Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION  (Read 219031 times)

Offline yokem55

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DISCUSSION Thread for the launch of NROL-76 mission.

NSF Threads for NROL-76 : Discussion / Updates / L2 March/April 2017 / ASDS / Party
NSF Articles for NROL-76 :
   SpaceX Static Fire spy sat rocket and prepare to test Falcon Heavy core
   SpaceX Falcon 9 launches first NRO mission with NROL-76
   SpaceX improving launch cadence, testing new goals
Successful launch on May 1, 2017 at 7:15am EDT (1115 UTC).  First stage, core 1032, landed at LZ-1.


http://spacenews.com/nro-discloses-previously-unannounced-launch-contract-for-spacex/
Quote
“SpaceX is under contract to launch NROL-76 in March 2017 from Cape Canaveral [Air Force Station],” Loretta DeSio, an NRO spokesman said in a May 18 email. “The NRO is anticipating the possibility of SpaceX supporting additional missions based on future competitions.”

A SpaceX spokesman referred questions to the NRO. Almost all missions for the NRO are classified, which means the government announces few details.

The launch contract may be as much as three years old. In a 2013 House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing, Sapp told lawmakers that while she expected SpaceX to bid for launches in future competitions, “we are actually on contract with SpaceX for a smaller mission.”


Other SpaceX resources on NASASpaceflight:
   SpaceX News Articles (Recent)  /   SpaceX News Articles from 2006 (Including numerous exclusive Elon interviews)
   SpaceX Dragon Articles  /  SpaceX Missions Section (with Launch Manifest and info on past and future missions)
   L2 SpaceX Section

« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 04:01 PM by gongora »

Offline cmj9808

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #1 on: 05/19/2016 05:13 AM »
So how about the mysterious US government co-passenger to be launched together with SSL-built PSN-6 in early 2017?
It will be a small experimental satellite or something like NROL-66, using spare space in payload fairing nose cone as was described somewhere.

Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #2 on: 05/19/2016 05:58 AM »
So how about the mysterious US government co-passenger to be launched together with SSL-built PSN-6 in early 2017?
It will be a small experimental satellite or something like NROL-66, using spare space in payload fairing nose cone as was described somewhere.

Please see the KH-11 thread for the article I recently posted in there about the NRO's increasing use of cubesats.

Offline cmj9808

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #3 on: 05/19/2016 06:19 AM »
So how about the mysterious US government co-passenger to be launched together with SSL-built PSN-6 in early 2017?
It will be a small experimental satellite or something like NROL-66, using spare space in payload fairing nose cone as was described somewhere.

Please see the KH-11 thread for the article I recently posted in there about the NRO's increasing use of cubesats.
I doubt it's some kind of cubesat. NRO, whose Colony program can be traced back to 2009, is definitely not a newbie in the cubesat arena, and none of their cubesats was given a NROL designation.   

Online woods170

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #4 on: 05/19/2016 07:06 AM »
NROL-76 is likely not a cubesat mission. It's one of NRO's main birds IMO. Also very telling was Betty Sapp's little slip-of-the-tongue: "We've bought launches from SpaceX.". Launches, as in plural. IMO it's almost a given that STP-2 is not NROL-76. IMO it's a separate mission given the fact that the NRO spokesperson said that NROL-76 will launch from CCAFS. SLC-40 is at CCAFS. LC-39A isn't. So, if the spokesperson is correct, NROL-76 will launch on Falcon 9, given that SLC-40 is not suited for FH. FH is (for now) on LC-39A only.
It is also a fact that SLC-40 currently has no provisions for vertical integration of the payload. Nor do I see one installed in time for a March 2017 timeframe. So, I'm betting NROL-76 does not require VI. IMO it will be horizontally integrated instead.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 08:17 AM by woods170 »

Offline Kryten

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #5 on: 05/19/2016 08:45 AM »
Note that the direct quote in the article is not that they're launching from CCAFS, it's that they're launching from 'Cape Canaveral [Air Force Station]'. CCAFS appears to be conjecture on SpaceNew's part.

Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #6 on: 05/19/2016 11:41 AM »
So how about the mysterious US government co-passenger to be launched together with SSL-built PSN-6 in early 2017?
It will be a small experimental satellite or something like NROL-66, using spare space in payload fairing nose cone as was described somewhere.

Please see the KH-11 thread for the article I recently posted in there about the NRO's increasing use of cubesats.
I doubt it's some kind of cubesat. NRO, whose Colony program can be traced back to 2009, is definitely not a newbie in the cubesat arena, and none of their cubesats was given a NROL designation.

I meant as a secondary payload.

Online woods170

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #7 on: 05/19/2016 12:59 PM »
Note that the direct quote in the article is not that they're launching from CCAFS, it's that they're launching from 'Cape Canaveral [Air Force Station]'. CCAFS appears to be conjecture on SpaceNew's part.
Kennedy Space Center, home of LC-39A, is not located at Cape Canaveral. It's located on Merritt Island. CCAFS, home of SLC-40, is located at Cape Canaveral. Although the two areas are located next to each other, they are in fact two different areas with two different names. Had the intention been to launch from LC-39A, the spokesperson, IMO, would have said that the launch would take place from KSC. But the spokesperson said Cape Canaveral. So, for now, I'll take that information and run with it in my understanding of NROL-76 launching from SLC-40.

Offline rpapo

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #8 on: 05/19/2016 01:01 PM »
I'll take that information and run with it in my understanding of NROL-76 launching from SLC-40.
Which for now implies a normal Falcon 9 launch, not Heavy.  Especially when that NROL office spokesperson referred to a "small" payload.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 01:02 PM by rpapo »
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #9 on: 05/19/2016 01:19 PM »
I meant as a secondary payload.

I'm no expert but surely NRO wouldn't let a secondary payload from another organisation on one of their launches.
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Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #10 on: 05/19/2016 01:56 PM »
Does the USAF procure the LV for the NRO or do they do it themselves?  Does the NRO follow USAF guidelines regarding LV certification?  Or their own?  Just curious about how this relates to SpaceX certification by the USAF (or not) and what that might mean about the payload class.

Offline Newton_V

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #11 on: 05/19/2016 02:36 PM »
I meant as a secondary payload.

I'm no expert but surely NRO wouldn't let a secondary payload from another organisation on one of their launches.

Why not?

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #12 on: 05/19/2016 02:49 PM »
Note that the direct quote in the article is not that they're launching from CCAFS, it's that they're launching from 'Cape Canaveral [Air Force Station]'. CCAFS appears to be conjecture on SpaceNew's part.
Kennedy Space Center, home of LC-39A, is not located at Cape Canaveral. It's located on Merritt Island. CCAFS, home of SLC-40, is located at Cape Canaveral. Although the two areas are located next to each other, they are in fact two different areas with two different names. Had the intention been to launch from LC-39A, the spokesperson, IMO, would have said that the launch would take place from KSC. But the spokesperson said Cape Canaveral. So, for now, I'll take that information and run with it in my understanding of NROL-76 launching from SLC-40.

Cape Canaveral and Cape Canaveral AFS are not synonymous.  Also, the term Cape Canaveral Spaceport has been used to include both KSC and CCAFS.    So, we really don't know what they mean.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #13 on: 05/19/2016 02:53 PM »
Does the USAF procure the LV for the NRO or do they do it themselves?

yes and yes

Does the NRO follow USAF guidelines regarding LV certification?  Or their own? 


There hasn't been a need for military LV certification until Spacex came along.
NRO has bought Atlas III, Minotaurs, etc

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #14 on: 05/19/2016 03:26 PM »
I meant as a secondary payload.

I'm no expert but surely NRO wouldn't let a secondary payload from another organisation on one of their launches.

Why not?

Controlling access to the LV for security purposes. They don't want technicians from other organisations other than a few microscopically-vetted SpaceX people anywhere near spacecraft processing and mating.
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Online abaddon

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #15 on: 05/19/2016 03:51 PM »
There hasn't been a need for military LV certification until Spacex came along.NRO has bought Atlas III, Minotaurs, etc
So you are saying we don't really have much insight into what kind of procurement guidelines might have been at play here, and can't really infer anything about the payload... which does seem par for the course for NRO birds.

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #16 on: 05/19/2016 05:24 PM »
I meant as a secondary payload.

I'm no expert but surely NRO wouldn't let a secondary payload from another organisation on one of their launches.

This has happened already: The NROL-36, NROL-39 and NROL-55 missions (all on Atlas V rockets) carried each a bunch of cubesats from different organisations as secondary payloads.

Offline ZachS09

I meant as a secondary payload.

I'm no expert but surely NRO wouldn't let a secondary payload from another organisation on one of their launches.

This has happened already: The NROL-36, NROL-39 and NROL-55 missions (all on Atlas V rockets) carried each a bunch of cubesats from different organisations as secondary payloads.

Although AFSPC-5 is not related to NRO, it too carried "a bunch of cubesats from different organisations as secondary payloads."
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline Newton_V

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #18 on: 05/19/2016 05:45 PM »
I meant as a secondary payload.

I'm no expert but surely NRO wouldn't let a secondary payload from another organisation on one of their launches.

This has happened already: The NROL-36, NROL-39 and NROL-55 missions (all on Atlas V rockets) carried each a bunch of cubesats from different organisations as secondary payloads.

A little clarification on that:  Cubesats are loaded in their dispensers well before any SV is mated to a launch vehicle.  But still, no reason you can't have cleared people to work any tasks where visual access might be possible.  Lots of different organizations learn to play well together.

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #19 on: 05/19/2016 08:35 PM »
I meant as a secondary payload.

I'm no expert but surely NRO wouldn't let a secondary payload from another organisation on one of their launches.

This has happened already: The NROL-36, NROL-39 and NROL-55 missions (all on Atlas V rockets) carried each a bunch of cubesats from different organisations as secondary payloads.

A little clarification on that:  Cubesats are loaded in their dispensers well before any SV is mated to a launch vehicle.  But still, no reason you can't have cleared people to work any tasks where visual access might be possible.  Lots of different organizations learn to play well together.
Yes.  In fact, NRO funded the development of the Centaur Aft Bulkhead Carrier for secondary payloads.  ABC payloads get integrated 4-6 months before launch.  As noted in the 2012 keynote, "NRO primary SV programs extremely risk adverse."

Here are some presentations from the Cubesat Developers Workshop.
http://mstl.atl.calpoly.edu/~bklofas/Presentations/DevelopersWorkshop2013/Callen_OUTSat_Lessons_Learned.pdf
http://mstl.atl.calpoly.edu/~bklofas/Presentations/DevelopersWorkshop2012/Mathewson_Keynote.pdf
http://mstl.atl.calpoly.edu/~bklofas/Presentations/DevelopersWorkshop2012/Keynote_Willcox_ABC_OUTSat.pdf
http://mstl.atl.calpoly.edu/~bklofas/Presentations/DevelopersWorkshop2011/24_Willcox_ABC.pdf

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