Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Starlink Group 4-7 : KSC LC-39A : 3 February 2022 (18:13 UTC)  (Read 66268 times)

Offline webdan

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And link to Scott Manley's tweet about it:
https://twitter.com/DJSnM/status/1491212294184849408
« Last Edit: 02/09/2022 02:28 pm by webdan »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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The GOESS chart for this event.

Offline jcm

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Has anyone seen any news concerning other satellites (in general) and Starlinks (in particular)? There should be >150 S/C undergoing orbit-raising experiencing similar issues - even if not so severe as to bring them down in a matter of hours, there can have been issues with them as well, especially for the 4-6 group launched just a few days prior.

This event has single-handedly doubled early mortality numbers for Starlink.

jcm updated his plots with data through yesterday for the previous 3 launches (4-4, 4-5, and 4-6) , and they all look like they are continuing to operate normally. "Normally" means raising to ~350 km, which starts within 36 hours of launch, and then drifting to precess until they are in plane to continue raising. There are plenty of sats both drifting and raising as of yesterday, and it all looks nominal.

The 4-7 batch are now 9 days post-launch and never started the L+36 hour raise. They are clearly behaving much differently then the previous 3 launches. I don't think there's anything here to worry about for the earlier launches.

https://planet4589.org/space/stats/star/starstats.html

Thanks for the link! Indeed, looks like the orbit-raising process to the intermediate altitude takes about three weeks, which the 4-6 batch had just spent in orbit at the time of the storm.


Yes, the earlier launches will be fine. Remember the atmo density falls off VERY fast with altitude so at say 300 km you could increase the density by a LARGE factor and still be less than the normal density at 210 km.

Still unclear if the problems were control authority, thrust-to-drag ratio too low to stop decay, or electric propulsion issues of some kind, or a combo. I am guessing lack of control authority at the high densities was the issue.

And of course the root cause: SpaceX forgetting we are no longer at solar minimum, and unexpected rapid density rises are a thing. A not uncommon thing that will become more common and more dramatic over the next couple years towards solar max.
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Online vaporcobra

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I made a very basic graphic depicting 34 of 36 Starlink launches and all solar weather events > +/- 50 nT over the last two years. It honestly looks like SpaceX just got very lucky that something like this took so long to happen. Events of the severity of February 3rd's appear to be pretty common.

Given the proximity of several other Starlink launches to somewhat weaker storms, unless Feb 3rd's was a fluke, I find it very hard to believe that constellation operators weren't aware of their impact on atmospheric density. That leaves three obvious explanations, in my mind: go-fever, a fluke space weather event, or some nonlinear/unintuitive relationship between solar weather and atmospheric density.

Via http://wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/dst_realtime/202001/index.html

🔴 = Starlink launch
🔵 = solar weather event > +/- 50 nT
« Last Edit: 02/09/2022 07:45 pm by vaporcobra »

Online Yiosie

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I made a very basic graphic depicting 34 of 36 Starlink launches and all solar weather events > +/- 50 nT over the last two years. It honestly looks like SpaceX just got very lucky that something like this took so long to happen. Events of the severity of February 3rd's appear to be pretty common.

Given the proximity of several other Starlink launches to somewhat weaker storms, unless Feb 3rd's was a fluke, I find it very hard to believe that constellation operators weren't aware of their impact on atmospheric density. That leaves three obvious explanations, in my mind: go-fever, a fluke space weather event, or some nonlinear/unintuitive relationship between solar weather and atmospheric density.

Via http://wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/dst_realtime/202001/index.html

🔴 = Starlink launch
🔵 = solar weather event > +/- 50 nT

A "nonlinear/unintuitive relationship between solar weather and atmospheric density" may be a key reason, given this statement reported in SpaceNews:

Dozens of Starlink satellites from latest launch to reenter after geomagnetic storm

Quote
While SpaceX emphasized the severe nature of the storm, forecasts before the launch, and data collected during it, indicated only a minor storm. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said Feb. 2 it expected a moderate geomagnetic storm, rated G2 on a scale of G1 to G5, that day, going down to G1 on Feb. 3, the day of the launch. The Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 45 predicted only a low risk from space weather in the last forecast it issued before the launch. Other satellite operators have not reported issues with their spacecraft, but were not in SpaceX’s unique position of having satellites in very low orbits.

Offline JayWee

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Article: Lower-thermosphere response to solar activity: an empirical-mode-decomposition analysis of GOCE 2009–2012 data
https://angeo.copernicus.org/articles/38/789/2020/

Offline 1

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Ouch. Do you think they are insured?
How could the atmospheric density prevent the satellites from exitting the safe mode?

The possibility of drag now overpowering the ability of the ion engine to escape is certainly plausible, as discusses up thread.

But we need to understand what 'safe mode' means in this case. Most of the time, a satellite in safe mode at least has some contingency operations available. Primary among these, is that a satellite in safe mode is often assumed to at least have nominal power available for generation to allow time for ground intervention/mitigation.

If, however, starlink was deliberately commanded to fly edge on to reduce drag, then insufficient energy may be a reason that most of these sats can't wake up.  Off-nominal or deliberately delayed solar panel deployment could plausibly lead to a condition where the onboard batteries have discharged to the point where they can no longer power the main systems. Most satellites attempt to deploy their solar arras rather quickly, and into full sunlight so that the sat can at least be power positive during subsequent checkouts. But if attitude control is lost and positive power can't be established, then the sats would be doomed and the few that survived may have just been lucky.

Radiation doesn't change appreciably between the deployment altitude and the operational altitude, so I wouldn't expect radiation to be an issue. At lower orbits, you'll have elevated trapped proton and trapped electron numbers, but accounting for solar activity is SOP when designing missions. You'll often see numbers for worst week, worst day, all the way down to 5 minute peak. More likely that the issue was exactly as stated in the update; increased drag to the point where SpaceX simply didn't have a good contingency plan.

In the next weeks, I'd expect a slight increase in the deployment altitude and more strict inclusion of solar weather in the launch violation criteria. All IMHO, of course. SpaceX obviously isn't afraid to lose hardware, but I do bet this launch has to sting a bit.

Online Rondaz

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B1061 seemed to arrive overnight with a very sliiiight lean to it....

https://twitter.com/SpaceOffshore/status/1491534717916692483

Offline pb2000

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Scott Manly has interpreted the problem as the atmospheric drag is over powering the ability of the magnetic torquers to point the satellite in the right direction. I didn't quite get if he meant that as just to deploy the solar arrays or to maintain orientation after deployment so the orbit could be raised.

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Offline AndyH

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Online Rondaz

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Folks have been waiting for this one! Glad to say that the booster's back… at Rusty's at the Port!

https://twitter.com/RustysInThePort/status/1491549061354303488

Offline ThereIWas3

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The solar flares that cause such events can happen several days before Earth feels anything.  SpaceX needs to hire the services of Space Weather forecasters (there are such people, like Tamitha Skov) who keep an eye on such things so SpaceX will have a heads up before official government warnings come out.

Offline Jim

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The solar flares that cause such events can happen several days before Earth feels anything.  SpaceX needs to hire the services of Space Weather forecasters (there are such people, like Tamitha Skov) who keep an eye on such things so SpaceX will have a heads up before official government warnings come out.

not true in both cases

Online Vettedrmr

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The solar flares that cause such events can happen several days before Earth feels anything.  SpaceX needs to hire the services of Space Weather forecasters (there are such people, like Tamitha Skov) who keep an eye on such things so SpaceX will have a heads up before official government warnings come out.

It's not that SpaceX didn't know about it, but that they didn't expect the atmospheric response that occurred.
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Online Rondaz

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Online Rondaz

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Booster 1061 going horizontal after 6 flights.

https://twitter.com/JennyHPhoto/status/1491852111499476994

Scott Manly has interpreted the problem as the atmospheric drag is over powering the ability of the magnetic torquers to point the satellite in the right direction. I didn't quite get if he meant that as just to deploy the solar arrays or to maintain orientation after deployment so the orbit could be raised.


https://twitter.com/esherifftv/status/1491508425519370242?s=20&t=cHh_gtDD58tNegmW2wKFhg

Ouch. Do you think they are insured?
How could the atmospheric density prevent the satellites from exitting the safe mode?
this video also tells that whether this launch was insured or not it has no significant loss as launching starlinks on b1051 was also risky where you can loose all satellite on launch is nothing significant in its launch this video was represented by Jonathan mcdowell only
« Last Edit: 02/11/2022 07:17 pm by Chinakpradhan »

Online Twark_Main

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What I usually tell people whenever this Amos-6 issue comes up is that counting this is up to each one, if you are counting, Spacex launches, Amos-6 would not count since there was never even a launch attempt, if you are going to count SpaceX missions, then Amos-6 would count since it was a mission that just didn't launch.


I personally count SpaceX missions and always make the clarification that Amos-6 is included.

What thread can we place the launch record discussion? This is kinda deviating from the Starlink mission topic.

You had to jinx it, didn't you Zach...    8)

So this counts as a successful SpaceX launch and a failed SpaceX mission, correct?

If the satellite operator had this issue, we would certainly classify this as a failed mission. Only difference is that in this case SpaceX is both the satellite operator and the launch provider, but a failed mission is a failed mission.

If a Starship payload was lost on the way to Mars we would certainly be calling it a "failed mission." This payload loss occurred even closer, "only" on its way to LEO.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2022 10:38 am by Twark_Main »
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Online Rekt1971

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What I usually tell people whenever this Amos-6 issue comes up is that counting this is up to each one, if you are counting, Spacex launches, Amos-6 would not count since there was never even a launch attempt, if you are going to count SpaceX missions, then Amos-6 would count since it was a mission that just didn't launch.


I personally count SpaceX missions and always make the clarification that Amos-6 is included.

What thread can we place the launch record discussion? This is kinda deviating from the Starlink mission topic.

You had to jinx it, didn't you Zach...    8)

So this counts as a successful SpaceX launch and a failed SpaceX mission, correct?

If the satellite operator had this issue, we would certainly classify this as a failed mission. Only difference is that in this case SpaceX is both the satellite operator and the launch provider, but a failed mission is a failed mission.


No, the problem with calling AMOS-6 a failed launch is that it wasn't a launch. It should count as a failure of the launch vehicle since the F9 explosion destroyed the payload, ergo failed mission.

You cannot count this as a failed mission for F9 as it didn't cause the loss of satellites.

Quote
If a Starship payload was lost on the way to Mars we would certainly be calling it a "failed mission." This payload loss occurred even closer, "only" on its way to LEO.

How was it lost on its way to LEO? The target orbit was 340x211 km which was achieved, the second stage deployed the satellites where they remained for several days.

If Starship *WAS* the payload and it would be lost on its way to Mars you might count it as a failed mission (although that might be disputed).
However, If Starship launched a satellite, deployed it and the satellite would fail afterward you couldn't count it as a failed Starship mission as the LV wasn't the cause for the loss of payload.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2022 01:16 pm by Rekt1971 »

Offline meekGee

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What I usually tell people whenever this Amos-6 issue comes up is that counting this is up to each one, if you are counting, Spacex launches, Amos-6 would not count since there was never even a launch attempt, if you are going to count SpaceX missions, then Amos-6 would count since it was a mission that just didn't launch.


I personally count SpaceX missions and always make the clarification that Amos-6 is included.

What thread can we place the launch record discussion? This is kinda deviating from the Starlink mission topic.

You had to jinx it, didn't you Zach...    8)

So this counts as a successful SpaceX launch and a failed SpaceX mission, correct?

If the satellite operator had this issue, we would certainly classify this as a failed mission. Only difference is that in this case SpaceX is both the satellite operator and the launch provider, but a failed mission is a failed mission.


No, the problem with calling AMOS-6 a failed launch is that it wasn't a launch. It should count as a failure of the launch vehicle since the F9 explosion destroyed the payload, ergo failed mission.

You cannot count this as a failed mission for F9 as it didn't cause the loss of satellites.

Quote
If a Starship payload was lost on the way to Mars we would certainly be calling it a "failed mission." This payload loss occurred even closer, "only" on its way to LEO.

How was it lost on its way to LEO? The target orbit was 340x211 km which was achieved, the second stage deployed the satellites where they remained for several days.

If Starship *WAS* the payload and it would be lost on its way to Mars you might count it as a failed mission (although that might be disputed).
However, If Starship launched a satellite, deployed it and the satellite would fail afterward you couldn't count it as a failed Starship mission as the LV wasn't the cause for the loss of payload.
Heh Amos 6 being failed mission without being a failed launch is odd but weirdly logical..
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