head to head with ULA and start to build credibility and the all important "mission assurance" that these customers want.

I'm presuming this won't be the first F9H launch and even if it's in Q415 that's only (best case) 23 months away, which is not long for a 2nd launch of a new LV.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Online Chris Bergin

  • NSF Managing Editor
  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 100961
  • Liked: 11055
It's a wonderful opportunity for Spacex, but they need to execute.  It might seem like it's a long way off in 2015, but it's really not that far off for a vehicle that has not flown yet.

and from a pad whose construction has not been started.
I will trust Chris that this confirms that SpaceX will launch the FH from the East coast using LC-40. 
This will be interesting.

Yep, the plan is to have a Falcon Heavy hanger and ramp, clocked 90 degrees (could be 180, but the Cape guys say 90) from the Falcon 9 Hanger and ramp. Other options include 39A - I just made Jim frown ;D -or a new pad.....if they don't need it, they don't need it.

Was pretty specific in the presser too: "The DSCOVR mission will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 and is currently slated for late 2014, while STP-2 will be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy and is targeted for mid-2015. Both are expected to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.".

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

  • Geek Penguin in GTO
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5474
  • Liked: 723
  • Hong Kong
It's a wonderful opportunity for Spacex, but they need to execute.  It might seem like it's a long way off in 2015, but it's really not that far off for a vehicle that has not flown yet.

and from a pad whose construction has not been started.
I will trust Chris that this confirms that SpaceX will launch the FH from the East coast using LC-40. 
This will be interesting.

Yep, the plan is to have a Falcon Heavy hanger and ramp, clocked 90 degrees (could be 180, but the Cape guys say 90) from the Falcon 9 Hanger and ramp. Other options include 39A or a new pad.

Was pretty specific in the presser too: "The DSCOVR mission will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 and is currently slated for late 2014, while STP-2 will be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy and is targeted for mid-2015. Both are expected to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.".

But that sentence does not exclude the chances of building a new pad aside the current pad at SLC-40 (I've seen someone here call it "SLC-40B"), no?
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline Halidon

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 753
  • Liked: 97
  • whereabouts unknown
At the time the type was officially announced, it was implied very strongly that DoD or USAF had urged SpaceX to proceed with Falcon Heavy more quickly than they had initially planned.  I wonder if STP-2 was the mission that they had in mind, even then?
I don't think this specific mission was on their minds, I think they pushed SpaceX to accelerate FH because F1v1 wasn't meeting their requirements in general. DoD's high valure payloads are big and may be getting bigger.

Online Chris Bergin

  • NSF Managing Editor
  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 100961
  • Liked: 11055
It's a wonderful opportunity for Spacex, but they need to execute.  It might seem like it's a long way off in 2015, but it's really not that far off for a vehicle that has not flown yet.

and from a pad whose construction has not been started.
I will trust Chris that this confirms that SpaceX will launch the FH from the East coast using LC-40. 
This will be interesting.

Yep, the plan is to have a Falcon Heavy hanger and ramp, clocked 90 degrees (could be 180, but the Cape guys say 90) from the Falcon 9 Hanger and ramp. Other options include 39A or a new pad.

Was pretty specific in the presser too: "The DSCOVR mission will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 and is currently slated for late 2014, while STP-2 will be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy and is targeted for mid-2015. Both are expected to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.".

But that sentence does not exclude the chances of building a new pad aside the current pad at SLC-40 (I've seen someone here call it "SLC-40B"), no?

Sure, but I know the "plan" is to launch both from the same spot. What they eventually decide is "TBA". Point is, "SLC-40".

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5339
  • Liked: 938
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
It's a wonderful opportunity for Spacex, but they need to execute.  It might seem like it's a long way off in 2015, but it's really not that far off for a vehicle that has not flown yet.

and from a pad whose construction has not been started.
I will trust Chris that this confirms that SpaceX will launch the FH from the East coast using LC-40. 
This will be interesting.
Construction for the combined Falcon 9 / Falcon Heavy launchpad at Vandenburg has been on-going for some time now.

Online LouScheffer

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 751
  • Liked: 407
Wow, this looks like a complicated mission. Two primary spacecraft inserted into different orbits (one LEO, one 12,000 km) and a ton of secondaries. Looks like every spare spacecraft the USAF could think of...
From the document:

Insertion Orbit #1

Deliver the IPS to a circular orbit with an orbital altitude of 720 km and an orbital inclination of 24. Deploy only the COSMIC-2 payload set, up to six APLs (TBR), and actuate up to eight P-PODs (TBR).

Insertion Orbit #2

Deliver the IPS (with remaining payloads) to the elliptical orbit with a perigee of 6,000 km, apogee of 12,000 km, and an orbital inclination of 45. Deploy the DSX payload followed by remaining APLs and actuate remaining P-PODs. After deployment of these payloads, the LV shall enter a coast phase of [3 hours threshold, 5 hours objective]. After the coast phase, the LV shall execute an upper stage restart with a minimum duration of 5 seconds (TBR).

This looks like at least 5 burns of the second stage to me, over many hours.  #1, get into orbit with a 720 km apogee, 24 inclination.  #2, circularize at 720, release first payload.  #3, Next equator crossing, boost to a 6000 km perigee.  Coast until apogee, #4, boost to a 12000x6000 orbit and change plane to 45.  Wait the required 3 hours for the final stage restart (#5).

I'm not an orbital mechanics guy, but you might get less delta-v by doing the last plane change at the 12,000 km apogee, rather than including it as part of burn #4.  That would be yet another burn, and a few more hours.

The Russian missions to GTO from their high latitude Proton launches are the only other ones I can think of with this many restarts, and they've had reliability problems over the years.   It's a lot of successive events, all of which must go right, and no alternatives....

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 25310
  • Liked: 3455
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
At the time the type was officially announced, it was implied very strongly that DoD or USAF had urged SpaceX to proceed with Falcon Heavy more quickly than they had initially planned.  I wonder if STP-2 was the mission that they had in mind, even then?
I don't think this specific mission was on their minds, I think they pushed SpaceX to accelerate FH because F1v1 wasn't meeting their requirements in general. DoD's high valure payloads are big and may be getting bigger.

Huh?  Unwarranted speculation.  This is just a  mission made up to test the FH.  There is no pushing from the DOD either.  The onus is on Spacex to provide the vehicle, the DOD was not looking for another one.

Offline padrat

  • Payload Packer and Dragon tamer...
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Liked: 273
  • Where Dragons roam....
It's a wonderful opportunity for Spacex, but they need to execute.  It might seem like it's a long way off in 2015, but it's really not that far off for a vehicle that has not flown yet.

and from a pad whose construction has not been started.
I will trust Chris that this confirms that SpaceX will launch the FH from the East coast using LC-40. 
This will be interesting.

Yep, the plan is to have a Falcon Heavy hanger and ramp, clocked 90 degrees (could be 180, but the Cape guys say 90) from the Falcon 9 Hanger and ramp. Other options include 39A - I just made Jim frown ;D -or a new pad.....if they don't need it, they don't need it.

Was pretty specific in the presser too: "The DSCOVR mission will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 and is currently slated for late 2014, while STP-2 will be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy and is targeted for mid-2015. Both are expected to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.".
All I'm saying is that I'm hearing decisions for the Heavy pad havent been finalized yet. 39A would be nice but so far it comes with a lot of red tape, which I'm sure Spacex would like to avoid....
If the neighbors think you're the rebel of the neighborhood, embrace it and be the rebel. It keeps them wondering what you'll do next...

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7352
  • Liked: 510
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
Well, sounds like SpaceX will have it's hands full managing the boil off. Hats off if they pull off this Hat Trick.
There are two types of nations, those that use metric and those that have been to the moon.

Offline avollhar

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 110
  • Liked: 13
This looks like at least 5 burns of the second stage to me, over many hours.  #1, get into orbit with a 720 km apogee, 24 inclination.  #2, circularize at 720, release first payload.  #3, Next equator crossing, boost to a 6000 km perigee.  Coast until apogee, #4, boost to a 12000x6000 orbit and change plane to 45.  Wait the required 3 hours for the final stage restart (#5).

I'm not an orbital mechanics guy, but you might get less delta-v by doing the last plane change at the 12,000 km apogee, rather than including it as part of burn #4.  That would be yet another burn, and a few more hours.


I am no orbital mechanics guy either, but had to do some math a few years ago. Indeed, changing planes is most efficient with lowest orbital velocity: high apogee, low perigee.

Therefore my best guess is:

- Launch into 720x250km transfer orbit 24 deg inclination. The 4.5 deg difference to KSC latitude could be included already.
- Burn 1: 720x720km, 24 deg incl.
- Burn 2: 720x12000km, 24 deg incl.
- Burn 3: 720x12000km, plane change to 45 deg incl.
- Burn 4: 6000x12000km, 45 deg incl.
- Burn 5: as required by contract

I don't think there is a way around separating Burn 2/3. But 3/4 could be possibly joined as they both happen at apogee.

As others noted: a hell of a launch sequence..

Tags: