Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : PACE : CCSFS SLC-40 : 8 February 2024 (06:33 UTC)  (Read 50816 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Discussion Thread for PACE mission.

NSF Threads for PACE : Discussion

Launch 8 February 2024, at 06:33:36 UTC (1:33 am EST), on Falcon 9 B1081-4 (flight proven) from Cape Canaveral SLC-40.  First stage successfully landed at LZ-1.

Mass with fuel:   Not to exceed 1700 kg (3748 lb)
Nominal spacecraft altitude is 676.5 kilometers (420 miles) with an inclination of 98°.




February 04, 2020
CONTRACT RELEASE C20-004
NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Earth Science Mission

NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission.

The total cost for NASA to launch PACE is approximately $80.4 million, which includes the launch service and other mission related costs. The PACE mission currently is targeted to launch in December 2022 on a Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The PACE mission represents the nation’s next great investment in understanding and protecting our home planet. The mission will provide global ocean color, cloud, and aerosol data that will provide unprecedented insights into oceanographic and atmospheric responses to Earth’s changing climate. PACE will help scientists investigate the diversity of organisms fueling marine food webs and the U.S. economy, and deliver advanced data products to reduce uncertainties in global climate models and improve our interdisciplinary understanding of the Earth system.

NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the SpaceX launch service. The PACE mission is managed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about NASA’s Earth science programs, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/earth

-end-
« Last Edit: 02/08/2024 06:08 am by zubenelgenubi »
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Online Chris Bergin

Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #1 on: 02/04/2020 09:18 pm »
SpaceX Statement:

NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) has awarded SpaceX launch of the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission on a flight-proven Falcon 9. Additional information on the award can be found here, and the following statement can be attributed to SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell.

“SpaceX is honored to continue supporting NASA’s critical scientific observational missions by launching PACE, which will help humanity better understand, protect, and preserve our planet.”

SpaceX has completed 82 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missions to-date, including two for NASA’s LSP – Jason-3 and TESS. In addition to PACE, SpaceX’s future launch manifest includes NASA’s LSP missions SWOT, Sentinel-6A, DART, and IXPE.
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Offline armchairfan

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #2 on: 02/05/2020 01:36 am »
The total cost for NASA to launch PACE is approximately $80.4 million, which includes the launch service and other mission related costs.

Even with "other mission related costs", I would imagine that SpaceX will make a large profit on this flight even though I also imagine that they had the lowest bid. Putting a 1700 kg satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit, even from Canveral (edit; OK, that might be hard; certainly it'd be easy from Vandenberg) seems like a softball for them and (I'm guessing) it will be a return-to-launch-site mission.

Not that I'm complaining, even as a US taxpayer. I'd like to see beyond earth orbit human exploration and IMO I get better bang-for-the buck having the US Govt give money straight to SpaceX, than spending it themselves trying to accomplish lesser and more expensive BEO objectives. Such is the world we live in....
« Last Edit: 02/05/2020 01:45 am by armchairfan »

Online gongora

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #3 on: 02/05/2020 02:28 am »
This was in the 2019 GAO assessment of major NASA projects:
Quote
Launch
The PACE project is continuing to pursue a shared ride agreement with the Air Force, which could help to mitigate a launch vehicle risk that the project is tracking. The launch vehicle cost remains one of the project’s top risks, which could cause the project to exceed the $705 million allocated to the project or have to reduce its science capabilities. The project has $105 million budgeted toward the launch vehicle, but officials say a rideshare would significantly reduce costs. NASA and the Air Force have determined there is a path for a shared launch vehicle procurement, but no partner mission has been identified. The project currently plans to begin the procurement process in early 2019 and award the launch vehicle contract in November 2019.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #4 on: 02/05/2020 08:50 am »
Now I could be silly and state that PACE could have launched on a Vega-C for ~35mln euro.
But I prefer giving some positive news. One of the three instruments of PACE is developed and build in the Netherlands. SPEXone

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #5 on: 02/05/2020 11:56 am »
Now I could be silly and state that PACE could have launched on a Vega-C for ~35mln euro.
But I prefer giving some positive news. One of the three instruments of PACE is developed and build in the Netherlands. SPEXone

Vega-C hasn't flown yet and thus would not be certified by LSP which is a requirement to bid. Vega doesn't have the performance for this mission, and so even without the political issues, Ariane could not have won this mission with Vega.

The competition in this performance bracket among potentially certifiable vehicles is between Antares, Euro Soyuz, F9R, and Atlas V. Antares is around $80 to $85M, and I think Euro Soyuz is in the same price bracket. Atlas V 401 is at least $110M plus more for NASA-specific services.

So F9R even at $80M was probably the cheapest option, even considering Ariane's current vehicles.

Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #6 on: 02/05/2020 12:27 pm »
Now I could be silly and state that PACE could have launched on a Vega-C for ~35mln euro.
But I prefer giving some positive news. One of the three instruments of PACE is developed and build in the Netherlands. SPEXone

Vega-C hasn't flown yet and thus would not be certified by LSP which is a requirement to bid. Vega doesn't have the performance for this mission, and so even without the political issues, Ariane could not have won this mission with Vega.

The competition in this performance bracket among potentially certifiable vehicles is between Antares, Euro Soyuz, F9R, and Atlas V. Antares is around $80 to $85M, and I think Euro Soyuz is in the same price bracket. Atlas V 401 is at least $110M plus more for NASA-specific services.

So F9R even at $80M was probably the cheapest option, even considering Ariane's current vehicles.

What part of "I could be silly..." (bolded above) didn't you read?

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #7 on: 02/05/2020 01:08 pm »
Now I could be silly and state that PACE could have launched on a Vega-C for ~35mln euro.
But I prefer giving some positive news. One of the three instruments of PACE is developed and build in the Netherlands. SPEXone

Vega-C hasn't flown yet and thus would not be certified by LSP which is a requirement to bid. Vega doesn't have the performance for this mission, and so even without the political issues, Ariane could not have won this mission with Vega.

The competition in this performance bracket among potentially certifiable vehicles is between Antares, Euro Soyuz, F9R, and Atlas V. Antares is around $80 to $85M, and I think Euro Soyuz is in the same price bracket. Atlas V 401 is at least $110M plus more for NASA-specific services.

So F9R even at $80M was probably the cheapest option, even considering Ariane's current vehicles.

What part of "I could be silly..." (bolded above) didn't you read?

I don't think it's silly. NASA should be able to certify European LVs, and source bids for launches. More competition is better for everyone.

I think F9R would have beat Vega-C in a bid anyway. We know it's already beating Pegasus, and that it has definite potential to move further down the market.

Offline abaddon

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #8 on: 02/05/2020 02:25 pm »
Now I could be silly and state that PACE could have launched on a Vega-C for ~35mln euro.
That would be silly, because it would be the equivalent of saying it could have launched on a Falcon 9 for $50 million US.  Extra services required by NASA (and USAF) are a real thing and are expensive.  It's also the total cost of the launch, and in the past we've seen that not all the money is going to SpaceX as there is e.g. payload processing to consider.  (There's also the possibility that a future ride share booking will reduce the impact on NASA, but there is no news of such a rideshare at this time).

Separately, is this the first time a NASA LSP flight booked on a Falcon 9 will use a flight-proven core?  I don't remember any others, but I might have missed it.

Offline abaddon

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #9 on: 02/05/2020 02:27 pm »
What part of "I could be silly..." (bolded above) didn't you read?
So you're telling me I could put "I could be silly" before anything and then if someone calls me on it I get to say "I said I was being silly"?  C'mon @woods170, you're better than that.

Online gongora

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #10 on: 02/05/2020 02:28 pm »
Separately, is this the first time a NASA LSP flight booked on a Falcon 9 will use a flight-proven core?  I don't remember any others, but I might have missed it.

IXPE

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #11 on: 02/05/2020 02:35 pm »
Now I could be silly and state that PACE could have launched on a Vega-C for ~35mln euro.
That would be silly, because it would be the equivalent of saying it could have launched on a Falcon 9 for $50 million US.  Extra services required by NASA (and USAF) are a real thing and are expensive.  It's also the total cost of the launch, and in the past we've seen that not all the money is going to SpaceX as there is e.g. payload processing to consider.  (There's also the possibility that a future ride share booking will reduce the impact on NASA, but there is no news of such a rideshare at this time).

Separately, is this the first time a NASA LSP flight booked on a Falcon 9 will use a flight-proven core?  I don't remember any others, but I might have missed it.

IXPE is launching for $42M, and includes 5 mission-specific services. I don't know how many services NASA bought for PACE, but I'm guessing probably not an additional ~100% of the base launch cost.

PACE might require a ASDS recovery which would be an upcharge over IXPE which can probably go RTLS, But even that probably isn't enough to explain much of the difference.

I think most of the price difference from IXPE is SpaceX knowing that they only had to beat Antares and Atlas at $85-$110+ million, instead of having to beat Pegasus at $45-$55 million.

Offline abaddon

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #12 on: 02/05/2020 02:39 pm »
Separately, is this the first time a NASA LSP flight booked on a Falcon 9 will use a flight-proven core?  I don't remember any others, but I might have missed it.

IXPE
I haven't looked at LSP certification stuff in a long time, do you know (or does anyone else know) if a flight-proven booster is in a different (higher-risk) category than a new booster?

(Since SpaceX keeps picking up Delta II/Pegasus class launches but can't seem to secure higher-priced missions, I'm not sure we could tell the difference right now.  I went to look at the graphic they used to have with future missions and what LV they were assigned to but I can't find that anymore either.)

Offline abaddon

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #13 on: 02/05/2020 02:43 pm »
IXPE is launching for $42M, [...] I think most of the price difference from IXPE is SpaceX knowing that they only had to beat Antares and Atlas at $85-$110+ million, instead of having to beat Pegasus at $45-$55 million.
Maybe, but I could swear I read somewhere that IXPC was a rideshare, but my googling has shown just speculation that it will be.

Regarding the services question, services are not equal for spacecraft.  Unfortunately we rarely get that kind of information as to what the bid price was for the base launcher and how much goes to services (or even how much goes to e.g. payload processing done by a different company).  So it's hard to compare across missions.  I will admit that claiming they are always expensive is not well supported, we just don't know in this case.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #14 on: 02/05/2020 02:59 pm »
IXPE is launching for $42M, [...] I think most of the price difference from IXPE is SpaceX knowing that they only had to beat Antares and Atlas at $85-$110+ million, instead of having to beat Pegasus at $45-$55 million.
Maybe, but I could swear I read somewhere that IXPC was a rideshare, but my googling has shown just speculation that it will be.

Regarding the services question, services are not equal for spacecraft.  Unfortunately we rarely get that kind of information as to what the bid price was for the base launcher and how much goes to services (or even how much goes to e.g. payload processing done by a different company).  So it's hard to compare across missions.  I will admit that claiming they are always expensive is not well supported, we just don't know in this case.

SpaceX might be able, if they want, to sell some excess capacity on the IXPE launch to a rideshare, but equatorial LEO is an oddball orbit so I doubt they will find one that is ready to go and can pay enough to be worth the hassle.

I find it more odd that SSO launches like PACE aren't more frequently rideshares. There should be a much larger market.

Offline abaddon

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #15 on: 02/05/2020 03:21 pm »
I find it more odd that SSO launches like PACE aren't more frequently rideshares. There should be a much larger market.
The PACE contract was just signed for a 2022 launch, and the PACE folks were previously openly hoping for a rideshare to reduce cost.  I think there's an excellent chance it will end up having co-passengers by the time it flies.

Online Comga

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #16 on: 02/05/2020 04:12 pm »
Now I could be silly and state that PACE could have launched on a Vega-C for ~35mln euro.
But I prefer giving some positive news. One of the three instruments of PACE is developed and build in the Netherlands. SPEXone

Vega-C hasn't flown yet and thus would not be certified by LSP which is a requirement to bid. Vega doesn't have the performance for this mission, and so even without the political issues, Ariane could not have won this mission with Vega.

The competition in this performance bracket among potentially certifiable vehicles is between Antares, Euro Soyuz, F9R, and Atlas V. Antares is around $80 to $85M, and I think Euro Soyuz is in the same price bracket. Atlas V 401 is at least $110M plus more for NASA-specific services.

So F9R even at $80M was probably the cheapest option, even considering Ariane's current vehicles.

Not that Rik was really refuting the value of Falcon 9, but we know from IXPE that the price of Falcon 9 to NASA is around $50M. Therefore there are about $30 of “other services” that would have to be added to competing rockets’ “list price”.


To beat Falcon 9 a similar sized rocket needs something other than price.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #17 on: 02/05/2020 10:49 pm »
I could just as well replaced Vega-C with PSLV or Soyuz 2.1v. All US commercial smallsats had to go outside of the US for an affordable launch. Hopefully Rocketlabs, Firefly, Virgin Orbital and Astra Space can change this.
Why can't PACE launch for 5000 $/kg or $8,5mln + 30mln services?
It's a plain SSO launch. If NASA permits SpaceX to sell the residual capacity under their smallsat program, the main satellite should have roughly the same $/kg.
$50mln/1700kg gives ~29,4K $/kg.
That's nearly six times the smallsat program fare.

Could this possibly have something to do with launching from Vandenberg instead of the East coast?
[No, Multiple sources state it will launch from Cape Canaveral.]

In Europe launch orders are delayed so Vega-C and Ariane 6 can prove themselves with their maiden launch. (Sentinel C & D's) Why doesn't this happen in the US?
This is more related to the IXPE launch contract. AFAIK that should have been a Venture class payload.

But this is pennies if you compare it with SLS and Orion. I'm glad with how ESA / Europe deal's with their launchers if I compare it to the US.
« Last Edit: 02/05/2020 11:07 pm by Rik ISS-fan »

Online gongora

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #18 on: 02/06/2020 02:49 am »
In Europe launch orders are delayed so Vega-C and Ariane 6 can prove themselves with their maiden launch. (Sentinel C & D's) Why doesn't this happen in the US?

I'm not aware of any US launch vehicles nearing the end of development that would be suitable for this payload?  If NASA is paying for the launch then it's going on a US vehicle.  If ESA or JAXA were partnering on the mission then there might be other options like Vega-C or H-3.

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX F9: PACE - Cape Canaveral - December 2022
« Reply #19 on: 02/06/2020 03:19 am »
There's no current or soon to be available competition in the domestic market for this launch class. The upcoming small satellite launchers are too small.

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