Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION  (Read 218484 times)

Offline gosnold

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #280 on: 04/29/2017 02:13 PM »
Only just tweeted but presumably from earlier this week?

Quote
#NROL76 will carry a classified payload designed, built and operated by @NatReconOfc. @SpaceX @45thSpaceWing

https://twitter.com/natreconofc/status/858007929252974592

Well, so much for it being a BSS702. I think this is looking more and more like a technology demonstrator bound for LEO.

I wouldn't throw the BSS702 hypothesis away. It could be that the payload of the satellite is NRO-designed, built and operated. Especially because the NRO does not build its own satellites: the contractors build them. I think that's partly true for the payloads as well: the cameras of the KH-4, 7,8, and 9 were built by Kodak or Perkins-Elmer. For comms and SIGINT systems I don't know.
As for the operation, we don't know who controls PAN and CLIO. It could be that the NSA has subcontracted their orbital operations to the NRO, since they have the experience.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #281 on: 04/29/2017 05:47 PM »
Wired pre-launch article and discussion of significance of SpaceX's first NRO launch:

https://www.wired.com/2017/04/watch-spacex-launch-super-secret-payload-feds/

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #282 on: 04/29/2017 10:08 PM »
Quote
Falcon 9 launch Sunday with secret sat. I agree with @Marco_Langbroek's analysis here - some kind of USA-193 followon in 51 deg LEO
https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/858330319899983877

Quote
For the moment, I go for a ~51 degree inclined LEO orbit for NROL-76:
https://sattrackcam.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/what-is-nrol-76-and-what-orbit-wil-it.html
But I could be completely wrong
@SSC_NL
https://twitter.com/marco_langbroek/status/858325724549218305

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #283 on: 04/29/2017 10:14 PM »
Only just tweeted but presumably from earlier this week?

Quote
#NROL76 will carry a classified payload designed, built and operated by @NatReconOfc. @SpaceX @45thSpaceWing

https://twitter.com/natreconofc/status/858007929252974592

Well, so much for it being a BSS702. I think this is looking more and more like a technology demonstrator bound for LEO.

All NRO payloads are " designed, built and operated by @NatReconOfc"

Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #284 on: 04/30/2017 12:03 AM »
In prelaunch images (see update thread), this rocket's second stage looks slightly different than previous second stages.  Some small differences.  A cable or conduit duct is no longer visible where it once was, for example.  Compare F9-34 with F9-33.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/30/2017 12:17 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #285 on: 04/30/2017 12:42 AM »
Good eye, Ed.

Some of the features formerly on the missing conduit seem to have found a new home on the remaining conduit. Also, the dark square on the interstage is missing:

Online karki

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #286 on: 04/30/2017 01:03 AM »
Good eye, Ed.

Some of the features formerly on the missing conduit seem to have found a new home on the remaining conduit. Also, the dark square on the interstage is missing:

Is this more evidence that this is the first block 4 falcon 9? Second stages have been upgraded in tandem with first stages in past revisions.

Offline old_sellsword

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #287 on: 04/30/2017 01:11 AM »
Good eye, Ed.

Some of the features formerly on the missing conduit seem to have found a new home on the remaining conduit. Also, the dark square on the interstage is missing:

Is this more evidence that this is the first block 4 falcon 9? Second stages have been upgraded in tandem with first stages in past revisions.

* Second stages have been upgraded in tandem with first stages in past major revisions.

The Block upgrades don't align with the Version upgrades, and Version upgrades seem to be the only ones noticeable by us. Most Block upgrades are invisible, unless someone can spot the difference between 1021 and 1031.
« Last Edit: 04/30/2017 01:25 AM by old_sellsword »

Online Flying Beaver

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #288 on: 04/30/2017 01:25 AM »
Just an interesting detail from this pic the 45th Space Wing retweeted.

Hazard area from 39A as well as the approach to LZ-1.

https://twitter.com/fraudauditor/status/858442537069162497
« Last Edit: 04/30/2017 01:26 AM by Flying Beaver »
Saw OG-2 Booster Land in person 21/12/2015.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #289 on: 04/30/2017 01:30 AM »
Good eye, Ed.

Some of the features formerly on the missing conduit seem to have found a new home on the remaining conduit. Also, the dark square on the interstage is missing:

Is this more evidence that this is the first block 4 falcon 9? Second stages have been upgraded in tandem with first stages in past revisions.

* Second stages have been upgraded in tandem with first stages in past major revisions.

The Block upgrades don't align with the Version upgrades. Most Block upgrades aren't even noticeable by us, unless someone can spot the difference between 1021 and 1031.

There have been the same number of block upgrades as version upgrades, and I haven't seen any evidence showing that they aren't aligned.

Offline TrueBlueWitt

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #290 on: 04/30/2017 01:37 AM »
Good eye, Ed.

Some of the features formerly on the missing conduit seem to have found a new home on the remaining conduit. Also, the dark square on the interstage is missing:

No camera's allowed on this flight?

Offline old_sellsword

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« Last Edit: 04/30/2017 01:44 AM by old_sellsword »

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #292 on: 04/30/2017 01:46 AM »
Thanks for the meaty article William! :) I had to sharpen my fangs to rip through it...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #293 on: 04/30/2017 01:58 AM »
I haven't seen any evidence showing that they aren't aligned.

I have, there's plenty.

Quote from: Spiiice (employee)
I... I actually don't know how the blocks line up with the version numbers. Version numbers are pretty much strictly used outside the company and by Elon.
I had seen this, but without the context of the below quotes took it to mean that they aren't officially aligned, even if they are in practice.
Quote
Quote from: Foximus05 (ex-employee)
Correction. [SES-10] was a block 1 (crs8) and wont fly again. Block 3 boosters could have multiple flights before being retired.

...

Former coworkers of mine that still work there referred to the CRS8 core as a block 1 when we were talking about it last weekend.
This I hadn't seen, as I don't frequent reddit and it didn't show up here that I saw. That's quite definitive, and very interesting. Elon's quip about a "version 2.5" of Falcon 9 makes a lot more sense now.
Quote
Quote from:  DSBromeister (ex-intern)
Trying to upgrade parts [on B1021] from block 2 to block 3, failing to install them three times, then giving up and trying (and succeeding with) a method from block 1
I thought this was odd, but didn't get that all the blocks he mentioned were v1.2 boosters....
Quote
Quote from: skiboysteve (employee)
The impression [in SpaceX fan communities] of what the blocks are has never been verified as true. But everyone here acts like its a fact. It's just been repeated enough times...
... because I missed this. I should visit r/SpaceX more.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #294 on: 04/30/2017 02:01 AM »
Good eye, Ed.

Some of the features formerly on the missing conduit seem to have found a new home on the remaining conduit. Also, the dark square on the interstage is missing:

No camera's allowed on this flight?

The payload isn't visible from any of those locations, so cameras wouldn't seem to be an issue.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #295 on: 04/30/2017 07:34 AM »
The NRO routinely prohibits any footage or telemetry broadcast to public of the majority of upper stage free flights. Therefore, there's no point putting a camera on the upper stage.
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Online Hauerg

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #296 on: 04/30/2017 07:39 AM »
Interstage is not stage 2.

Online toruonu

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #297 on: 04/30/2017 07:50 AM »
Wouldn't first stage cameras possibly spot the 2nd stage and payload during the flip and boostback? :) Then again fairing jettison is I think a bit later than stage separation so most likely close video would only be while the bird is still encapsulated.

Offline satwatcher

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #298 on: 04/30/2017 08:46 AM »
Some thoughts I posted on SeeSat-L: http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Apr-2017/0199.html

Quote
These are the facts that we can consider known about the intended orbit of NROL-76:
* the launch hazard area is consistent with a 50 deg inclination
* the de-orbit hazard ara is also consistent with a 50 deg inclination
* the launch window is not planar (the April 16 launch date also had
  11:00 to 13:00UT)
* the de-orbit hazard area is valid from 03h38m to 6h15m after launch

All these facts can be considered peculiar. To my knowledge, no NRO
launches have targeted orbits inclined at 50 deg, and all launches,
except perhaps missions to GSO, had planar windows.

Furthermore, the long time between launch and de-orbit is not
compatible with previous Falcon 9 launches. On recent CRS missions (8,
9 and 10), the de-orbit area was valid from about 00h26m to 01h19m
after launch, indicating the second stage was de-orbited before it
completed a full orbit, with the impact point South West of
Australia. The Orbcomm OG-2 mission, targeting a 47deg orbit, had a
similar location and time range for the de-orbit area.

During the Jason 3 and Iridium NEXT missions, the second stage
performed a circularization burn at 00h55m (Jason 3;
1296kmx1321km_at_66deg) and 00h52m (Iridium NEXT; 618kmx627km_at_87deg)
after launch. Here, the de-orbit areas were valid between
01h06m-02h07m and 01h52m-02h48m after launch, respectively.

If NROL-76 targets LEO, why de-orbit the second stage only after about
2.5 orbits?

I wonder if instead NROL-76 targets some sort of MEO/HEO orbit. If so,
it may be expected that perigee is located in the South to allow the
second stage to be de-orbited off the coast of Africa.

Online Paul_G

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #299 on: 04/30/2017 09:15 AM »
Quote
Falcon 9 launch Sunday with secret sat. I agree with @Marco_Langbroek's analysis here - some kind of USA-193 followon in 51 deg LEO
https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/858330319899983877

Quote
For the moment, I go for a ~51 degree inclined LEO orbit for NROL-76

Looking at the hazard area for the re-entry of the second stage, is this a longer stage life than we normally see for other missions. On Dragon resupply missions the stage seems to re-enter just off the coast of Australia which I assume is during the first orbit. Here the hazard area only seems to work on the 3rd orbit.

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