Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION  (Read 218605 times)

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #680 on: 06/06/2017 06:22 PM »
Any updates on the orbit of this bird with respect to the CRS-11 actual launch?
Close Encounters of the Classified Kind: a post-event analysis of the close approach of USA 276 to the ISS on June 3

https://sattrackcam.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/close-encounters-of-classified-kinda.html

Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #681 on: 06/06/2017 07:12 PM »
Any updates on the orbit of this bird with respect to the CRS-11 actual launch?
Close Encounters of the Classified Kind: a post-event analysis of the close approach of USA 276 to the ISS on June 3

https://sattrackcam.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/close-encounters-of-classified-kinda.html

Complete with political commentary at the end.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #682 on: 06/08/2017 11:38 AM »
Marco Langbroek has a new post encounter analysis up:

http://sattrackcam.blogspot.com/2017/06/close-encounters-of-classified-kinda.html

I will say, I think this has been in the planning stages longer than the current admin has been in office so I doubt it had anything to do with NROL-76 and ISS's dance.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2017 11:44 AM by kevin-rf »
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #683 on: 06/08/2017 01:48 PM »

How about a worldview-3 copy, to provide resilience in case KH-11s and the Digital Globe birds are shot down?

Worldview-3 weighed more than 6000lbs.  The sensor package was a significant portion of that.  Much more that the 500lb that X-37 can carry.

Plus it has not flown in the same orbits as the others so it couldn't provide any resilience.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2017 01:50 PM by Jim »

Offline ugordan

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #684 on: 06/08/2017 01:51 PM »

How about a worldview-3 copy, to provide resilience in case KH-11s and the Digital Globe birds are shot down?

Worldview-3 weighed more than 6000lbs.  The sensor package was a significant portion of that.  Much more that the 500lb that X-37 can carry.

Maybe I missed something, but what does X-37 have to do with NROL-76?

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #685 on: 06/08/2017 02:15 PM »

Plus it has not flown in the same orbits as the others so it couldn't provide any resilience.

The 51 degree orbit for countries with an alleged capability to shoot down a satellite will result in several good sequential orbital passes over the launch site allowing much better refinement of the orbit shortly before an intercept is attempted.  Not really a win for countering the threat.
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #686 on: 06/08/2017 02:15 PM »
Maybe I missed something, but what does X-37 have to do with NROL-76?

As far as anyone knows for certain? Nothing at all.

It's mostly just wild speculation, the reading of tea leaves and an attempt to guess what manner of strange mission could lead such a lightweight spacecraft to going into a 51° orbit and also what manner of missions X37 could carry out to support NRO operations.
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #687 on: 06/08/2017 02:33 PM »

How about a worldview-3 copy, to provide resilience in case KH-11s and the Digital Globe birds are shot down?

Worldview-3 weighed more than 6000lbs.  The sensor package was a significant portion of that.  Much more that the 500lb that X-37 can carry.

Plus it has in not flown in the same orbits as the others so it couldn't provide any resilience.

Sorry, mixed up threads
« Last Edit: 06/08/2017 02:34 PM by Jim »

Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #688 on: 06/08/2017 03:49 PM »
Marco Langbroek has a new post encounter analysis up:

http://sattrackcam.blogspot.com/2017/06/close-encounters-of-classified-kinda.html

I will say, I think this has been in the planning stages longer than the current admin has been in office so I doubt it had anything to do with NROL-76 and ISS's dance.

The thing to see now is if NROL-76 manoeuvres to keep check with ISS.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #689 on: 06/14/2017 10:41 PM »
Someone has been doing some follow up on this whole business.

Quote
In recent days, Ars has run these observations by several officials and informed sources. They are credible, these officials say, and curious indeed. "This is strange," said one astronaut who has commanded the International Space Station. "I don't really believe in coincidences. But I can't really think of anything that would be worth highlighting a close approach."

Deliberate or not?

One expert in satellite launches and tracking, Jonathan McDowell, said of the satellite's close approach to the station, "It is not normal." While it remains possible that the near-miss was a coincidence due to the satellite being launched into similar orbit, that would represent "gross incompetence" on the part of the National Reconnaissance Office, he said. Like the astronaut, McDowell downplayed the likelihood of a coincidence.

Another option is that of a deliberate close flyby, perhaps to test or calibrate an onboard sensor to observe something or some kind of activity on the International Space Station. "The deliberate explanation seems more likely, except that I would have expected the satellite to maneuver after the encounter," McDowell said. "But it seems to have stayed in the same orbit."

Another question, if the maneuver was deliberate, is whether the US government informed Russia or other international partners on the space station. The Russian segment of the station controls the thrusters that generally are used to maneuver the station away from orbital debris, so such coordination might seem prudent.

In regard to these questions, so far the US government has declined to provide answers. A NASA spokesman offered to look into the matter on Monday but as of Wednesday afternoon had nothing to say. A query sent to public affairs at the National Reconnaissance Office went unanswered. We will update this story if we receive any official responses.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/06/a-spy-satellite-buzzed-the-space-station-this-month-and-no-one-knows-why/

Offline gosnold

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #690 on: 07/03/2017 07:27 PM »
Marco Langbroek has published an article about USA 276 in the Space Review:
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3277/1

Quote
My own take on this all is that I think it is possible, but not certain, that the close approach was deliberate and meant to test space-based technologies to monitor grapplings and berthings of third-party objects. If this is correct, I tend to see the coincidence of the flyby with the originally planned Dragon arrival, but also the sudden undocking of Cygnus OA-7 when Dragon CRS-11 was postponed, as related to the technology demonstration. The relevance of the other coincidences is more conjectural: I tend to see the rescheduling of astronaut Jack Fischer as likely unrelated, for example.


Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #691 on: 07/13/2017 02:38 PM »
Quote
Dr Marco Langbroek‏ @Marco_Langbroek

What goes around comes around: spysat USA 276 will make another series of close approaches to the #ISS tomorrow: http://satobs.org/seesat/Jul-2017/0053.html

https://twitter.com/Marco_Langbroek/status/885178884265824257

Offline Thomas Dorman

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #692 on: 07/22/2017 09:25 AM »
Pass of USA 276 (SPC#42689) near the bright star Vega. Did not get any occultation of Vega by USA 276  as hoped, updated track pushed the satellite track south and east of Vega. Did get a very nice flare off USA 276 on this pass as a booby prize. Distance 418.4 Kms with a phase angle of 62.4 degrees. DSO 1 astrovideo camera, 1/30th of a second, zoom lens setting 60 mm ,F/2.5 ,captures to a DVD recorder.



Some may find these link of interest about USA 276.

https://sattrackcam.blogspot.com/2017/06/close-encounters-of-classified-kinda.html

http://spaceflight101.com/falcon-9-nrol-76/secret-nrol-76-iss-flyby/


 Enjoy! Regards Thomas
« Last Edit: 07/22/2017 09:27 AM by Thomas Dorman »

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #693 on: 08/20/2017 04:27 AM »
Quote
The Army has launched 10 small satellites since 2010 including three experimental communications satellites for the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command that launched in October as part of a National Reconnaissance Office mission. In addition, a small electro-optical imaging satellite known as Kestrel Eye, is expected to launch later this year or early next year from the International Space Station after it arrives via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
http://spacenews.com/army-hoping-for-new-smallsat-imaging-and-space-situational-sensors/

So now that the ISS is equipped with a Kestrel Eye I find it interesting nrol 76 has the ISS speculation... Not saying there is any connection now but I think the nro patch for the mission kind of resonates the kestrel program.

Online edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #694 on: 09/22/2017 09:21 PM »
This first stage (B1032) appears to have been mothballed behind Hangar AM, presumably headed toward scrapping.  This would be the first LEO mission recovered stage to be scrapped.  Does anyone have insight that could explain why this stage suffered presumable damage?  It landed safely at LZ-1. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline ZachS09

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #695 on: 09/23/2017 01:47 AM »
This first stage (B1032) appears to have been mothballed behind Hangar AM, presumably headed toward scrapping.  This would be the first LEO mission recovered stage to be scrapped.  Does anyone have insight that could explain why this stage suffered presumable damage?  It landed safely at LZ-1. 

 - Ed Kyle

I agree with your objection, Ed. According to this "General SpaceX Map" on Google Maps, part of the caption for the NROL-76 landing states that Core B1032 would be readied for a second mission. I have no clue why SpaceX changed their mind.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1wvgFIPuOmI8da9EIB88tHo9vamo&hl=en_US&ll=28.48566780000001%2C-80.5429709&z=8
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 01:48 AM by ZachS09 »
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #696 on: 09/23/2017 02:10 AM »
This first stage (B1032) appears to have been mothballed behind Hangar AM, presumably headed toward scrapping.  This would be the first LEO mission recovered stage to be scrapped. Does anyone have insight that could explain why this stage suffered presumable damage? It landed safely at LZ-1. 

 - Ed Kyle

Did I miss something? Why do you think it suffered "presumable damage"?

If inedeed it is being scrapped, perhaps it's because this is an earlier-Block stage, there are more refined (Block 5?) stages coming soon enough to render earlier configurations surplus and of course the engines, legs, avionics, grid fins, interstage hydraulics and everything of value can be salvaged and re-used.
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Online jg

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #697 on: 09/23/2017 02:11 AM »
This first stage (B1032) appears to have been mothballed behind Hangar AM, presumably headed toward scrapping.  This would be the first LEO mission recovered stage to be scrapped.  Does anyone have insight that could explain why this stage suffered presumable damage?  It landed safely at LZ-1. 

 - Ed Kyle

I agree with your objection, Ed. According to this "General SpaceX Map" on Google Maps, part of the caption for the NROL-76 landing states that Core B1032 would be readied for a second mission. I have no clue why SpaceX changed their mind.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1wvgFIPuOmI8da9EIB88tHo9vamo&hl=en_US&ll=28.48566780000001%2C-80.5429709&z=8

Heh.  Probably because they've been spectacularly successful at retrieving first stages in general, and can no longer foresee using that particular stage.

In general, expect SpaceX to reuse the stages that cost least to refurbish, for how ever long they need to do significant refurbishing (which they hope Block 5 may mostly address).  They have lots of stages to choose among, and Block 5 isn't far off now.

Breaking down the stages that won't be reflown may still free up a lot of valuable parts (e.g. engines) for reuse in new stages.

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 - NROL-76 - May 1, 2017 - DISCUSSION
« Reply #698 on: 09/23/2017 09:02 AM »
Yes, as Jim said elsewhere:

Spacex has more flown boosters than it knows what to do with them and has been breaking them apart and scrapping them.

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