Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Iridium NEXT 6 with GRACE-FO : May 22, 2018 - UPDATES  (Read 58809 times)

Online Chris Bergin

UPDATE THREAD for Flight 6 of the Iridium NEXT constellation, a rideshare of 5 Iridium NEXT satellites along with the 2 GRACE-FO satellites.

Flight 6: Successful launch on May 22, 2018 at 12:48pm PDT (1948 UTC) on a reused Falcon 9 (1043.2, previously used on ZUMA mission) from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.  The booster was expended.  Fairing recovery was unsuccessful.

   NSF Threads for Iridium NEXT Flight 6: Discussion / Updates   
   NSF Articles for Iridium NEXT Flight 6: 
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/?s=Iridium

See the Flight 1 Discussion Thread for more information and links to other Iridium Next threads and articles.

Iridium satellites (5)
   Payload Mass: 860kg per satellite plus 500kg for dispenser.
   Launch orbit: 625km, 86.66 degrees

GRACE-FO satellites (2)
   Payload Mass: 580kg per satellite plus dispenser.
   Orbit: 490km, 89 degrees


Former Launch Details (Kept for Historical Background)

The GRACE-FO launch vehicle system (LVS) was jointly selected by GFZ and NASA in June 2013. Before, a technical feasibility study has been successfully performed by the International Space Company Kosmotras (ISCK). It includes the DNEPR launch vehicle, a multi-satellite dispenser, and the personnel, test equipment and facilities for preparation, integration and launch of the twin satellites. The DNEPR launcher is a result of the Russian Program for Elimination of the SS-18 Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that are being withdrawn from service and instead further used for commercial orbital launches of payloads. The LVS is managed, under sub-contract of GFZ, by the SpaceTech GmbH (STI) Launch Vehicle System Manager and is supported by the JPL Project and its contractors.

The GRACE-FO satellites will be launched from Baikonur / Kazakhstan into a co-planar Orbit with a target launch date of 5. August 2017 and following (GRACE-like) orbital parameters:

a = 490 ± 10 km
i = 89.0 ± 0.06°
e < 0.0025

Source Link (Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences): http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/en/research/organizational-units/departments/department-1/global-geomonitoring-and-gravity-field/topics/development-operation-and-analysis-of-gravity-field-satellite-missions/grace-fo/launch-vehicle-system/

Date of Validity: 13.12.2013
NASA/DLR MISSION GRACE-FO (Follow On) scheduled for launch on ISC Kosmotras Dnepr ILV on 05 August 2017.



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: 06/04/2018 11:20 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »

Online Chris Bergin

Iridium:

All Satellites for Sixth Iridium® NEXT Launch are in Pre-Launch Processing at Vandenberg Air Force Base

MCLEAN, Va. – April 25, 2018 - Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) announced today that all five Iridium NEXT satellites for its sixth launch are in processing at SpaceX’s west coast launch site, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This launch will increase the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in space to 55 and is the third Iridium launch to use a “flight-proven” SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Currently targeted for May 19, 2018 at 1:04:24 pm PDT (20:04:24 UTC), these Iridium NEXT satellites will be sharing this Falcon 9 with the twin spacecraft for the NASA/German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission.

Upon arrival at the launch site, each Iridium NEXT satellite began a number of pre-launch processing steps. These include mating them to the dispenser, fueling, stacking the Iridium NEXT and GRACE-FO dispensers on the Falcon 9 payload adapter, and encapsulation within the fairing. Once launched, the rocket will first deploy the twin GRACE-FO spacecraft, after which the second stage will continue onward and deploy the five Iridium NEXT satellites.

The operational Iridium constellation is comprised of 66 satellites divided into six polar orbiting planes with 11 satellites in each plane. All five satellites for this launch will be deployed to orbital plane six. To date, five Iridium NEXT launches carrying 10 satellites each have been completed, and over half of the Iridium NEXT constellation has been activated. Iridium has contracted with SpaceX to deliver 75 Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit, 66 operational and nine on-orbit spares, through a series of eight launches.

Iridium NEXT is the company’s $3 billion next-generation mobile, global satellite network scheduled for completion in 2018. Iridium NEXT will replace the Company’s existing global constellation in one of the largest technology upgrades ever completed in space.  It represents the evolution of critical communications infrastructure that governments and organizations worldwide rely upon to drive business, enable connectivity, empower disaster relief efforts and more. Iridium NEXT will enable and introduce new services like the Company’s next-generation communications platform, Iridium CertusSM, and the AireonSM space-based ADS-B aircraft surveillance and flight tracking network.

For more information about Iridium NEXT, please visit www.IridiumNEXT.com.

Online jacqmans

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April 30, 2018
RELEASE 18-029

Twin Spacecraft to Weigh in on Earth's Changing Water

A pair of new spacecraft that will observe our planet’s ever-changing water cycle, ice sheets, and crust is in final preparations for a California launch no earlier than Saturday, May 19. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), will take over where the first GRACE mission left off when it completed its 15-year mission in 2017. 

GRACE-FO will continue monitoring monthly changes in the distribution of mass within and among Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within the solid Earth itself. These data will provide unique insights into Earth’s changing climate, Earth system processes and even the impacts of some human activities, and will have far-reaching benefits to society, such as improving water resource management.

“Water is critical to every aspect of life on Earth – for health, for agriculture, for maintaining our way of living,” said Michael Watkins, GRACE-FO science lead and director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “You can’t manage it well until you can measure it. GRACE-FO provides a unique way to measure water in many of its phases, allowing us to manage water resources more effectively.”

Like GRACE, GRACE-FO will use an innovative technique to observe something that can’t be seen directly from space. It uses the weight of water to measure its movement – even water hidden far below Earth’s surface. GRACE-FO will do this by very precisely measuring the changes in the shape of Earth’s gravity field caused by the movement of massive amounts of water, ice, and solid Earth.

“When water is underground, it’s impossible to directly observe from space. There’s no picture you can take or radar you can bounce off the surface to measure changes in that deep water,” said Watkins. “But it has mass, and GRACE-FO is almost the only way we have of observing it on large scales. Similarly, tracking changes in the total mass of the polar ice sheets is also very difficult, but GRACE-FO essentially puts a ‘scale’ under them to track their changes over time.”

A Legacy of Discoveries

GRACE-FO will extend the GRACE data record an additional five years and expand its legacy of scientific achievements. GRACE chronicled the ongoing loss of mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and mountain glaciers. That wealth of data shed light on the key processes, short-term variability, and long-term trends that impact sea level rise, helping to improve sea level projections. The estimates of total water storage on land derived from GRACE data, from groundwater changes in deep aquifers to changes in soil moisture and surface water, are giving water managers new tools to measure the impact of droughts and monitor and forecast floods.

GRACE data also have been used to infer changes in deep ocean currents, a driving force in Earth’s climate. Its atmospheric temperature profile data, derived from measurements of how signals from the constellation of GPS satellites were bent as they traveled through the atmosphere and received by antennas on the GRACE satellites, have contributed to U.S. and European weather forecast products. GRACE data have even been used to measure changes within the solid Earth itself, including the response of Earth’s crust to the retreat of glaciers since the last Ice Age, and the impact of large earthquakes.

According to Frank Webb, GRACE-FO project scientist at JPL, the new mission will provide invaluable observations of long-term climate-related mass changes.

“The only way to know for sure whether observed multi-year trends represent long-term changes in mass balance is to extend the length of the observations,” Webb said.

An Orbiting Cat and Mouse

Like its predecessors, the two identical GRACE-FO satellites will function as a single instrument. The satellites orbit Earth about 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart, at an initial altitude of about 305 miles (490 kilometers). Each satellite continually sends microwave signals to the other to accurately measure changes in the distance between them. As they fly over a massive Earth feature, such as a mountain range or underground aquifer, the gravitational pull of that feature tugs on the satellites, changing the distance separating them. By tracking changes in their separation distance with incredible accuracy - to less than the thickness of a human hair - the satellites are able to map these regional gravity changes.

A global positioning system receiver is used to track each spacecraft’s position relative to Earth’s surface, and onboard accelerometers record non-gravitational forces on the spacecraft, such as atmospheric drag and solar radiation. These data are combined to produce monthly maps of the regional changes in global gravity and corresponding near-surface mass variations, which primarily reflect changes in the distribution of water mass in Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets.

In addition, GRACE-FO will test an experimental Laser Ranging Interferometer, an instrument that could increase the precision of measurements between the two spacecraft, by a factor of 10 or more, for future missions similar to GRACE. The interferometer, developed by a German/American instrument team, will be the first in-space demonstration of laser interferometry between satellites.

“The Laser Ranging Interferometer is an excellent example of a great partnership,” said Frank Flechtner, GFZ’s GRACE-FO project manager. “I’m looking forward to analyzing these innovative inter-satellite ranging data and their impact on gravity field modeling.”

GRACE-FO will be launched into orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites on a commercially procured SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This unique “rideshare” launch will first deploy GRACE-FO, then the Falcon 9 second stage will continue to a higher orbit to deploy the Iridium satellites.

GRACE-FO continues a successful partnership between NASA and Germany’s GFZ, with participation by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). JPL manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information on GRACE-FO, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/gracefo 
« Last Edit: 04/30/2018 05:19 PM by jacqmans »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Quote
T-minus 10 days until the #Iridium6/#GRACEFO #rideshare launch, and we're excited to share our official #IridiumNEXT 6th launch patch!  Come launch day, we'll share the hidden meaning and symbolism found within the design, so make sure to tune in then!  bit.ly/2yFW0dM

https://twitter.com/iridiumcomm/status/994261031911395328

Offline catdlr

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May 11, 2018
MEDIA ADVISORY M18-079
NASA Television to Air Coverage of Earth-Observing Satellite Duo Launch


Media are invited to cover the prelaunch briefing and launch of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), NASA’s latest Earth-observing satellite mission. The briefing on Thursday, May 17, and launch on Saturday, May 19, will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

A joint mission with the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), GRACE-FO will provide critical measurements that will be used together with other data to monitor the movement of water masses across the planet and mass changes within Earth itself. Monitoring changes in ice sheets and glaciers, underground water storage, and sea level provides a unique view of Earth’s climate and has far-reaching benefits. The mission is planned to fly at least five years.

The prelaunch news briefing will be held at 2 p.m. EDT May 17 at Vandenberg. Media who wish to participate by phone must contact Elena Mejia at [email protected] or 818-354-1712, no later than 12:30 p.m. May 17.

Media and the public also may ask questions during the event via social media using the hashtag #askNASA.

Briefing participants will be:

David Jarrett, GRACE-FO program executive in the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters
Frank Webb, GRACE-FO project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Frank Flechtner, GRACE-FO project manager at GFZ
Phil Morton, NASA GRACE-FO project manager at JPL
Capt. Jennifer Haden, weather officer for the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg
The satellites are scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 4:04 p.m. EDT May 19 from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. GRACE-FO will share its ride to orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as part of a commercial rideshare agreement. Launch coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

JPL manages the GRACE-FO mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. GFZ contracted GRACE-FO launch services from Iridium, and SpaceX is providing the Falcon 9 launch service.

More information on public launch viewing, as well as media coverage opportunities and logistics, is available at:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2018-095

Join the conversation online and follow GRACE-FO on Twitter and Facebook at:

https://www.twitter.com/NASAEarth

and

https://www.facebook.com/NASAEarth

-end-
Tony De La Rosa

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Hey @IridiumBoss, is May 19 still the target date for the next IridiumNext launch? Or you think it might slip a bit? #Falcon9

https://twitter.com/aerospaceknight/status/995648432164540416

Quote
Evaluating now.  No margin in the schedule.

https://twitter.com/iridiumboss/status/995650069058805761

Online Steven Pietrobon

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Here's a photo of the GRACE-FO satellites being integrated on their dispenser from

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7120

Weirdly, the bottom of photo has been darkened, perhaps to hide the attachment fitting. Anyways, using Gamma correction in Irfanview, we can easily make it out!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline scr00chy

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Here's a photo of the GRACE-FO satellites being integrated on their dispenser from

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7120

Weirdly, the bottom of photo has been darkened, perhaps to hide the attachment fitting. Anyways, using Gamma correction in Irfanview, we can easily make it out!
Here is an undarkened version with higher resolution. No need for conspiracy theories. :D

Offline gongora

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Tweets:

Jeff Foust:
Quote
[link] Desch: targeting no earlier than May 21 for next launch, a two-day slip. 12:53 pm PDT launch time that day.

Desch: for next launch, drop off GRACE-FO satellites first, then restart second stage to go to separate orbit to deploy five Iridium Next satellites in orbital plane six.

Desch: after this launch, three of six orbital planes will consist entirely of next-gen satellites.

Desch: 25 of our first-generation satellites have undergone “deorbiting process” so far, of which 15 have reentered.

Marcia Smith:
Quote
[link] Iridium CEO Matt Desch says on telecon that Saturday's launch has slipped until no earlier than Monday.  Will confirm later today.  Monday's launch time is 12:53 pm Pacific.

Stephen Clark:
Quote
[link] Iridium’s Desch: Currently 47 Iridium Next satellites in service, and 19 first-generation Block 1 satellites in service. Three of the five Iridium Next satellites launching next week will go into service in Plane 6, other two will begin their lives as spares.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2018 02:25 PM by gongora »

Offline gongora

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Further Tweets from Jeff Foust:
Quote
Desch: two-day delay is a “pretty minor processing issue” with the launch vehicle; don’t think it will slip further.

Desch: after next week’s launch, next Iridium Next launch will be in July, with final launch by the end of the third quarter.

Desch: those final two launches will be on new Block 5 Falcon 9 vehicles. Next week’s launch will used a previously-flown booster.

[edit: add one more]
Desch: should have all new Iridium Next satellites in place about 30 days after final launch. Plan to lower all older satellites into graveyard orbit perhaps by end of he year, but a few may take 20-25 years to come down.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2018 03:00 PM by gongora »

Offline Raul

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SpaceX Mission 1420 Iridium-6 / GRACE-FO Launch Hazard Areas based on issued NOTMAR messages, valid for May 19-23.
NOTAM for launch would be included later.

Hazard area intended for booster splashdown/fairing recovery is farthest of all Iridium missions, obviously due to relatively light payload now.
Note also, that there are two re-entry areas on the second orbit now. Usual area for stage2 debris reentry and next area active just 11 minutes after that, on the other side of Antarctica south of Africa.

No ASDS recovery position now, since that's expendable mission for B1043.2. NRC Quests should monitor booster reentry or water landing. Fairing recovery is assumed in this mission by Mr Steven, with new ribbons net. Operational positions of both ships will be included to map according to their AIS.

Quote
NAVAREA XII 213/2018 (18,21) 
EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC.
CALIFORNIA.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING
   191911Z TO 192050Z MAY, ALTERNATES
   201911Z TO 202050Z, 211911Z TO 212050Z,
   221911Z TO 222050Z, 231911Z TO 232050Z MAY
   IN AREA BOUND BY
   26°14N 120°00W, 26°15N 121°19W,
   29°00N 121°18W, 29°00N 120°00W.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 232150Z MAY 18.

HYDROPAC   1832/2018(GEN).
SOUTH PACIFIC.
SOUTHWESTERN INDIAN OCEAN.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, SATELLITE RE-ENTRY:
   A. 192144Z TO 192228Z MAY, ALTERNATES
      202144Z TO 202228Z, 212144Z TO 212228Z,
      222144Z TO 222228Z, 232144Z TO 232228Z MAY
      IN AREA BOUND BY
      50-54S 149-42W, 49-06S 140-48W,
      71-48S 130-00W, 72-48S 149-42W.
   B. 192155Z TO 192239Z MAY, ALTERNATES
      202155Z TO 202239Z, 212155Z TO 212239Z,
      222155Z TO 222239Z, 232155Z TO 232239Z MAY
      IN AREA BOUND BY
      67-04S 019-28E, 65-39S 010-16E,
      60-24S 012-33E, 52-30S 016-09E,
      46-44S 018-47E, 45-00S 022-31E,
      47-23S 027-58E, 53-19S 029-29E,
      61-20S 030-56E, 65-34S 031-34E.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 232339Z MAY 18.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Update to the Launch Update: Due to range availability at VAFB, #Iridium6/#GRACEFO is now targeting 1 day later; NET 5/22 with backup of 5/23. Instantaneous launch on 5/22 = 12:47:58 pm PDT (19:47:58 UTC) #IridiumNEXT #HereWeGo

https://twitter.com/IridiumComm/status/996516815865081856

Edit to add:

Quote
We were ready for 5/21, but the base isn't. Let's hope for good weather and a great launch on 5/22 instead. This is a great picture, btw... #WeAreReady

https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/996562455454199818
« Last Edit: 05/16/2018 09:01 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Online Chris Bergin

We think today is the Static Fire date. Things jumped around with the launch date, but if we get a visual of the booster on the pad, then we'll know.

Online Chris Bergin

She's on the pad - confirmed in L2 - for the Static Fire test.

ARTICLE: SpaceX Falcon 9 preparing for static fire ahead of Iridium NEXT-6/GRACE-FO mission -
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/05/spacex-falcon-9-static-fire-iridium-next-6-grace-fo/

- By Ian Atkinson
- Lead Photo from IR-5 by Jack Beyer

Offline RocketLover0119

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"The Falcon has landed"


Online Michael Baylor

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If you have any question ideas for the prelaunch briefing tomorrow morning feel free to send me a message. I will be attending for NSF. Please note that this briefing is for the GRACE-FO mission, so no SpaceX or Iridium questions.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2018 02:32 AM by Michael Baylor »

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Just arrived in California for Tuesday’s launch of Iridium-6/GRACE-FO.  Weather is looking very good for Tuesday, and everything else is on schedule.

https://twitter.com/iridiumboss/status/998357637728260096

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Thanks to Michael for tweeting this:

Quote
#SpaceX recovery vessel Mr. Steven has left the Port of LA and is heading down range to support a fairing recovery attempt during the Falcon 9 Iridium-6/GRACE-FO mission.

https://twitter.com/nextspaceflight/status/998410836879196160

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