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SpaceX Vehicles and Missions => SpaceX Missions Section => Topic started by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/14/2017 01:07 PM

Title: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/14/2017 01:07 PM
Discussion Thread for unknown Northrop Grumman payload Codename Zuma mission.


NSF Threads for Codename Zuma : Discussion (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43976.0) / Updates (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.0) / L2 Coverage November-December (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44111.0) January-February (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44312.0) / ASDS (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=66.0) / Party (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40089.msg1520968#msg1520968)

NSF Articles for Codename Zuma :
   [Oct. 16, 2017] SpaceX adds mystery “Zuma” mission, Iridium-4 aims for Vandenberg landing (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/10/spacex-zuma-iridium-4-aims-vandenberg-landing/)
   [Nov. 11, 2017] SpaceX static fires Zuma Falcon 9; engine test anomaly no issue for manifest (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/11/spacex-static-fire-zuma-falcon-9-engine-no-issue-manifest/)
   [Jan. 7, 2018] SpaceX launches clandestine Zuma satellite – questions over spacecraft’s health (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/01/spacex-falcon-9-launch-clandestine-zuma-satellite/)

Launched Jan. 7, 2018 at 2000 EST (0100 UTC on the 8th) on new booster 1043.  Successful RTLS landing at CCAFS.  Falcon 9 performance said to be nominal.  Classified payload rumored to be lost, circumstances unclear.



Getting this started per this FCC launch license from yesterday


There are approved FCC licences for an RTLS launch 1390 from 39A on November 10th.

1446-EX-ST-2017:
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80568&RequestTimeout=1000 (https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80568&RequestTimeout=1000)

1318-EX-ST-2017:
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80217&RequestTimeout=1000 (https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80217&RequestTimeout=1000)

Licenses call for this to go from LC-39A on 10 November 2017 and RTLS to LZ-1.

Currently targeting launch 12 days after Koreasat (which is NET 30 October).



Other SpaceX resources on NASASpaceflight:
   SpaceX News Articles (Recent) (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/spacex/)
   SpaceX News Articles from 2006 (Including numerous exclusive Elon interviews) (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21862.0)
   SpaceX Dragon Articles (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/dragon/)
   SpaceX Missions Section (with Launch Manifest and info on past and future missions) (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=55.0)

   L2 SpaceX Section (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=60.0)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: SmallKing on 10/14/2017 01:28 PM
Even launchphotography.com and SFN didn't have any information about this launch, it's more like a military payload I thought
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: wannamoonbase on 10/14/2017 01:40 PM
Interesting.  Something they kept this quiet, I wonder if there will even be a webcast
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 10/14/2017 01:42 PM
I'm thinking if there are any light geostationary comsats (say 2 to 3.5 tonnes) around that had never had a launch contract announced, or even without their identities known, that might be launching by now.

For example, there was that 3 Boeing 702SP order from the US government in 2013 (https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1403/12boeing702sp/) that cannot be pinned down to any known satellite and was once floated around as a candidate for NROL-76 earlier this year. So far none of them seemed to have been launched yet, and if they are launched on F9 one at a time the 1st stage would have easily made an RTLS.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vapour_nudge on 10/14/2017 02:02 PM
Perhaps it's another PAN or CLIO type launch similar to what was launched on Atlas V. The agency responsible for those sats wasn't even named. Assuming, of course, this is military.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 10/14/2017 02:20 PM
Maybe this mission will use B1043.

Just a total assumption; nothing to do with L2 info.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 10/14/2017 02:22 PM
Interesting.  Something they kept this quiet, I wonder if there will even be a webcast

If SpaceX does not stream this launch, the only evidence of a successful launch/landing will be from spectators and photographers at the press sites.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: su27k on 10/14/2017 02:32 PM
Does SpaceX need to file papers with FCC if it's a government payload? I thought the filing is only for commercial launches. Kind of defeat the purpose of a secret payload if you have to get public license from FCC.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Thorny on 10/14/2017 02:37 PM
Dragonlab?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 10/14/2017 02:38 PM
Dragonlab?

Unlikely, SpaceX would be talking it up to recruit future customers.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jfallen on 10/14/2017 02:58 PM
Since it seems speculation is permitted, I'm going to go with a Starlink launch.  Keep it quiet to not tip the hand?

Or there is simply a commercial customer that doesn't want it announced.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 10/14/2017 03:10 PM
Since it seems speculation is permitted, I'm going to go with a Starlink launch.  Keep it quiet to not tip the hand?

Or there is simply a commercial customer that doesn't want it announced.
Unless this is a used booster, I don't see SpaceX launching their own payload on a new one.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Oberon_Command on 10/14/2017 03:14 PM
SpaceFlightNow lists a Falcon 9 launch with "Hispasat 30W-6" in 4th quarter 2017 before two other November launches, but no specific date. Could this be that launch?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gth871r on 10/14/2017 03:18 PM
Any possibility this is SpaceIL or some other Lunar X-Prize entrant?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 10/14/2017 03:18 PM
Since it seems speculation is permitted, I'm going to go with a Starlink launch.  Keep it quiet to not tip the hand?

Or there is simply a commercial customer that doesn't want it announced.

Starlink sats (Microsats 2a, -b) are launching as secondary payloads with Paz next year.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/14/2017 03:36 PM
SpaceFlightNow lists a Falcon 9 launch with "Hispasat 30W-6" in 4th quarter 2017 before two other November launches, but no specific date. Could this be that launch?

No.  Hispasat is GTO and way too heavy for RTLS.

This is an as yet publicly unannounced mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: input~2 on 10/14/2017 03:46 PM
In these FCC licenses, the "operation start date" of the"requested period of operation" (here November 10) is not necessarily the planned launch date..
For example the requested period of operation for the last Iridium Next launch from Vandenberg (SpaceX Mission 1339)[/font] started on September 30, and the launch took place on October 9
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Bubbinski on 10/14/2017 03:49 PM
Will this be a new core, or a flight-proven core?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/14/2017 03:49 PM
In these FCC licenses, the "operation start date" of the"requested period of operation" (here November 10) is not necessarily the planned launch date..
For example the requested period of operation for the last Iridium Next launch from Vandenberg (SpaceX Mission 1339)[/font] started on September 30, and the launch took place on October 9

When they filed the launch license for Iridium 3, 30 September was the target launch date.  It then slipped to 4 Oct and then 9 Oct.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 10/14/2017 03:54 PM
In these FCC licenses, the "operation start date" of the"requested period of operation" (here November 10) is not necessarily the planned launch date..

Yes, but they are usually the expected NET dates at the time of requesting the license. CRS-13 license has a start date of Nov. 28 for example. This one was also previously assigned to pad 40 and only recently moved to 39A
previous lilcense:
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80178&RequestTimeout=1000

This suggest that they want to fly it before pad 40 is ready.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/14/2017 04:03 PM
How about the Boeing Satellite Constellation (this launch being a prototype)? Had some strong rumors that Apple was funding it, the launch would fit for a LZ-1 landing, and would make sense for a "stealth" appearance.

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2017/04/21/boing-apple-satellite-service/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 10/14/2017 04:07 PM
Will this be a new core, or a flight-proven core?
There is L2 info regarding this.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 10/14/2017 04:14 PM
How about the Boeing Satellite Constellation (this launch being a prototype)? Had some strong rumors that Apple was funding it, the launch would fit for a LZ-1 landing, and would make sense for a "stealth" appearance.

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2017/04/21/boing-apple-satellite-service/

Had this originates from Vandenberg I would have bet something like this (prototype satellites for any of the aspiring constellations). However they would need higher inclination orbits for simulating actual operations (probably eliminating any target orbit of below 60 degrees inclination) In the case that a huge dog-leg movement can be used, I fail to see why they would launch from the busier Cape instead of from the West Coast.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Barrie on 10/14/2017 04:21 PM
... I fail to see why they would launch from the busier Cape instead of from the West Coast.

Maybe at the time it was planned they didn't have clearance for RTLS at VAFB, so an east-coast launch allowed cheaper operations?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kryten on 10/14/2017 04:22 PM
Does SpaceX need to file papers with FCC if it's a government payload? I thought the filing is only for commercial launches. Kind of defeat the purpose of a secret payload if you have to get public license from FCC.
The PAN and CLIO launches were also procured commercially.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/14/2017 04:30 PM
How about the Boeing Satellite Constellation (this launch being a prototype)? Had some strong rumors that Apple was funding it, the launch would fit for a LZ-1 landing, and would make sense for a "stealth" appearance.

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2017/04/21/boing-apple-satellite-service/

Had this originates from Vandenberg I would have bet something like this (prototype satellites for any of the aspiring constellations). However they would need higher inclination orbits for simulating actual operations (probably eliminating any target orbit of below 60 degrees inclination) In the case that a huge dog-leg movement can be used, I fail to see why they would launch from the busier Cape instead of from the West Coast.

Speculating a justification, but most likely not one of the Boeing internet constellation satellites:

-Since this would be a test satellite, it wouldnt need to launch on the better coverage route of polar, so a launch from the East coast will allow SpaceX to launch the satellite and recover the booster on land vs barge, saving money.
-Secondly, since the East coast flight would be closer to the equator, it would allow more passes near existing GEO satellite downlink stations for the test satellite, helping Boeing to quickly check out the system without needing to build dedicated ground infrastructure.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zack on 10/14/2017 04:41 PM
The Audi lunar rover?

But more likely another NRO Club thingy...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/14/2017 04:44 PM
... I fail to see why they would launch from the busier Cape instead of from the West Coast.

Maybe at the time it was planned they didn't have clearance for RTLS at VAFB, so an east-coast launch allowed cheaper operations?

Busy-ness of the Cape launch schedule has no bearing on which coast a mission launches from.  Vandenberg is primarily for polar orbits with very high inclinations.  Cape handles GTO and LEO launches for lower inclinations.  Therefore, it follows that this mission - whatever it is - requires a launch trajectory that is only achievable from the Cape.

Furthermore, an inability to RTLS at Vandenberg at present has not stopped RTLS-capable missions (the Iridium flights and Formosat) from launching from there and landing on Just Read The Instructions.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/14/2017 04:48 PM
Boeing and SpaceX do not have permission to launch their satellites yet.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Barrie on 10/14/2017 04:54 PM
...
Furthermore, an inability to RTLS at Vandenberg at present has not stopped RTLS-capable missions (the Iridium flights and Formosat) from launching from there and landing on Just Read The Instructions.

But they had to launch from VAFB because of their orbit requirements.  If a payload could make use of almost any orbital inclination, these other factors might come into play.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/14/2017 05:08 PM
...
Furthermore, an inability to RTLS at Vandenberg at present has not stopped RTLS-capable missions (the Iridium flights and Formosat) from launching from there and landing on Just Read The Instructions.

But they had to launch from VAFB because of their orbit requirements.  If a payload could make use of almost any orbital inclination, these other factors might come into play.

No.  It wouldn't.  SpaceX does not charge a customer more because SpaceX chooses to land the booster after it does its mission-specific job.  The cost-savings adjustment is made after the booster is back, refurbished, and sold to another customer.

Payloads/Missions have specific orbital inclination needs.  If this mission needed a polar orbit, it would be going from Vandy regardless of RTLS ability (like the Iridium flights and Formosat).  This mission clearly doesn't need a polar orbit.  It needs an orbit only serviceable from the Cape; hence why it's launching from the Cape.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/14/2017 05:27 PM
Payloads/Missions have specific orbital inclination needs.  If this mission needed a polar orbit, it would be going from Vandy regardless of RTLS ability (like the Iridium flights and Formosat).  This mission clearly doesn't need a polar orbit.  It needs an orbit only serviceable from the Cape; hence why it's launching from the Cape.

Except the Mars InSight mission did have flexibility in selecting a launch site based on factors other than inclination needs:

Quote
All of NASA's probes to other planets have launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., but the specifics of the InSight spacecraft gave officials flexibility in choosing the launch site, according to mission managers.

https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1312/19insight/#.UrR4J2eA0bI

So basing a test satellite launch site on other factors isnt unimaginable.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/14/2017 05:33 PM
Payloads/Missions have specific orbital inclination needs.  If this mission needed a polar orbit, it would be going from Vandy regardless of RTLS ability (like the Iridium flights and Formosat).  This mission clearly doesn't need a polar orbit.  It needs an orbit only serviceable from the Cape; hence why it's launching from the Cape.

Except the Mars InSight mission did have flexibility in selecting a launch site based on factors other than inclination needs:

Quote
All of NASA's probes to other planets have launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., but the specifics of the InSight spacecraft gave officials flexibility in choosing the launch site, according to mission managers.

https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1312/19insight/#.UrR4J2eA0bI

So basing a test satellite launch site on other factors isnt unimaginable.

Right, and InSight's mission-specific needs allowed for a choice.

What I'm saying is that THIS mission's needs require a Cape launch - hence it's launching from the Cape.  SpaceX RTLS-ing a booster for themselves AFTER a customer's paid-for mission is accomplished isn't a mission requirement.  It's a bonus.  And since Vandy boosters can land on the ASDS, there is no SpaceX-imposed mission requirement to RTLS boosters.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: robert_d on 10/14/2017 05:35 PM
Fully recoverable payload fairing test flight? Maybe they have enough changes to the fairing that they are hesitant to try all the new changes on a paying customer's flight? Could also test a full block 5 vehicle?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 10/14/2017 05:37 PM
Could also test a full block 5 vehicle?

It's not a Block 5 first stage, but I'm not sure about the second stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 05:41 PM
FYI: If it does launch on the 10th that currently sees 3 US launches on the same day from 3 different US facilities.

The other scheduled US launches on November 10th (All times are UTC) are:

Quote
2017:
November 10 - JPSS-1 (NOAA-20), MiRaTA, Buccaneer RMM, EagleSat, CP 7, Fox 1B (RadFxSat), MakerSat 0 - Delta II 7920-10C - Vandenberg SLC-2W - 09:47:03-09:48:05
November 10 - Cygnus OA-8 (CRS-8) - Antares-230 - MARS LP-0A - 12:03-12:08

If they launch in between the two launches above the Public will be overwhelmed by the Public Affairs coverage of the 2 NASA launches which by the way will be almost back to back coverage.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 05:59 PM
I'm thinking if there are any light geostationary comsats (say 2 to 3.5 tonnes) around that had never had a launch contract announced, or even without their identities known, that might be launching by now.

For example, there was that 3 Boeing 702SP order from the US government in 2013 (https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1403/12boeing702sp/) that cannot be pinned down to any known satellite and was once floated around as a candidate for NROL-76 earlier this year. So far none of them seemed to have been launched yet, and if they are launched on F9 one at a time the 1st stage would have easily made an RTLS.
It has been previously stated in a Boeing IR meeting last year that their are several 702 spacecraft (702SP?) in storage for to-remain-unidentified US government customer(s).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ketivab on 10/14/2017 06:06 PM
Recond stage recovery tests (+ fairing reuse)?
+Major changes to the stage, so they didn't find any customer who could agree to launch their payload with this modified stage
+If Elon really wants to recover it on the maiden FH flight, they might need some practise before that and this could even be a low-energetic (sub-)orbit (better for first tests?)

-Not sure, but I thing, that Gwynne said during some interview, that they will attempt S2 recovery NET 2018
-This mission could endanger FH launch this year: they will still need some time to modify 39A for FH

I still think it is more likely to be some kind of a NRO mission, but it's fun to speculate.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 10/14/2017 06:11 PM
It is still possible, perhaps even the most parsimonious explanation, that there is no mystery launch. It could be second license for CRS-13 in case there are major hiccups with pad 40. The licenses could have ended up like that due to how the paperwork and ISS scheduling worked out. November 10th is notably an ISS launch date.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 06:16 PM
It is still possible, perhaps even the most parsimonious explanation, that there is no mystery launch. It could be second license for CRS-13 in case there are major hiccups with pad 40. The licenses could have ended up like that due to how the paperwork and ISS scheduling worked out. November 10th is notably an ISS launch date.
It is very unlikely as the most recent updated FCC Launch License shifted the launch back to SLC-40:

November 28th per https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/ Sept 30 change.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=8184.1440 says SLC-40 dating back to a change on 9th August but I cannot see source for that. sfn and launchphotography are not yet showing pad.

Is SLC-40 confirmed somewhere?

Yes. According official FCC application (https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80640&RequestTimeout=1000) issued last week (3th Oct) SpaceX plans launch CRS-13 mission from Complex 40.

Then we should be seeing some roll out and testing in the next 2-4 weeks.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 10/14/2017 06:35 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

Fact? Right?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 10/14/2017 06:41 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

Fact? Right?

Lots of potential revenue for who? SpaceX? The satellite constellation operator (e.g. Boeing as was speculated up thread)?

ZUMA looks and sounds like an acronym.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Chris Bergin on 10/14/2017 07:05 PM
I don't know what this satellite is, but I have seen it called Zuma (not capitals - but could easily be ZUMA as in Z.U.M.A - honestly do not know). So it is a mystery payload, but for the purpose of this thread we can call it codename Zuma.

It is supposed to be riding on a new booster.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 10/14/2017 07:14 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

Fact? Right?

Lots of potential revenue for who? SpaceX? The satellite constellation operator (e.g. Boeing as was speculated up thread)?

ZUMA looks and sounds like an acronym.

ZUMA is a photojournalism news service. Unlikely, but there it is.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: schaban on 10/14/2017 07:33 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

Fact? Right?

Lots of potential revenue for who? SpaceX? The satellite constellation operator (e.g. Boeing as was speculated up thread)?

ZUMA looks and sounds like an acronym.

ZUMA is a photojournalism news service. Unlikely, but there it is.

it is also primitive "shooter in space" game. for what it worth...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 10/14/2017 08:02 PM
Zuma isn't in the m-w dictionary. Zuma Press (the photojournalism company) says that Zuma is Mayan for new day, new solution, new vision. Z

The reddit user ASTRALsunder had another comment where they suggested it might not be a satellite.

Possibly some commercial or stunt like the Toshiba Space Chair advertisement where a weather balloon took a chair up near space?

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Barrie on 10/14/2017 08:17 PM
Zuma isn't in the m-w dictionary. Zuma Press (the photojournalism company) says that Zuma is Mayan for new day, new solution, new vision. Z

The reddit user ASTRALsunder had another comment where they suggested it might not be a satellite.

Possibly some commercial or stunt like the Toshiba Space Chair advertisement where a weather balloon took a chair up near space?

I believe the Toshiba Space Chair was done by JP Aerospace.

Zuma might be a jokey distortion of 'zoomer', which could be something to do with either propulsion or imaging.  HTH  ::)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/14/2017 09:23 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

Fact? Right?

Lots of potential revenue for who? SpaceX? The satellite constellation operator (e.g. Boeing as was speculated up thread)?

ZUMA looks and sounds like an acronym.

Perhaps something like the ominous PAN and CLIO (non)acronyms, which turned out as NEMESIS SIGINT sats.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/nemesis-1.htm
 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Nibb31 on 10/14/2017 09:31 PM
Given the weird codename, it makes sense that this could be Nemesis 3.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 09:47 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

Fact? Right?

Lots of potential revenue for who? SpaceX? The satellite constellation operator (e.g. Boeing as was speculated up thread)?

ZUMA looks and sounds like an acronym.

Perhaps something like the ominous PAN and CLIO (non)acronyms, which turned out as NEMESIS SIGINT sats.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/nemesis-1.htm
 
Did those ever have a 4 number mission designation because some other government payloads did until a public name surfaced.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gosnold on 10/14/2017 09:48 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

If that's true, we can exclude a classified payload. Their names don't leak like that. It could be an unclassified US military payload, or a commercial payload for a secretive customer (foreign government or commercial).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/14/2017 09:56 PM
Wild guess: Launch of some kind of destination spacecraft test vehicle for LEO space tourism not involving the ISS.

Any unusual activity at Bigelow recently? Closed hangers and 'none of your business' replies about any projects?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 10/14/2017 09:58 PM
My hypothesis is a "Nemesis 3":
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.
Fact? Right?
Perhaps something like the ominous PAN and CLIO (non)acronyms, which turned out as NEMESIS SIGINT sats.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/nemesis-1.htm

Using a Boeing 702SP bus, instead of the Lockheed-Martin A2100A:
I'm thinking if there are any light geostationary comsats (say 2 to 3.5 tonnes) around that had never had a launch contract announced, or even without their identities known, that might be launching by now.

For example, there was that 3 Boeing 702SP order from the US government in 2013 (https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1403/12boeing702sp/) that cannot be pinned down to any known satellite and was once floated around as a candidate for NROL-76 earlier this year. So far none of them seemed to have been launched yet, and if they are launched on F9 one at a time the 1st stage would have easily made an RTLS.

Four of the five 702SP's thus far launched have done so on a Falcon 9.


EDIT 10/16: Hmm...I'm 0 for 2 on this hypothesis.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/14/2017 10:03 PM
My hypothesis is a "Nemesis 3":
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.
Fact? Right?
Perhaps something like the ominous PAN and CLIO (non)acronyms, which turned out as NEMESIS SIGINT sats.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/nemesis-1.htm

Using a Boeing 702SP bus, instead of the Lockheed-Martin A2100A:
I'm thinking if there are any light geostationary comsats (say 2 to 3.5 tonnes) around that had never had a launch contract announced, or even without their identities known, that might be launching by now.

For example, there was that 3 Boeing 702SP order from the US government in 2013 (https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1403/12boeing702sp/) that cannot be pinned down to any known satellite and was once floated around as a candidate for NROL-76 earlier this year. So far none of them seemed to have been launched yet, and if they are launched on F9 one at a time the 1st stage would have easily made an RTLS.

Four of the five 702SP's thus far launched have done so on a Falcon 9.


The Boeing 702SP busses are IMHO good candidates for further NEMESIS type satellites, as the original NEMESISes were also closely based on commercial busses.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 10:04 PM
My hypothesis is a "Nemesis 3":
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.
Fact? Right?
Perhaps something like the ominous PAN and CLIO (non)acronyms, which turned out as NEMESIS SIGINT sats.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/nemesis-1.htm

Using a Boeing 702SP bus, instead of the Lockheed-Martin A2100A:
I'm thinking if there are any light geostationary comsats (say 2 to 3.5 tonnes) around that had never had a launch contract announced, or even without their identities known, that might be launching by now.

For example, there was that 3 Boeing 702SP order from the US government in 2013 (https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1403/12boeing702sp/) that cannot be pinned down to any known satellite and was once floated around as a candidate for NROL-76 earlier this year. So far none of them seemed to have been launched yet, and if they are launched on F9 one at a time the 1st stage would have easily made an RTLS.

Four of the five 702SP's thus far launched have done so on a Falcon 9.

LM A2100A and all other A2100 versions are currently being phased out in favor of a single common and standardized large LM-2100 bus for both Commercial, Civil and Military missions with mission add on kits to add features that were previously a specific A2100 version.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craig_VG on 10/14/2017 10:05 PM
My hypothesis is a "Nemesis 3":

It being a US Gov sat seems to contradict the statement by /u/ASTRALsunder saying that the operator has revenue targets to hit and shareholders to please:

"Yup, critical for the operator in this case. They have revenue targets to hit and shareholders to keep happy."
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doda2gm/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: catdlr on 10/14/2017 10:20 PM
Nov 10th going to be a busy space coverage day with JPSS-1 at VAFB, Cygnus Spacecraft OA-8 on Wallops on the same date.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 10:21 PM
My hypothesis is a "Nemesis 3":

Saying it's a US Gov sat seems to contradict the statement by /u/ASTRALsunder saying that the operator has revenue targets to hit and shareholders to please:

"Yup, critical for the operator in this case. They have revenue targets to hit and shareholders to keep happy."
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doda2gm/
That is why we are hypothesizing. Nemesis payloads acted like Commercial Sats and for all we know it could be a hosted payload. Trusting what a single openly talking person says when others are very tight lipped then that makes me suspicious of what they are saying. Posters in L2 say that we will know more in the future so I'm going to stick with the trusted information from the posters in L2 until further notice rather than trusting a very random person on reddit.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/14/2017 10:24 PM
Nov 10th going to be a busy space coverage day with JPSS-1 at VAFB, Cygnus Spacecraft OA-8 on Wallops on the same date.

The guy on Reddit said this one is currently targeting the 15th.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 10/14/2017 10:26 PM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

If that's true, we can exclude a classified payload. Their names don't leak like that. It could be an unclassified US military payload, or a commercial payload for a secretive customer (foreign government or commercial).

The name PAN leaked, or was released, a few months before launch.  The earliest reference I found is the SFN article  Secret PAN satellite leads Cape milspace launch surge (https://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0905/26milspace/), dated May 26, 2009, by Craig Covault.  The launch was then scheduled for July 17, 2009.

(Launched on September 8, 2009)

NSF launch thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=16909.0

If there are meant to be a series of such satellites, including the 3 Government-bought Boeing 702SPs, that could be the source of "future revenue."


EDIT 10/16: I did a little better on this comparison...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 10/14/2017 10:27 PM
Saying it's a US Gov sat seems to contradict the statement by /u/ASTRALsunder saying that the operator has revenue targets to hit and shareholders to please:

"Yup, critical for the operator in this case. They have revenue targets to hit and shareholders to keep happy."
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doda2gm/

Yes, but this story strains credulity. There appears to be a commercial customer that has pulled a satellite out of a hat. The launch is also so critical to their revenue that SpaceX employees need to worry about their bookkeeping. This is not something that should concern them at all. Perhaps the employees aren't told the whole story here? I'm suspecting something military. But aren't the nemesis sats in GEO? F9 would have to put Zuma to GTO and RTLS.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 10:31 PM
Saying it's a US Gov sat seems to contradict the statement by /u/ASTRALsunder saying that the operator has revenue targets to hit and shareholders to please:

"Yup, critical for the operator in this case. They have revenue targets to hit and shareholders to keep happy."
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doda2gm/

Yes, but this story strains credulity. There appears to be a commercial customer that has pulled a satellite out of a hat. The launch is also so critical to their revenue that SpaceX employees need to worry about their bookkeeping. This is not something that should concern them at all. Perhaps the employees aren't told the whole story here? I'm suspecting something military. But aren't the nemesis sats in GEO? F9 would have to put Zuma to GTO and RTLS.
there are predecessor constellations to nemesis that had some of there satellites in other Non GEO orbits. Other factors are delivery methods. It is very rare for payloads to ship to the Cape by Sea but it has been done before as well as rail, air and road. People will need to keep their eye out for special convoys. Unless the payload arrived ages ago.

there are some payloads in the unclear and probably cancelled sections of the USA Launch Schedule that could fit in for a Non Nemesis payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/14/2017 10:38 PM
Perhaps it's another PAN or CLIO type launch similar to what was launched on Atlas V. The agency responsible for those sats wasn't even named. Assuming, of course, this is military.

Guess you don’t read all of this forum. I direct your attention towards the Signals Intelligence thread on here.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 10/14/2017 10:50 PM
Anything military or bought from someone else... or flown for someone else is a stretch.  The only customer SpaceX needs/wants to protect for strategic reasons is SpaceX.

IMO, this is the SpaceX 'Sputnik Moment'... where they do something completely outside of the established norms -- something 'private' spaceflight has never done* before because spaceflight has always been quasi-government masquerading as 'commercial'.  As to the 'future income' opportunity, many things would qualify... landing a Dragon capsule, winning the Lunar X-Prize, laser comms demo of their own satellites... radio silent until FCC approval, whatever... you know, Zuma.

Just plan on Zuma appearing on the front page as a result...


* no one has ever had more rockets laying around than they know where to store...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/14/2017 10:56 PM
We've been told this is a new booster, and some of the payloads from their paying customers have been moved to 2018 because SpaceX doesn't have the capacity to launch them this year.  It doesn't seem like a great time to be pulling a publicity stunt.  I would guess this is not an internal payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vapour_nudge on 10/14/2017 10:59 PM
I don't know what this satellite is, but I have seen it called Zuma (not capitals - but could easily be ZUMA as in Z.U.M.A - honestly do not know). So it is a mystery payload, but for the purpose of this thread we can call it codename Zuma.

It is supposed to be riding on a new booster.
From left of field: in reference to Elon Musk's South African roots, the very wealthy president of South Africa is Joseph Zuma. Just throwing it out there. I have no idea why someone would name a mission after him of course
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jpo234 on 10/14/2017 11:01 PM
I guess somebody was willing to pay a lot more than $62 million.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/14/2017 11:08 PM
I don't know what this satellite is, but I have seen it called Zuma (not capitals - but could easily be ZUMA as in Z.U.M.A - honestly do not know). So it is a mystery payload, but for the purpose of this thread we can call it codename Zuma.

It is supposed to be riding on a new booster.
From left of field: in reference to Elon Musk's South African roots, the very wealthy president of South Africa is Joseph Zuma. Just throwing it out there. I have no idea why someone would name a mission after him of course
Unless it is named after a geological rock formation/geographic location like Zuma Rock, which was a prominent defensive point against the Roman Empire, outside the present day Nigerian capital of Abuja in Niger State, Nigeria (https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=9.125556,7.228889&q=9.125556,7.228889&hl=en&t=h&z=12).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 10/14/2017 11:37 PM
FYI
Zuma is an alternate name for a defunct Indian tribe that hunted and gathered in the mid-Rio Grande River valley and northern Chihuahua (Mexico) state.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suma_people

EDIT: Could there be a reference to Boca Chica, near the mouth of the Rio Grande?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/14/2017 11:39 PM
I think that's enough random meanings for the word Zuma.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: su27k on 10/15/2017 04:26 AM
Does SpaceX need to file papers with FCC if it's a government payload? I thought the filing is only for commercial launches. Kind of defeat the purpose of a secret payload if you have to get public license from FCC.
The PAN and CLIO launches were also procured commercially.

I believe by "procured commercially" it just meant they didn't go through Air Force's EELV procurement, but the customer is still a US government agency, should be similar to launches for NASA LSP.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: octavo on 10/15/2017 05:38 AM
I don't know what this satellite is, but I have seen it called Zuma (not capitals - but could easily be ZUMA as in Z.U.M.A - honestly do not know). So it is a mystery payload, but for the purpose of this thread we can call it codename Zuma.

It is supposed to be riding on a new booster.
From left of field: in reference to Elon Musk's South African roots, the very wealthy president of South Africa is Joseph Zuma. Just throwing it out there. I have no idea why someone would name a mission after him of course

It's Jacob Zuma. The most notable thing about him is how he and his friends, the Gupta family, have managed to capture state owned enterprises and line their pockets with lucrative kick-back contracts. Zuma and Gupta are bywords for corruption and cronyism in local culture.

Make of that what you will :)

Edit: link to all the gory details of looting and corruption for those interested in SA politics.
http://www.gupta-leaks.com/
http://www.gupta-leaks.com/information/jacob-zuma-bio/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CapitalistOppressor on 10/15/2017 06:07 AM
FYI
Zuma is an alternate name for a defunct Indian tribe that hunted and gathered in the mid-Rio Grande River valley and northern Chihuahua (Mexico) state.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suma_people

EDIT: Could there be a reference to Boca Chica, near the mouth of the Rio Grande?

Or just Zuma Beach in Malibu, an area Elon is known to hang out.  Great spot for surfing
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 10/15/2017 06:25 AM
pls, no more nonsensical name games :'( Gongora already asked nicely, just a handful of posts above.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/15/2017 06:41 AM
Quote from: reddit user ASTRALsunder
My sources tell me the flight is named ZUMA. The flight is extremely critical because a successful one would mean lots of potential future revenue. Launch date is slated for November 15th due to slight slip in testing.

Fact? Right?

Lots of potential revenue for who? SpaceX? The satellite constellation operator (e.g. Boeing as was speculated up thread)?

The PAN and CLIO satellites were launched via commercial procured launches with Lockheed Martin being the launch customer. This might be similar for ZUMA, with perhaps the manufacturer (Boeing ?) being the customer.  And this could mean potential more launches of this series in the future.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 10/15/2017 07:01 AM
"Yup, critical for the operator in this case. They have revenue targets to hit and shareholders to keep happy."
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doda2gm/

Small stop-gap GEO sat for SES after their recent on-orbit failures...?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 10/15/2017 07:07 AM
"Yup, critical for the operator in this case. They have revenue targets to hit and shareholders to keep happy."
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doda2gm/

Small stop-gap GEO sat for SES after their recent on-orbit failures...?

I sincerely doubt that such a thing would be possible, at least in response to failures less than a year old. It takes years on average for a satellite to go from paper to launch readiness.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 10/15/2017 07:12 AM
"Yup, critical for the operator in this case. They have revenue targets to hit and shareholders to keep happy."
https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doda2gm/

Small stop-gap GEO sat for SES after their recent on-orbit failures...?

I sincerely doubt that such a thing would be possible, at least in response to failures less than a year old. It takes years on average for a satellite to go from paper to launch readiness.

It just hit me cuz they were talking very much at the time about the implications of such failures to their investor base. But aslo they've already moved a couple launches around (SpaceX/Arainespace flip) to mitigate any follow-on effects.

From AMC-9 it was somewhere around 70mil $ in total losses. Does that justify another launch/sat (upwards of 100-200mil) with possible added capabilities?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/15/2017 07:47 AM
Speaking of failures, Orbcomm has a few of their next-generation satellites fail recently. Could it be a urgently-procured launch for replacements?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 10/15/2017 07:53 AM
Speaking of failures, Orbcomm has a few of their next-generation satellites fail recently. Could it be a urgently-procured launch for replacements?

The intense level of secrecy around ZUMA suggests otherwise. Any logical payload from the usual suspects would have no reason whatsoever for secrecy like this.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/15/2017 10:14 AM
Ok, an interesting comment from the reddit user ASTRALSunder

Quote
No, nothing my friends told me gave me the feeling that the customer was established. One friend did mention that the customer was pretty open and up front with SpaceX about their financial situation to give them an idea on how extremely crucial this flight was for them. I guess it was enough for SpaceX to squeeze them in risking the ire of their backlogged customers.


So sounds like a new upstart company, assuming ASTRALSunder is correct (and from what he has posted, it seems consistent to me)

Edit to my Edit: Going to remove the speculation
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/15/2017 10:46 AM
BTW,
Northrop Grumman has also one flight from the Cape on SpaceX manifest. And NG has seven Eagle-3 based spacecraft on production according to the Eagle-3 datasheet.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/15/2017 10:54 AM
Ok, an interesting comment from the reddit user ASTRALSunder

Quote
No, nothing my friends told me gave me the feeling that the customer was established. One friend did mention that the customer was pretty open and up front with SpaceX about their financial situation to give them an idea on how extremely crucial this flight was for them. I guess it was enough for SpaceX to squeeze them in risking the ire of their backlogged customers.


So sounds like a new upstart company, assuming ASTRALSunder is correct (and from what he has posted, it seems consistent to me)

Edit: Going to try to find some startups without announced launches that might meet this window

1. Capella Space

Quote
Capella has not yet revealed the launch vehicle for its first satellite, but Banazadeh said by email the launch will occur in six months.  Eventually, Capella plans offer customers access to global one-meter resolution SAR imagery, updated hourly

http://spacenews.com/with-cash-infusion-capella-prepares-its-first-sar-cubesat/

Capella Space is IMHO very unlikely.
First, they have not yet launched their pathfinder satellite, so they unlikely will launch their full constellation of 30 sats without test. Also the Capella satellites are tiny - 12U Cubesat size. Even a full constellation would fill only a small fraction of the F9 payload capabilities. And an earth observation constellation will likely use a polar orbit for global coverage. Furthermore, Capella announced the start of launching their constellation for 2019, so unlikely they can move up more than a year.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 10/15/2017 10:56 AM
Ok, an interesting comment from the reddit user ASTRALSunder

Quote
No, nothing my friends told me gave me the feeling that the customer was established. One friend did mention that the customer was pretty open and up front with SpaceX about their financial situation to give them an idea on how extremely crucial this flight was for them. I guess it was enough for SpaceX to squeeze them in risking the ire of their backlogged customers.


So sounds like a new upstart company, assuming ASTRALSunder is correct (and from what he has posted, it seems consistent to me)

Edit: Going to try to find some startups without announced launches that might meet this window

1. Capella Space

Quote
Capella has not yet revealed the launch vehicle for its first satellite, but Banazadeh said by email the launch will occur in six months.  Eventually, Capella plans offer customers access to global one-meter resolution SAR imagery, updated hourly

http://spacenews.com/with-cash-infusion-capella-prepares-its-first-sar-cubesat/

Hmm......after reading the comments on Reddit I still can't get off the impression that the payload is a black one.

- If the satellite is a geostationary comsat or additional satellites for LEO/MEO comsats, the operator would have few incentives to keep this that secret given the need to lure customers.

- If the satellite(s?) is (are) prototypes for new LEO/MEO comsat constellations, we would have known that who's ready to launch via fillings at regulatory organizations like the ITU.

- If the satellite is for any kind of Earth observation, then it would most likely fly from the West Coast instead. There are still chances that the payload will focus on observing low latitude places only (e.g. most Planet Lab cubesats, or RazakSat as an extreme case) but I think the chances are negligible.

- Other possibilities are there (Bigelow made a new inflatable module in secret and is ready to get people on board? Some mining company built an asteroid surveyor in secrecy and have a planetary launch window to chase to get it to the target asteroid? etc.) but none of them sounds credible to me.

I think I'll stick to my PAN/CLIO follow-on (or "satellite inspector in GEO for some organization which-must-not-be-named") theory with the possibility that the satellite is built by a new(-ish?) start-up.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 10/15/2017 11:15 AM
Yeah, as much as I'd like to believe a startup has found a killer app for space and will surprise everyone by starting to rake in money and buying lots of launches I have to say the much more mundane option: that the DOD had bought three super light comsats from boeing and will launch one of them to read through the spam I'm getting in my inbox sounds more believable.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/15/2017 11:34 AM
Yeah, as much as I'd like to believe a startup has found a killer app for space and will surprise everyone by starting to rake in money and buying lots of launches I have to say the much more mundane option: that the DOD had bought three super light comsats from boeing and will launch one of them to read through the spam I'm getting in my inbox sounds more believable.

It’s more likely they are quick reaction satellites to be used because of certain global hotspots.

After all I am sure a year or two bank someone posted on here that three of these Boeing built satellites had been purchased by an unnamed government customer.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/15/2017 11:37 AM
Well I don't think any of the comments we have seen so far suggest government, so just going to keep on guessing commercial upstarts.

ConnectX seems interesting, and made a bunch of noise back in 2015 about building a constellation of satellites for secure server storage. Haven't heard anything recently, but maybe that is the point (too busy building, went quiet once they got funding)

 http://fortune.com/2015/01/29/connectx-space-data/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/15/2017 11:39 AM
Well I don't think any of the comments we have seen so far suggest government, so just going to keep on guessing commercial upstarts.

ConnectX seems interesting, and made a bunch of noise back in 2015 about building a constellation of satellites for secure server storage. Haven't heard anything recently, but maybe that is the point (too busy building, went quiet once they got funding)

 http://fortune.com/2015/01/29/connectx-space-data/

I really don’t why you think this is going to be a commercial satellite when it has a strong smell of a classified government launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/15/2017 11:52 AM
I really don’t why you think this is going to be a commercial satellite when it has a strong smell of a classified government launch.

Because your "smell of a classified launch" is lack of information and a customer rapidly emerging wanting secrecy. The reddit user ( which Chris verified at least part of his story) has repeatedly mentioned that the customer is doing this for revenue, a government-associated flight would already have most of its costs paid for upfront.

Also, why do I have to think what everyone else does, especially in a story bereft of concrete details?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Nibb31 on 10/15/2017 12:25 PM
When has a commercial launch ever been secret? Commercial space operations come with a lot of paperwork (FCC, ITU...) that we haven't seen. Secrecy comes with a cost. You would need a pretty solid business case to justify it.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/15/2017 12:59 PM
When has a commercial launch ever been secret? Commercial space operations come with a lot of paperwork (FCC, ITU...) that we haven't seen. Secrecy comes with a cost. You would need a pretty solid business case to justify it.




But in most cases, we don't know what to look for on those sites without some sort of keyword search (ie operator, builder, or satellite name). I tried to search the FCC site for any combination of SpaceX and SES-11 and didnt get any results. So the information could very well be out there, we just don't know what to look for.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: robert_d on 10/15/2017 01:14 PM
Blue Origin Heat Shield test? Maybe B.O. is closer to having an orbital capsule than they have made public.
And yes, I know about the history of Bezos vs Musk.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 10/15/2017 01:31 PM
Sounds like it’s poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so that’s my bet...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craig_VG on 10/15/2017 01:50 PM
Sounds like it’s poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so that’s my bet...

Moon Express is set to launch on Electron, so I think Falcon 9 can handle it.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kryten on 10/15/2017 01:56 PM
Sounds like it’s poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so that’s my bet...
Unless some mysterious benefactor has swooped in, none of the xprize competitors seem to have enough money to do this. That's the main mystery of this launch, if you assume it isn't government; what kind of company is low-profile enough to do all this quietly, while having put together enough cash?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gth871r on 10/15/2017 02:06 PM
Sounds like it’s poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so that’s my bet...

This was my first thought too.  One of the lunar x prize entrants is going to sneak in and win the grand prize.  They are being secretive because if the launch date was announced say, six months ago it's just possible that Moon Express and Rocket Lab would have done a Hail Mary and sent the second Electron test rocket to the moon and beaten them.  As far as I know, Moon Express is the only company with FAA licencing to land on the moon.  However, SpaceIL isn't an American company.  Thus, under the Outer Space Treaty, they would be subject to regulation by their parent country, Isreal.  It's possible that the Israeli government has signed off, or soon will sign off, secretly, in order to protect their company's chance of winning. 

The only problem with this plan is that it would take a pile of money that none of the competitors has.  However, there have been substantial grants to the competitors before.  They could also be getting a discount if SpaceX is getting something out of it, like using this launch to test out new technologies for Block 4 or 5 rockets or testing out their ability to track and control a second stage in deep space.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/15/2017 02:42 PM
- If the satellite is for any kind of Earth observation, then it would most likely fly from the West Coast instead. There are still chances that the payload will focus on observing low latitude places only (e.g. most Planet Lab cubesats, or RazakSat as an extreme case) but I think the chances are negligible.

Other than two NOSS launches, two LACROSSE, and the rumor'd first MISTY launch occurred on the East Coast. With the exception of Northern Russia, almost all of the global hot spots are below 50 degrees and low inclination can give you multiple passes a day, though that will drift.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: su27k on 10/15/2017 02:45 PM
I haven't noticed this before but https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80568&RequestTimeout=1000 states

Quote
This application uses information from previous grant, 1302-EX-ST-2017. This STA is necessary to authorize launch vehicle communications for SpaceX Mission 1390, from Complex 39a, Kennedy Space Center. Includes sub-orbital first stage, and orbital second stage. Trajectory data will be provided directly to NTIA, USAF, and NASA. All downrange Earth stations are receive-only. Launch licensing authority is FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

I think this pretty much rules out any secret government payload, since they definitely do not need a launch license from FAA, you can browse the FAA licensed launches here: https://www.faa.gov/data_research/commercial_space_data/launches/?type=Licensed, where you can find ULA's commercial payloads such as Morelos-3, but you won't find PAN or CLIO there.

As for how the company can be low-profile while having enough cash, first this may not be a low-profile startup at all, it may be a big player switching payload at the last minute. Second we don't track commercial satellites as closely as launch vehicles at this site, there may well be well funded startup out there that are quite open, it's just we're not aware of them.

Also the reddit user in question has a long history, if you check his past comments, there's no doubt he is a former SpaceX employee who is in the know.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 10/15/2017 02:51 PM
I haven't noticed this before but https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=80568&RequestTimeout=1000 states

Quote
This application uses information from previous grant, 1302-EX-ST-2017. This STA is necessary to authorize launch vehicle communications for SpaceX Mission 1390, from Complex 39a, Kennedy Space Center. Includes sub-orbital first stage, and orbital second stage. Trajectory data will be provided directly to NTIA, USAF, and NASA. All downrange Earth stations are receive-only. Launch licensing authority is FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

I think this pretty much rules out any secret government payload, since they definitely do not need a launch license from FAA, you can browse the FAA licensed launches here: https://www.faa.gov/data_research/commercial_space_data/launches/?type=Licensed, where you can find ULA's commercial payloads such as Morelos-3, but you won't find PAN or CLIO there.

As for how the company can be low-profile while having enough cash, first this may not be a low-profile startup at all, it may be a big player switching payload at the last minute. Second we don't track commercial satellites as closely as launch vehicles at this site, there may well be well funded startup out there that are quite open, it's just we're not aware of them.

Also the reddit user in question has a long history, if you check his past comments, there's no doubt he is a former SpaceX employee who is in the know.

Note that however Orion EFT-1 and the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space Office's ORS-3 and ORS-5 are on the list.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/15/2017 03:03 PM
Note that however Orion EFT-1 and the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space Office's ORS-3 and ORS-5 are on the list.

Along with NROL-76.  The OTV-5 launch also has the same wording on the FCC form.

I hope this completely random guessing doesn't continue for the next month, most of the guesses don't even make any sense
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 10/15/2017 03:15 PM
Sounds like it’s poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so that’s my bet...
Unless some mysterious benefactor has swooped in, none of the xprize competitors seem to have enough money to do this. That's the main mystery of this launch, if you assume it isn't government; what kind of company is low-profile enough to do all this quietly, while having put together enough cash?

SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/15/2017 03:25 PM
Sounds like it’s poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so that’s my bet...
Unless some mysterious benefactor has swooped in, none of the xprize competitors seem to have enough money to do this. That's the main mystery of this launch, if you assume it isn't government; what kind of company is low-profile enough to do all this quietly, while having put together enough cash?

SpaceX.

And what would SpaceX gain by doing such a thing while further delaying the flights of their other customers?  Splitting the X-Prize money with the payload team wouldn't get them enough to pay for the expendable parts of the launch vehicle.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 10/15/2017 03:30 PM
We may need to carve off a thread for the speculation posts. Unless you have a concrete theory with some analysis behind it, maybe just wait and see?  "it feels like X" posts may not be that helpful. Several mods have now said to curb the speculation... Please?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: input~2 on 10/15/2017 04:14 PM
Attached is the FCC license grant.

This extract seems to imply a commercial launch
Quote
SpaceX shall be aware that future non-federal launches will be considered on a case-by-case basis, especially for requests in the band 2200-2290 MHz, and SpaceX shall have no expectations that future launches will be approved.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/15/2017 04:17 PM
Attached is the FCC license grant.

This extract seems to imply a commercial launch
Quote
SpaceX shall be aware that future non-federal launches will be considered on a case-by-case basis, especially for requests in the band 2200-2290 MHz, and SpaceX shall have no expectations that future launches will be approved.

They had the same wording on the NROL-76 and OTV-5 grants.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: meekGee on 10/15/2017 04:31 PM
I really don’t why you think this is going to be a commercial satellite when it has a strong smell of a classified government launch.

Because your "smell of a classified launch" is lack of information and a customer rapidly emerging wanting secrecy. The reddit user ( which Chris verified at least part of his story) has repeatedly mentioned that the customer is doing this for revenue, a government-associated flight would already have most of its costs paid for upfront.

Also, why do I have to think what everyone else does, especially in a story bereft of concrete details?

You’re putting far, far too much credence in one particular Reddit poster.
Isn't that user one if the few sources that even told us Zuma exists?

I agree that "new booster" and "priority" could spell government, but this is very far from certain.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AJW on 10/15/2017 05:46 PM
https://www.geekwire.com/2017/spacex-satellite-broadband-network/

"Cooper said this year’s first launch of a prototype satellite would be followed early next year with a second prototype launch, followed by a demonstration period before the start of the operational launch campaign in 2019."

I thought I read that a number of the satellite HW engineers had been brought over from the MSFT 'Zune' team...   Not to imply any similarity in the name since that would be speculation and might get this post booted.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/15/2017 05:51 PM
https://www.geekwire.com/2017/spacex-satellite-broadband-network/

"Cooper said this year’s first launch of a prototype satellite would be followed early next year with a second prototype launch, followed by a demonstration period before the start of the operational launch campaign in 2019."

I thought I read that a number of the satellite HW engineers had been brought over from the MSFT 'Zune' team...   Not to imply any similarity in the name since that would be speculation and might get this post booted.

SpaceX does not have their FCC permits for either the experimental or operational satellites.  Their constellation is being registered in the U.S. so they need those to launch.  They also wouldn't waste an entire F9 flight on a single 500kg internal test satellite.  Please, start thinking whether something is remotely reasonable before posting.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Chris Bergin on 10/15/2017 06:21 PM
We may need to carve off a thread for the speculation posts. Unless you have a concrete theory with some analysis behind it, maybe just wait and see?  "it feels like X" posts may not be that helpful. Several mods have now said to curb the speculation... Please?

Yeah, we can use this thread for pre-confirmation and then when confirmed we can have the started Discussion and Update threads.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/15/2017 07:51 PM
Quote
Jeff Foust @jeff_foust
Replying to @Cosmic_Penguin
ZUMA is more likely to be a codename, not an acronym. But I’m sure you can come up with some creative retronyms…

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/919594402439417856
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: JHarris85 on 10/15/2017 09:24 PM
Is it a Max-Q Abort test for Dragon 2?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 10/15/2017 09:26 PM
I'm sure they would use a used booster for that.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vapour_nudge on 10/15/2017 09:54 PM
Nice to see Spaceflightnow give a shout out to this forum
https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/10/14/regulatory-filings-suggest-spacex-plans-november-launch-with-mystery-payload/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Barrie on 10/15/2017 10:47 PM
It may be worth noting that a competently-chosen codename is completely arbitrary, and not a cryptic clue.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craftyatom on 10/15/2017 11:19 PM
Is it a Max-Q Abort test for Dragon 2?

The Dragon 2 Abort Test will not be happening until after the first (uncrewed) Dragon 2 orbital flight, and will use the capsule from that flight in order to create high-fidelity data.

So no, this will not be the abort test.  Personally, I think we'll have to wait for a while to find out, otherwise there wouldn't be much point in trying to keep it secret.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/16/2017 11:25 AM
My feeling (as unlikely as many have said it seems) is that it is an LEO technology test-bed for some new commercial space application. Given the cloak-and-dagger, there is probably a significant issue of patented technologies and possibly even stock market issues that would render pre-launch publicity on the nature of the demonstration potentially stock manipulation.

GLXP would be screaming from the rooftops if the 11/10 launch was one of their competitors and I couldn't see Bigelow being quiet on a 'Genesis-III' mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/16/2017 11:31 AM
More from the Reddit conversation (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doeufn5/):
Quote
[–]old_sellsword 1 point 15 hours ago
Was this contract something that happened recently, or has it been confirmed for a while but the public just didn’t know about it?

[–]ASTRALsunder 1 point 2 hours ago
That I do not know, my friend. I did not press my sources for more details. The extent of my knowledge is the flight is named ZUMA/Zuma and the NET is November 15th. Customer contract details and what kind of satellite I do not know. They just emphasized the on-time part of the launch, it would be out of 39A, and on a new booster.
My friends did say CRS-13's new NET is December 4th out of LC-40. SpaceX pitched the idea of a flown booster for CRS-13 to NASA and they will give them an answer in early November.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craig_VG on 10/16/2017 06:47 PM
This is truly a random person on reddit, but nonetheless here's what he had to say:

Quote
The Zuma mission involves Northrop Grumman in some capacity. I know this for a fact. They are likely the payload integration service.

teku45 on reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76s6n2/nsf_spacex_adds_mystery_zuma_mission_iridium4/dogd07g/?utm_content=permalink&utm_medium=front&utm_source=reddit&utm_name=spacex)

EDIT: link in the quote instead of text
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Eagandale4114 on 10/16/2017 06:49 PM
From reddit user /u/teku45. He claims that he was/is (https://www.reddit.com/r/Damnthatsinteresting/comments/6fsneu/spacex_landing/dilymnu/?st=j8uj94tb&sh=3d3babb5) an intern at SpaceX.

Quote
The Zuma mission involves Northrop Grumman in some capacity. I know this for a fact. They are likely the payload integration service.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kryten on 10/16/2017 06:55 PM
 Millennium Space System's website has said for some time that a sat using their Aquila M8 bus of around three tons is 'scheduled to fly in 2016 as a GEO platform'; as far as I know this has not yet happened. This would seem like a good candidate as bus for this launch. If we do assume the launch is ultimately for the US government, a delivery-on-orbit contract through Aquila could still jive with the statements about a commercial customer.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: abaddon on 10/16/2017 07:13 PM
REMINDER

We may need to carve off a thread for the speculation posts. Unless you have a concrete theory with some analysis behind it, maybe just wait and see?  "it feels like X" posts may not be that helpful. Several mods have now said to curb the speculation... Please?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/16/2017 07:14 PM
Millennium Space System's website has said for some time that a sat using their Aquila M8 bus of around three tons is 'scheduled to fly in 2016 as a GEO platform'; as far as I know this has not yet happened. This would seem like a good candidate as bus for this launch. If we do assume the launch is ultimately for the US government, a delivery-on-orbit contract through Aquila could still jive with the statements about a commercial customer.

If you are referring to the USAF WFOV satellite, a SpaceflightNow article (https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/06/30/air-force-selects-atlas-5-to-launch-multipurpose-satellite-to-high-orbit/) listed it as part of the AFSPC-12 payload, which is part of a current RFP.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/16/2017 07:32 PM
Millennium Space System's website has said for some time that a sat using their Aquila M8 bus of around three tons is 'scheduled to fly in 2016 as a GEO platform'; as far as I know this has not yet happened. This would seem like a good candidate as bus for this launch. If we do assume the launch is ultimately for the US government, a delivery-on-orbit contract through Aquila could still jive with the statements about a commercial customer.

If you are referring to the USAF WFOV satellite, a SpaceflightNow article (https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/06/30/air-force-selects-atlas-5-to-launch-multipurpose-satellite-to-high-orbit/) listed it as part of the AFSPC-12 payload, which is part of a current RFP.

Yes, this satellite from the Millennium Space System website is WFOV. Therefore it is no candidate for Zuma.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: JonathanD on 10/16/2017 07:48 PM
From reddit user /u/teku45. He claims that he was/is (https://www.reddit.com/r/Damnthatsinteresting/comments/6fsneu/spacex_landing/dilymnu/?st=j8uj94tb&sh=3d3babb5) an intern at SpaceX.

Quote
The Zuma mission involves Northrop Grumman in some capacity. I know this for a fact. They are likely the payload integration service.

Smells fishy.  If he is an intern, he probably won't be one for long.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Barrie on 10/16/2017 07:56 PM
Suppose this is a commercial payload.  Are the unusual circumstances - the secrecy, the shoe-horning it into a tight schedule - easier to understand if it is not for a simple fee-paying customer, but part of a joint venture?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Salo on 10/16/2017 08:35 PM
More from the Reddit conversation (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/spacex_has_an_approved_license_for_10_nov_launch/doeufn5/)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/16/2017 09:01 PM
Article on site updated to reflect the following:

NASASpaceflight.com has confirmed that Northrop Grumman is the payload provider for Zuma through a commercial launch contract with SpaceX for a LEO satellite with a mission type labeled as "government" and a needed launch date range of 1-30 November 2017.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/16/2017 09:06 PM
Article on site updated to reflect the following:

NASASpaceflight.com has confirmed that Northrop Grumman is the payload provider for Zuma through a commercial launch contract with SpaceX for a LEO satellite with a mission type labeled as "government" and a needed launch date range of 1-30 November 2017.

Nice, now I can get rid of that unknown Northrop Grumman entry from the bottom of the manifest.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craig_VG on 10/16/2017 09:13 PM

Nice, now I can get rid of that unknown Northrop Grumman entry from the bottom of the manifest.

Yeah, this mission seems to have been on the books for a few years and isn't a rushed RapidLaunch-esque contract
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/16/2017 09:17 PM

Nice, now I can get rid of that unknown Northrop Grumman entry from the bottom of the manifest.

Yeah, this mission seems to have been on the books for a few years and isn't a rushed RapidLaunch-esque contract

Some of the early contracts were just for unspecified future payloads (like the one that ended up becoming the PSN-6 mission) so we really can't know when they actually set up this launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/16/2017 09:55 PM
Article on site updated to reflect the following:

NASASpaceflight.com has confirmed that Northrop Grumman is the payload provider for Zuma through a commercial launch contract with SpaceX for a LEO satellite with a mission type labeled as "government" and a needed launch date range of 1-30 November 2017.

Appears to be a similar handling as with the Nemesis (PAN & CLIO) satellites, which were also handles as unspecified government payloads via a commercial launch contract by the manufacturer.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jcm on 10/16/2017 09:57 PM
Article on site updated to reflect the following:

NASASpaceflight.com has confirmed that Northrop Grumman is the payload provider for Zuma through a commercial launch contract with SpaceX for a LEO satellite with a mission type labeled as "government" and a needed launch date range of 1-30 November 2017.

So this is analogous to the NEMESIS missions PAN and CLIO which were Lockheed Martin flights, apparently
contractor-operated satellites with NRO-operated sensor payloads as far as I can tell. But NEMESIS were GEO sigint
missions and this one is by NGST and in LEO so the analogy is just to the contracting method, not the payload.
This puts it in the general (but probably heterogeneous) category of 'mystery NRO LEO testbeds' with USA 193 and
USA 276.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 10/16/2017 10:02 PM
SpaceX seemed to have been amenable to Northrop Grumman's need to launch in November. I wonder if this was due to being on the manifest for so long or because of it being a commercially contracted government payload. We've already seen SpaceX prioritize government payloads, so this could be another case.

But I'm curious if other companies who are holding spots on the manifest (Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Bigelow to name a few we know) will receive some priority in the manifest if/when they name a payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 10/16/2017 10:22 PM
Some of this goes to the AF statement about SpaceX launches when ready. It was discussed some about how much more nimble SpaceX seems to be in stepping up the launches without having to wait around to buy long lead items. Such that SpaceX is maxing out it's build and launching as fast as there are payloads. They seem to not assign cores to a flight until it is moving from McGregor to the pad. This is a different policy vs the build only on order that most other LV providers perform. But ULA has indicated that upper level management has been looking at changing their policy on this as well, since they got a taste of doing a quick contract response launch for Cygnus in from contract to launch was done in 1 year. They realized that being able to do quick response could pick up payloads that jump ship from another LV provider that has encountered sever delays for some reason.

But some of the data though gives that this is something that SpaceX has known about for a while  just like for the OTV-5 launch. And they had some juggling of schedules which they could do but was complicated with the SLC-40 reactivation delay.

Then the final item to mention since this is a LEO it is likely to be an RTLS. From other information the sat sounds like it is fairly light. The date of 15 Oct would fit with a almost minimum 17 day turnaround after Koreast. It also give a few days to handle any scrubs to be able to still launch on the 15th.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vapour_nudge on 10/16/2017 10:54 PM
Great points oldAtlas_Eguy. A light payload also fits with my PAN or CLIO type launch suggestion from page 1. The Atlas vehicles for both of those were 401 variants and those payloads could have been well under the Atlas V's capability for a 401. We'll know very soon anyway.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craig_VG on 10/16/2017 11:22 PM
We can now confidently say that much of what u/ASTRALsunder (https://www.reddit.com/user/ASTRALsunder) had to say has been confirmed by L2 info (codename, spx-13 reuse being confirmed in early Nov, and timing for Zuma is tight).

Since that has been independently confirmed, it's likely the rest is true as well.

Since NGLS is managing the integration and it is their payload adapter being used the first thought is they are also the Sat operator (like CLIO / PAN), however that would contradict the reddit information. Specifically, this part:

Quote
"One friend did mention that the customer was pretty open and up front with SpaceX about their financial situation to give them an idea on how extremely crucial this flight was for them"

Why would the US Government or Northrop-Grumman (a company buying Orbital ATK for $9.2 Billion) need one particular launch so badly to stay afloat?


*Indeed, I think the current data points to a smaller commercial company operating this satellite.*

 I can also confirm that this November date has been set for about 6 months now and held.


Edit: (or I'm totally wrong which I think is likely at this point, we'll see soon)

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 10/16/2017 11:26 PM
Why does this thread title say KSC while the general speculation one says Vandenberg?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 10/16/2017 11:27 PM
Weren't there some previous instance where similar spacecraft by organizations like DARPA and/or the Missile Defense Agency popped out in similar faction with its identity only revealed very late?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 10/17/2017 03:07 AM

Nice, now I can get rid of that unknown Northrop Grumman entry from the bottom of the manifest.

Yeah, this mission seems to have been on the books for a few years and isn't a rushed RapidLaunch-esque contract

When did the Northrop Grumman launch contract got added to SpaceX's official manifest?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/17/2017 03:09 AM
Why does this thread title say KSC while the general speculation one says Vandenberg?

It doesn’t. If you’re referring to the general discussion SpaceX thread about the entire article on site, that article covers Zuma from KSC as well as Iridium NEXT-4 out of Vandenberg.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 10/17/2017 01:58 PM
It could be that the "customer is cash strapped, flight means lots of future revenue" bit is just the official cover story justifying the hurry-up for this launch. As such, everyone at SpaceX would have heard the same things.

The truth might be some sort of military objective behind the tight schedule and high importance, but that would be kept very quiet.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FinalFrontier on 10/17/2017 02:10 PM
It could be that the "customer is cash strapped, flight means less of future revenue" bit is just the official cover story justifying the hurry-up for this launch. As such, everyone at SpaceX would have heard the same things.

The truth might be some sort of military objective behind the tight schedule and high importance, but that would be kept very quiet.
It is probably this.

Payload could have intelligence significance related to current global posture/current events in the east or elsewhere hence the time sensitivity.

Likewise, it could be something to do with the payload itself that makes it time sensitive. It is very interesting either way.

Quote
has there ever been a case like this in the past where a provider popped up suddenly in similar fashion
I would be interested to know the answer to this too.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/17/2017 02:42 PM
Just a point of order on the revenue side of things. I believe, Northrup Grumman fiscal year runs January 1st to December 31st ( http://www.northropgrumman.com/AboutUs/AnnualReports/Pages/default.aspx ). Since this is being run as a commercial contract, it might be very desirable for Northrup Grumman to recognize the revenue before December 31st.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craig_VG on 10/17/2017 03:20 PM
Crossposting Gary NASA's post in the other thread:

Quote
Payloads have three levels of restrictions for movement and processing. This one will be top of the scale.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43988.msg1738627#msg1738627

Looks more and more to be non-commercial

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 10/17/2017 09:21 PM
Sounds like media accreditation emails have gone out?

Quote
SpaceX has invited reporters to the mysterious Zuma launch. Intriguing!

https://twitter.com/timfernholz/status/920394298121773057 (https://twitter.com/timfernholz/status/920394298121773057)

Quote
39A!

https://twitter.com/timfernholz/status/920394298121773057 (https://twitter.com/timfernholz/status/920394298121773057)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Craig_VG on 10/17/2017 09:28 PM
Quote
Media accreditation is now open for SpaceX's Zuma mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch is targeted for no earlier than November.

More details on pre-launch media activities will be made available closer to launch.

Indeed, above are the interesting bits (note no date given yet). Accreditation is due on Oct 25

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 10/18/2017 04:37 PM
Quote
Northrop confirms mystery #Zuma #SpaceX payload is US gov customer. http://awin.aviationweek.com/ArticlesStory.aspx?id=785fe9ad-a15e-477d-8c7d-06f1cdc140d2

https://twitter.com/free_space/status/920678861037297664 (https://twitter.com/free_space/status/920678861037297664)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/18/2017 04:40 PM
Nov. 16 is current target date according to article in Florida Today (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/10/18/spacex-targeting-november-mystery-zuma-launch-falcon-9-kennedy-space-center-ksc-florida/775284001/?hootPostID=a0eed3369fbd44121783ee9f4308f609)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: .Scott on 10/18/2017 05:24 PM
Quote
Northrop Grumman confirmed to FLORIDA TODAY that it selected Falcon 9 for Zuma, which was described as a "government mission."
“The U.S. government assigned Northrop Grumman the responsibility of acquiring launch services for this mission," said Lon Rains, communications director at Northrop Grumman's Space Systems Division and Space Park Design Center of Excellence. "We have procured the Falcon 9 launch service from SpaceX."
http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/10/18/spacex-targeting-november-mystery-zuma-launch-falcon-9-kennedy-space-center-ksc-florida/775284001/ (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/10/18/spacex-targeting-november-mystery-zuma-launch-falcon-9-kennedy-space-center-ksc-florida/775284001/)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Journeyman on 10/18/2017 06:38 PM
The statement “The U.S. government assigned Northrop Grumman the responsibility of acquiring launch services for this mission,"

Makes me wonder... OK so Northrop Grumman have the responsibility to acquire launch services. Fine! But that is not the same as Northrop Grumman built the satellite!

I think its more interesting to know which company built the satellite. Even if they don't want to disclose what kind of satellite it is.

Or am I misunderstanding something? Is it common that the company that acquires the launch service is also the same company that build the satellite when it comes to government DOD satellites?




Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 10/18/2017 07:06 PM
The statement “The U.S. government assigned Northrop Grumman the responsibility of acquiring launch services for this mission,"

Makes me wonder... OK so Northrop Grumman have the responsibility to acquire launch services. Fine! But that is not the same as Northrop Grumman built the satellite!

I think its more interesting to know which company built the satellite. Even if they don't want to disclose what kind of satellite it is.

Or am I misunderstanding something? Is it common that the company that acquires the launch service is also the same company that build the satellite when it comes to government DOD satellites?
There are no real standards in DOD contracting about this.

There could be easily 4 contractors involved. The sat builder, the launch integrator (which sometimes handles the contract for the LV but not always), the launch provider, and the sat operator.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachF on 10/18/2017 07:49 PM
so DOD maybe chose SpaceX for a last-minute 'we need it now' mission launch?

That has to be a black eye for ULA... Isn't that supposedly the reason we pay them $800 million/year extra?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 10/18/2017 07:57 PM
so DOD maybe chose SpaceX for a last-minute 'we need it now' mission launch?

...

We don’t know that this is a “last-minute ‘we need it now’” mission launch, it could’ve been contracted to SpaceX years ago.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 10/18/2017 08:04 PM
The recent NROL-76(?) on SpaceX was a SpaceX launch procured by the vehicle provider, Ball. I would assume this is a similar scenario. As the govt tries to bring costs down the procurement approach for satellites now makes the contractor also procure the launch service, forcing them to decide between ULA or SpaceX. The government also likes this because if it blows up, then the prime has to bear the responsibility for it, not the govt.


I'd bet money this was not a last minute contract. It was likely included in whatever contract the govt agency signed with NG for the satellite. Satellites don't get built last minute.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachF on 10/18/2017 08:55 PM
so DOD maybe chose SpaceX for a last-minute 'we need it now' mission launch?

...

We don’t know that this is a “last-minute ‘we need it now’” mission launch, it could’ve been contracted to SpaceX years ago.

true
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cppetrie on 10/18/2017 08:59 PM
We don’t even know that it’s a DOD mission. We’ve only been told government client. While DOD may even be likely, it could be another arm of the government. Ideas for what other gov’t client it could be besides DOD?

Edit: removed question about being US gov’t after reviewing posts above. It’s definitely US gov’t.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/18/2017 09:04 PM
We don’t even know that it’s a DOD mission. We’ve only been told government client. While DOD may even be likely, it could be another arm of the government. Ideas for what other gov’t client it could be besides DOD?

Edit: removed question about being US gov’t after reviewing posts above. It’s definitely US gov’t.

It's either military or intelligence agency, otherwise it wouldn't be a secret.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 10/18/2017 09:09 PM
We don’t even know that it’s a DOD mission. We’ve only been told government client. While DOD may even be likely, it could be another arm of the government. Ideas for what other gov’t client it could be besides DOD?

Edit: removed question about being US gov’t after reviewing posts above. It’s definitely US gov’t.

It's either military or intelligence agency, otherwise it wouldn't be a secret.
Hey, there's only 17 or so US intelligence agencies, so should be easy to narrow down.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 10/18/2017 09:48 PM
Isn't NRO (which is a part of DoD) procuring and operating satellites for all US intelligence agencies? Or, is possible that one of the agencies orders and operates satellites independently?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 10/18/2017 10:07 PM
We don’t even know that it’s a DOD mission. We’ve only been told government client. While DOD may even be likely, it could be another arm of the government. Ideas for what other gov’t client it could be besides DOD?

Edit: removed question about being US gov’t after reviewing posts above. It’s definitely US gov’t.

It's either military or intelligence agency, otherwise it wouldn't be a secret.
Hey, there's only 17 or so US intelligence agencies, so should be easy to narrow down.
...and four branches of the military...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 10/18/2017 10:32 PM
We don’t even know that it’s a DOD mission. We’ve only been told government client. While DOD may even be likely, it could be another arm of the government. Ideas for what other gov’t client it could be besides DOD?

Edit: removed question about being US gov’t after reviewing posts above. It’s definitely US gov’t.

It's either military or intelligence agency, otherwise it wouldn't be a secret.
Hey, there's only 17 or so US intelligence agencies, so should be easy to narrow down.
...and four branches of the military...

Don't forget the tens of billions of dollars black budget that isn't publicly available :) The US security community has decades of expertise in shady obfuscation through shell companies and indiscriminately wielding the whole "secret bcuz natl security" stick.

Keeping a satellite vaguely secret and avoiding paper trails are child's play in this context.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shuttle_buff on 10/19/2017 01:38 AM
Let's not forget North Korea and the tensions there! Could be something related to that threat?

Air Force loves SpaceX (now), serious problem for ULA going forward over the next few years. Think
Air Force is getting frustrated with ULA's costs. All these missions popping up for SpaceX proves it.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/u-s-air-force-general-endorses-elon-musk-s-reusable-rockets

According to Jim Cantrell, Elon needs reusable rockets to increase his launch rate, no other reason at this time...
Appears it's working :-). Jim was involved in SpaceX in the early days, going to Russia and all with Elon, looking for ICBMs. So was Mike Griffin BTW, before he was NASA Administrator.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: hartspace on 10/19/2017 03:03 AM
The recent NROL-76(?) on SpaceX was a SpaceX launch procured by the vehicle provider, Ball. I would assume this is a similar scenario. As the govt tries to bring costs down the procurement approach for satellites now makes the contractor also procure the launch service, forcing them to decide between ULA or SpaceX. The government also likes this because if it blows up, then the prime has to bear the responsibility for it, not the govt.
Since this isn't using the normal DOD or NRO launch procurement process, it is likely that the customer is having NG do the launch service procurement to provide additional separation between SpaceX and the govt customer.  The customer probably made the final selection which LV to use.  Likewise, the liability if the LV fails would still be the government's.  While it is possible that this is a Delivery-In-Orbit contract, those have seldom been used in the recent years for government contracts.

Quote
I'd bet money this was not a last minute contract. It was likely included in whatever contract the govt agency signed with NG for the satellite. Satellites don't get built last minute.
Agreed.  Even the best commercial satellite turnaround from contract to launch is a year or more, with the payload typically being the driver.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/19/2017 03:32 AM
so DOD maybe chose SpaceX for a last-minute 'we need it now' mission launch?

...

We don’t know that this is a “last-minute ‘we need it now’” mission launch, it could’ve been contracted to SpaceX years ago.


There is info about this on L2.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/19/2017 08:23 AM
Isn't NRO (which is a part of DoD) procuring and operating satellites for all US intelligence agencies? Or, is possible that one of the agencies orders and operates satellites independently?

PAN was not a NRO payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/19/2017 09:54 AM
Isn't NRO (which is a part of DoD) procuring and operating satellites for all US intelligence agencies? Or, is possible that one of the agencies orders and operates satellites independently?

PAN was not a NRO payload.

PAN (aka NEMESIS-1) appears to be a NRO payload (as confirmed by leaked information like the NRO budget and the Menwith Hill information published by The Intercept, but was not procured and launched the usual way.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/19/2017 09:56 AM
Isn't NRO (which is a part of DoD) procuring and operating satellites for all US intelligence agencies? Or, is possible that one of the agencies orders and operates satellites independently?

PAN was not a NRO payload.

PAN (aka NEMESIS-1) appears to be a NRO payload (as confirmed by leaked information like the NRO budget and the Menwith Hill information published by The Intercept, but was not procured and launched the usual way.

I thought it was more of a shared program between several agencies rather than being a standard NRO launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: foragefarmer on 10/19/2017 10:54 AM
Possible Payload?

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/EagleSpacecraft/Pages/default.aspx (http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/EagleSpacecraft/Pages/default.aspx)


Eagle Spacecraft
One family to efficiently satisfy a range of missions
Northrop Grumman’s Eagle spacecraft product line is designed to meet the growing market demand for affordable and reliable spacecraft capable of supporting a variety of mission applications.

With a rich legacy of building space platforms that range from small low Earth orbit spacecraft to large observatories and deep space probes, Northrop Grumman has combined elements of these proven products into a family of Eagle spacecraft to readily serve the mission needs of customers at an affordable price.

The Eagle spacecraft product line consists of four basic configurations, each suited for a particular class of missions. Design and product commonality across the Eagle configurations enable low cost and rapid delivery, while maintaining Northrop Grumman’s commitment to reliability and mission success.

The Eagle spacecraft employ a flexible design that allows performance to be cost-efficiently tailored with existing, flight-proven component options to meet unique mission requirements, including solutions that may go beyond the standard Eagle configurations.

Whether it’s a one-way journey to the moon, a study of Earth’s environment, or a critical operational data acquisition mission, the Eagle spacecraft line provides an affordable, rapid and reliable platform to accomplish your mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: .Scott on 10/19/2017 11:28 AM
Isn't NRO (which is a part of DoD) procuring and operating satellites for all US intelligence agencies? Or, is possible that one of the agencies orders and operates satellites independently?
From the NRO web site:
Quote
When the United States needs eyes and ears in critical places where no human can reach – be it over the most rugged terrain or through the most hostile territory – it turns to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The NRO is the U.S. Government agency in charge of designing, building, launching, and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites. Whether creating the latest innovations in satellite technology, contracting with the most cost-efficient industrial supplier, conducting rigorous launch schedules, or providing the highest-quality products to our customers, we never lose focus on who we are working to protect: our Nation and its citizens.

DoD use of space could be weapon, intelligence gathering, or some other.  "Intelligence" would be covered by the NRO. Most strategic space weaponization is against treaties, and other weaponization wouldn't seem to be worth it.  "Other" is possible.  The internet and GPS were both DoD initiatives.

Taking everything into consideration, it seems very doubtful to me that DoD or the US intelligence community would launch without tapping the NRO.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: darkenfast on 10/19/2017 04:22 PM
Could this launch be a replacement for an NRO satellite that has failed or is failing?  That might explain some of the question marks around the whole process.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/19/2017 04:23 PM
...and we're back to a bunch of random guesses again.

There are precedents for launches like this.  They have been mentioned multiple times already in this thread.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 10/19/2017 04:39 PM
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Marslauncher on 10/19/2017 04:44 PM
Would the investor conference call have any general information pertinent to this launch? -

Q3 2017 Northrop Grumman Earnings Conference Call
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 12:00 p.m. ET
http://investor.northropgrumman.com/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=112386&eventID=5264181
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/19/2017 04:54 PM
If they don't want to tell us what the satellite is for, then they won't (at least in the next few decades).  After we get some idea of where it ends up in orbit then some speculation on uses might be more useful.  We still don't really know what the payloads from the NROL-76 or OTV-5 flights are doing now either.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/19/2017 06:50 PM
It might be as simple as contract financial incentives that they will lose if the satellite is not in orbit by some arbitrary date (Q4 ends Dec 31st for Northrup). Never underestimate the power of a manager at risk of not getting his bonus.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 10/19/2017 09:01 PM
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.
Then why doesn't it carry an NROL designation?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/19/2017 10:12 PM
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.
Then why doesn't it carry an NROL designation?

Because not all NRO missions do.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 10/19/2017 11:20 PM
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.
Then why doesn't it carry an NROL designation?

Because the launch is not contracted via NRO, but via the manufacturer (similar as with the NEMESIS satellites PAN and CLIO)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 10/20/2017 03:33 AM
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.
Then why doesn't it carry an NROL designation?

Because the launch is not contracted via NRO, but via the manufacturer (similar as with the NEMESIS satellites PAN and CLIO)
NROL-76 was procured via the contractor, Ball.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 10/20/2017 03:58 AM
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.
Then why doesn't it carry an NROL designation?

Because the launch is not contracted via NRO, but via the manufacturer (similar as with the NEMESIS satellites PAN and CLIO)
NROL-76 was procured via the contractor, Ball.
Not all NRO payloads have received NRO L numbers
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/20/2017 06:37 AM
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.
Then why doesn't it carry an NROL designation?

Because the launch is not contracted via NRO, but via the manufacturer (similar as with the NEMESIS satellites PAN and CLIO)
NROL-76 was procured via the contractor, Ball.
Not all NRO payloads have received NRO L numbers

I’ve already told the OP that.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 10/20/2017 05:16 PM
I'm just asking for some evidence to back up the claims and the best I'm getting in return is some hand-wavy "it's an exception to the rule" type stuff.

I think it's fair that I can reasonably say I'm unconvinced.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/20/2017 05:24 PM
I'm just asking for some evidence to back up the claims and the best I'm getting in return is some hand-wavy "it's an exception to the rule" type stuff.

I think it's fair that I can reasonably say I'm unconvinced.

You're unlikely to get the evidence you want.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/20/2017 05:59 PM
I'm just asking for some evidence to back up the claims and the best I'm getting in return is some hand-wavy "it's an exception to the rule" type stuff.

I think it's fair that I can reasonably say I'm unconvinced.

You're unlikely to get the evidence you want.

They can always try and spend the rest of their life in a federal prison.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Graham on 10/20/2017 06:02 PM
I'm just asking for some evidence to back up the claims and the best I'm getting in return is some hand-wavy "it's an exception to the rule" type stuff.

I think it's fair that I can reasonably say I'm unconvinced.

The only reason we know what PAN and CLIO are for sure is because of Edward Snowden. We will never know for sure what this launch is, but we do know that PAN and CLIO so far have a lot of similarities in their pre launch build ups, so Occam's Razor then suggests this is some type of government mission along the same lines.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/20/2017 06:08 PM
FWIW the current administration is on a push to displace parts of the NSS side, just like efforts by Peter Thiel to push Palantir to commercialize intelligence gathering/analysis (he's being considered as a WH intelligence advisor).

So why not the same for potential "black commercial space"? 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/20/2017 06:49 PM
FWIW the current administration is on a push to displace parts of the NSS side, just like efforts by Peter Thiel to push Palantir to commercialize intelligence gathering/analysis (he's being considered as a WH intelligence advisor).

So why not the same for potential "black commercial space"?

Reconnaissance will always have an element of public ownership of the means of data collection.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 10/20/2017 08:11 PM
FWIW the current administration is on a push to displace parts of the NSS side, just like efforts by Peter Thiel to push Palantir to commercialize intelligence gathering/analysis (he's being considered as a WH intelligence advisor).

So why not the same for potential "black commercial space"?

Reconnaissance will always have an element of public ownership of the means of data collection.
Not sure what you mean by this. There are a number of commercial space imagery companies with contracts to sell their products to the government. Where's the public ownership (taxpayer/gov ownership)of DigitalGlobe?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 10/20/2017 08:38 PM
I'm just asking for some evidence to back up the claims and the best I'm getting in return is some hand-wavy "it's an exception to the rule" type stuff.

I think it's fair that I can reasonably say I'm unconvinced.

You're unlikely to get the evidence you want.

They can always try and spend the rest of their life in a federal prison.

(A suggestion offered in good faith, but with a little ;D )

File FOIA release requests for the information.  You'll eventually get a rejection.

File again once a year, every year following.

After (n)th filing, receive fully declassified answer in 20XX.

Celebrate with a victory lap in your Tesla Jetson-mobile!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2Z8kPpLg1g
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/21/2017 05:39 PM
From SpaceFlight Now Launch Schedule (https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/):
Quote
Launch window: 0100-0300 GMT on 16th (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST on 15th)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Brovane on 10/23/2017 03:02 PM
My apologies if this has already been shared.

This is a nice article from last year about PAN/NEMESIS.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3095/1 (http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3095/1)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: .Scott on 10/25/2017 11:18 AM
NRO says that Zuma is not NRO.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/nro-spacex-zuma-payload-not-its-bird (http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/nro-spacex-zuma-payload-not-its-bird)

Per Aviation Week:
Quote
CAPE CANAVERAL—The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office says a mystery payload known as Zuma, which is slated to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 next month, does not belong to the ..

Sorry, but I don't subscribe to Aviation Week - so all I have is this teaser.

So, it would appear that Zuma is "US Government" but not military reconnaissance.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jebbo on 10/25/2017 11:24 AM
So, is it even a national security launch?

--- Tony
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: .Scott on 10/25/2017 11:48 AM
So, is it even a national security launch?
It's really hard to imagine a non-military agency of the US government keeping a secret satellite.
I mean REALLY hard.  Would anyone really believe that the FBI, DEA, or ICE would ever get past the planning stage before this would be public?

So that leave some sort of military support that is not reconnaissance.  Perhaps communications?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/25/2017 12:11 PM
So that leave some sort of military support that is not reconnaissance.  Perhaps communications?

Launch from the East Range suggests me me either:

* Recon asset over fixed target (SIGINT, especially);
* Military communications (Unlikely: These tend to have program names).

[edit]
FWIW, though, this has the feel to me of an experimental payload, not for operational purposes but for assessment/testing.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jet Black on 10/25/2017 12:32 PM
So, is it even a national security launch?

--- Tony

We can't tell you, because releasing that information would be a breach of national security ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: wannamoonbase on 10/25/2017 01:12 PM
So that leave some sort of military support that is not reconnaissance.  Perhaps communications?

Launch from the East Range suggests me me either:

* Recon asset over fixed target (SIGINT, especially);
* Military communications (Unlikely: These tend to have program names).

[edit]
FWIW, though, this has the feel to me of an experimental payload, not for operational purposes but for assessment/testing.

I’ve been wondering if this is a rapid response launch.  Maybe to replace an existing bird with a standby payload.  SpaceX’s launcher availability and stream lined operations may enable that long sought after dream of DOD.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Shanuson on 10/25/2017 01:46 PM
So that leave some sort of military support that is not reconnaissance.  Perhaps communications?

Launch from the East Range suggests me me either:

* Recon asset over fixed target (SIGINT, especially);
* Military communications (Unlikely: These tend to have program names).

[edit]
FWIW, though, this has the feel to me of an experimental payload, not for operational purposes but for assessment/testing.

I’ve been wondering if this is a rapid response launch.  Maybe to replace an existing bird with a standby payload.  SpaceX’s launcher availability and stream lined operations may enable that long sought after dream of DOD.

IIRC we already concluded this is based on an contract between NG and SpaceX from 2015.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 10/25/2017 01:57 PM
Makes you wonder if it’s testing some sensitive piece of technology rather than being reconnaissance related.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 10/25/2017 02:11 PM
NRO says that Zuma is not NRO.

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/nro-spacex-zuma-payload-not-its-bird (http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/nro-spacex-zuma-payload-not-its-bird)

Per Aviation Week:
Quote
CAPE CANAVERAL—The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office says a mystery payload known as Zuma, which is slated to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 next month, does not belong to the ..

Sorry, but I don't subscribe to Aviation Week - so all I have is this teaser.

So, it would appear that Zuma is "US Government" but not military reconnaissance.

Not sure if we should trust this kind of news. I think that depending on classification level they may be obliged to deny their very involvement in a project even if they in fact are are involved. We may never know.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 10/25/2017 02:18 PM
So, is it even a national security launch?
It's really hard to imagine a non-military agency of the US government keeping a secret satellite.
I mean REALLY hard.  Would anyone really believe that the FBI, DEA, or ICE would ever get past the planning stage before this would be public?

So that leave some sort of military support that is not reconnaissance.  Perhaps communications?

see, CLIO and PAN
CIA & NSA are non-military agency of the US government
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: abaddon on 10/25/2017 02:19 PM
Not sure if we should trust this kind of news. I think that depending on classification level they may be obliged to deny their very involvement in a project even if they in fact are are involved. We may never know.
The quote is "doesn't belong to", not "not involved with".  As a hypothetical example, it could be a technology demonstrator serving multiple purposes, and hosting a NRO payload in addition to others, while still "not belonging" to the NRO.

Generally speaking, have we seen a pattern of actual disinformation (as opposed to "no information") in the past?  Seems like we tend to take these kinds of statements at face value, although the language should be parsed carefully.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 10/25/2017 03:55 PM
Not sure if we should trust this kind of news. I think that depending on classification level they may be obliged to deny their very involvement in a project even if they in fact are are involved. We may never know.
The quote is "doesn't belong to", not "not involved with".  As a hypothetical example, it could be a technology demonstrator serving multiple purposes, and hosting a NRO payload in addition to others, while still "not belonging" to the NRO.

Generally speaking, have we seen a pattern of actual disinformation (as opposed to "no information") in the past?  Seems like we tend to take these kinds of statements at face value, although the language should be parsed carefully.

Exactly.  And this would fit with Zuma being commercially owned and operated (i.e.: It doesn't belong to the U.S. government) but all its systems are for the U.S. government's use.  Therefore, it's technically not a government payload.  The government is just the customer using the satellite.  <<< And that is exactly what we know for absolute certain because.... https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/10/spacex-zuma-iridium-4-aims-vandenberg-landing/ ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 10/26/2017 04:12 AM
A bunch of people who can't be bothered to look up where an agency that may or may not be involved with the launch lies in the executive branch is the last thing this thread needs.  Please make some attempt to stay on topic.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 10/27/2017 03:35 PM
Agency structure, and whether NRO or NSA or CIA have generals or admirals at their heads? Anyone seriously think that's on topic???  Press report to mod on this post and make your case. But no.

(Second warning, some posts removed outright)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: the_other_Doug on 10/28/2017 02:44 AM
If there is no live video from inside the payload shroud, or from stage 2, after MECO/staging, that will say a lot about the nature of this payload, won't it?

I don't recall any launches except spysat/DoD support payloads (of one form or another), in the rocketcam era, restricting the broadcast of video from stage 2 of their launch vehicles.  So, if they do restrict the stage 2 video on this one, then I'd say the expectation has been set that this means it's a spysat or DoD support payload of some ilk or flavor...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vanoord on 10/28/2017 07:37 AM
Given the late announcement of the mission and the secrecy that’s surrounded it, I’d be pleasantly surprised just to have a webcast showing footage from the ground and the post- separation footage of the S1 core.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 10/28/2017 04:15 PM
Given the late announcement of the mission and the secrecy that’s surrounded it, I’d be pleasantly surprised just to have a webcast showing footage from the ground and the post- separation footage of the S1 core.

Don't be surprised; it's happened twice during NROL-76 and X-37B OTV-5.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/04/2017 05:48 PM
This may be normal but I find it interesting:

Quote
SpaceX Falcon 9 Strongback still sits on top of LC-39A following Monday's successful launch.

https://twitter.com/NASA_Nerd/status/926871276341174272 (https://twitter.com/NASA_Nerd/status/926871276341174272)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 11/04/2017 06:20 PM
This may be normal but I find it interesting:

Quote
SpaceX Falcon 9 Strongback still sits on top of LC-39A following Monday's successful launch.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Strongback still sits on top of LC-39A following Monday's successful launch. (http://SpaceX Falcon 9 Strongback still sits on top of LC-39A following Monday's successful launch.)

Your url on that is broken, here it is: https://twitter.com/NASA_Nerd/status/926871276341174272
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 11/04/2017 06:28 PM
This may be normal but I find it interesting:

Quote
SpaceX Falcon 9 Strongback still sits on top of LC-39A following Monday's successful launch.

https://twitter.com/NASA_Nerd/status/926871276341174272 (https://twitter.com/NASA_Nerd/status/926871276341174272)
They finally installed the final 2 rain birds on the north side of the pad. Only 2 Hold Downs (HD) and 2 Tail Service Masts (TSM) and final TEL outfitting for FH visibly remain to be installed.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Wolfram66 on 11/06/2017 03:11 PM
Static fire is scheduled for when? T-5 days?? approx 11/9 or 11/10  ??? :-\
Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/07/2017 07:06 PM
Quote
I spy with my @SpaceX eye ...

https://twitter.com/wordsmithfl/status/927985043372470274
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jjyach on 11/07/2017 11:37 PM
It was up, down, and halfway many times today.  No more progress on the last two hold downs, and saw some more being removed from the RSS.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/09/2017 03:15 PM
This really is a dark mission, the moon won't even be up.

Moonrise 4:04 am   Moonset 4:07 pm
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/09/2017 07:46 PM
Quote
Mandatory tour bus shot of 39A today ahead of #Zuma preparations.

https://twitter.com/julia_bergeron/status/928723026874650628
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rpapo on 11/09/2017 08:23 PM
This really is a dark mission, the moon won't even be up.

Moonrise 4:04 am   Moonset 4:07 pm
Until the Merlins fire up, of course.  It's not like you can stealth launch a rocket.  At least not yet.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 11/09/2017 08:43 PM
This really is a dark mission, the moon won't even be up.

Moonrise 4:04 am   Moonset 4:07 pm
Until the Merlins fire up, of course.  It's not like you can stealth launch a rocket.  At least not yet.

Having fun imagining a huge suppressor screwing onto the bottom of Falcon 9.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/09/2017 10:01 PM
We're still on the schedule for the Static Fire on Saturday, but apparently this document shows a reschedule for the launch date to the 16th:

http://www.patrick.af.mil/Portals/14/documents/Launch%20Hazard%20Area%20Maps/11-15-2017%20%20LHA.pdf?ver=2017-11-09-154517-137

We'll stay as we are until it's got a secondary confirmation via KSC schedules, etc.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Maestro19 on 11/09/2017 10:07 PM
This really is a dark mission, the moon won't even be up.

Moonrise 4:04 am   Moonset 4:07 pm
Until the Merlins fire up, of course.  It's not like you can stealth launch a rocket.  At least not yet.

Having fun imagining a huge suppressor screwing onto the bottom of Falcon 9.
Re stealth launching rockets -
Not yet, not ever I think, while rockets work by producing immense shear and relative motion between two volumes of gas. OTOH if someone invents anti-gravity or teleportation, then you can perhaps stealth launch a payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/09/2017 10:25 PM
Let the ZUMA games begin! ;D

Air Force tweet out the 15th:
https://twitter.com/45thSpaceWing/status/928763643172474880
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/09/2017 11:07 PM
Airspace closure area
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 11/09/2017 11:24 PM
Launch Hazard Area.

Defo not GEO  8)

Edit: Added OTV-5 LHA for comparison, 45~deg parking orbit.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shooter6947 on 11/10/2017 12:09 AM
Defo not GEO  8)
Edit: Added OTV-5 LHA for comparison, 45~deg parking orbit.
Airspace closure area
The airspace closures looks to be on an easterly azimuth, even if the sea-based hazard zone more closely resembles OTV-5 for a 45-degree inclination.  Also, why is the sea hazard area so much less extensive eastbound than it was for OTV-5?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 11/10/2017 01:39 AM
Defo not GEO  8)
Edit: Added OTV-5 LHA for comparison, 45~deg parking orbit.
Airspace closure area
The airspace closures looks to be on an easterly azimuth, even if the sea-based hazard zone more closely resembles OTV-5 for a 45-degree inclination.  Also, why is the sea hazard area so much less extensive eastbound than it was for OTV-5?
RTLS?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cppetrie on 11/10/2017 01:41 AM
Defo not GEO  8)
Edit: Added OTV-5 LHA for comparison, 45~deg parking orbit.
Airspace closure area
The airspace closures looks to be on an easterly azimuth, even if the sea-based hazard zone more closely resembles OTV-5 for a 45-degree inclination.  Also, why is the sea hazard area so much less extensive eastbound than it was for OTV-5?
RTLS?
OTV-5 was also RTLS.

My only thought is they are planning to use a very lofted flight path.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: OnWithTheShow on 11/10/2017 01:43 AM
RTLS?

Both flights were/are RTLS
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/10/2017 10:35 AM
I wonder if this might be the same vehicle bus as NROL-76? Both were RTLS, after all; there can't be many milspec busses that are light enough for that, even if they're only going into LEO.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 11/10/2017 10:40 AM
I wonder if this might be the same vehicle bus as NROL-76? Both were RTLS, after all; there can't be many milspec busses that are light enough for that, even if they're only going into LEO.

Unlikely, as NROL-76 was built by Ball Aerospace, not Northrop Grumman.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 11/10/2017 11:37 AM
Defo not GEO  8)
Edit: Added OTV-5 LHA for comparison, 45~deg parking orbit.
Airspace closure area
The airspace closures looks to be on an easterly azimuth, even if the sea-based hazard zone more closely resembles OTV-5 for a 45-degree inclination.  Also, why is the sea hazard area so much less extensive eastbound than it was for OTV-5?
RTLS?

yup
Quote
Nov 15; window opens at 8 pm! A landing is planned at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station!
https://twitter.com/45thSpaceWing/status/928763643172474880
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 11/10/2017 11:44 AM
(Sorry - I was saying that in response to the question of why the sea hazard area was so less extensive...)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/10/2017 01:47 PM
If it's going to 63 degrees, I wonder if the launch window will line up with OTV-5's orbital plane (Assume they have recovered OTV-5).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mn on 11/10/2017 02:49 PM
We're still on the schedule for the Static Fire on Saturday, but apparently this document shows a reschedule for the launch date to the 16th:

http://www.patrick.af.mil/Portals/14/documents/Launch%20Hazard%20Area%20Maps/11-15-2017%20%20LHA.pdf?ver=2017-11-09-154517-137

We'll stay as we are until it's got a secondary confirmation via KSC schedules, etc.

The air space closure document posted above shows the 16th but the time appears to be UTC (if I'm reading that correctly), so the date seems correct.

Could it be that the the Launch Hazard Area Map they changed the time to local time but forgot to change the date?

Edit: I missed the RESCHEDULED in red before the date.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Notleslie on 11/12/2017 02:01 AM
A 51 deg orbit lines up with this NOTAM area lift off +02h24m. All approximately that is.


F3592/17 NOTAMN
Q) YMMM/QWMLW/IV/BO/W/000/999/3014S13202E999
A) YMMM
B) 1711160300 C) 1711170637
D) 1711160300 TO 1711160637
1711170300 TO 1711170637
E) US ROCKET SPLASHDOWN AREA
FLW RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS WILL BE CONDUCTED SURFACE TO UNLIMITED FOR
ATMOSPHERIC RE-ENTRY AND SPLASHDOWN OF LAUNCH VEHICLE FALCON 9 ZUMA
AND PARTICIPATING SUPPORT AIRCRAFT WITHIN THE FOLLOWING AREA:
FROM 3027S 6451E TO 3044S 6703E TO 3810S 8243E TO 4722S 10839 TO
5030S 12439E TO 5155S 12603E TO 5332S 12505E TO 5424S 11601E TO 5334S
10127E TO 4746S 8205E TO 3958S 6931E TO 3156S 6323E TO BEGINNING. PRI
RE ENTRY 1711160300 0637. BACKUP RE ENTRY 171117 0300 0637

F) SFC G) UNL

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jacqmans on 11/13/2017 01:18 PM
Launch Viewing for SpaceX Zuma

View the next launch from Kennedy Space Center!

Don’t miss the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center’s LC-39A on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. The Falcon 9 rocket’s reusable first stage will attempt a controlled landing at Landing Zone 1 (LZ1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

 Launch viewing opportunities for this launch are available at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, approximately 3.9 miles/6.27 kilometers from launch pad, for only $20 in addition to daily admission. No viewing will be available from the main visitor complex.

https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/tickets.aspx?keyword=Rocket%20Launch&spMailingID=31554805&spUserID=MTE1Njg5MDIwMzQ4S0&spJobID=1161377047&spReportId=MTE2MTM3NzA0NwS2
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nisse on 11/13/2017 06:30 PM
Where does the name "Zuma" come from? Who named it?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 11/13/2017 07:11 PM
Where does the name "Zuma" come from? Who named it?

If I remember correctly, the name “Zuma” is of South African heritage, which is why Elon Musk named the payload “Zuma”.

No. Zuma is the codename used by the government (unclear which agency) and the contractor (Northrop Grumman). Nothing to do with Elon Musk and SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 11/13/2017 08:08 PM
Where does the name "Zuma" come from? Who named it?

If I remember correctly, the name “Zuma” is of South African heritage, which is why Elon Musk named the payload “Zuma”.

No. Zuma is the codename used by the government (unclear which agency) and the contractor (Northrop Grumman). Nothing to do with Elon Musk and SpaceX.

Perhaps the Code name was indeed selected with Musk's South African background in mind. These code names are not always randomly chosen. One of the 60ies secret SIGINT missions was named LONG JOHN after a very tall team member, who developed the payload and WILD BILL was also named after one of the team members. Perhaps we will know, when ZUMA gets declassified in 50 years.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: envy887 on 11/13/2017 08:13 PM
WESTERN NORTH ATLANTIC.
FLORIDA.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING
160055Z TO 160337Z NOV, ALTERNATE
170055Z TO 170337Z NOV IN AREAS BOUND BY:
A. 28-38N 080-43W, 29-12N 080-06W,
30-04N 079-00W, 29-56N 078-52W,
28-41N 080-10W, 28-26N 080-21W,
28-22N 080-38W.
B. 30-04N 079-00W, 30-52N 078-17W,
31-32N 077-25W, 31-54N 076-49W,
31-49N 076-45W, 31-36N 076-57W,
30-44N 077-53W, 29-56N 078-52W.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 170437Z NOV 17.//

Authority: EASTERN RANGE 072156Z NOV 17.

Date: 110428Z NOV 17
Cancel: 17043700 Nov 17

SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.
DNC 03, DNC 04.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS SPACE DEBRIS
160300Z TO 160637Z NOV, ALTERNATE
170300Z TO 170637Z NOV IN AREA BOUND BY
30-27S 064-51E, 30-44S 067-03E,
38-10S 082-43E, 47-22S 108-39E,
50-30S 124-39E, 51-55S 126-03E,
53-32S 125-05E, 54-24S 116-01E,
53-34S 101-27E, 47-46S 082-05E,
39-58S 069-31E, 31-56S 063-23E.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 170737Z NOV 17.//

Authority: EASTERN RANGE 072155Z NOV 17.

Date: 110407Z NOV 17
Cancel: 17073700 Nov 17

Looks really close to 51.6 degrees. Is this going to have any close approaches to the ISS? It's odd that SpaceX has launched two USG classified birds to this inclination this year.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 11/13/2017 09:00 PM
Looks really close to 51.6 degrees. Is this going to have any close approaches to the ISS? It's odd that SpaceX has launched two USG classified birds to this inclination this year.

Also, the end of the launch window (which they could definitely be aiming, to keep the orbit somewhat unknown before launch) *almost* (Off by 15-20 minutes) lines up to launching into the plane of the ISS. So it's close. Almost exactly the same as NROL-76. And yes there will most lightly be close passes to station.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vapour_nudge on 11/13/2017 09:32 PM
Where does the name "Zuma" come from? Who named it?

If I remember correctly, the name “Zuma” is of South African heritage, which is why Elon Musk named the payload “Zuma”.

No. Zuma is the codename used by the government (unclear which agency) and the contractor (Northrop Grumman). Nothing to do with Elon Musk and SpaceX.

Perhaps the Code name was indeed selected with Musk's South African background in mind. These code names are not always randomly chosen. One of the 60ies secret SIGINT missions was named LONG JOHN after a very tall team member, who developed the payload and WILD BILL was also named after one of the team members. Perhaps we will know, when ZUMA gets declassified in 50 years.
I suggested that on page two but the mods suggested we stop guessing and leave it be. I got it wrong too, his first name that is. I've spoken to many South Africans who suggest Zuma's wealth is accumulated through corrupt means. I don't know if that's true or not but I guess Musk would know that and would be smart enough not to get involved. Anyway, it's a US government funded mission isn't it? Would they name a mission after a foreign leader??  I don't know
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Tomness on 11/13/2017 10:25 PM
Quote
Northrop Grumman on #SpaceX Zuma launch: "This represents a cost effective approach to space access for government missions. Northrop realizes that this is monumental responsibility and has taken great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma."

https://twitter.com/nova_road/status/930211593014652934 (https://twitter.com/nova_road/status/930211593014652934)

Is that, we will scratch SpaceX back, if they scratch ours?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shooter6947 on 11/13/2017 10:54 PM
Looks really close to 51.6 degrees. Is this going to have any close approaches to the ISS? It's odd that SpaceX has launched two USG classified birds to this inclination this year.
Also, the end of the launch window (which they could definitely be aiming, to keep the orbit somewhat unknown before launch) *almost* (Off by 15-20 minutes) lines up to launching into the plane of the ISS. So it's close. Almost exactly the same as NROL-76. And yes there will most lightly be close passes to station.

Okay, so what advantage could there be for a ~53 degree orbit, from a Milspace perspective?  It's the lowest inclination that the Russians can reach from Baikonur, roughly.  Do the Russians have a lot of military sats in this inclination?  Or the Chinese?  I mean, it's not a horrible inclination for surface imaging in visible, infrared, or RADAR:  the vast majority of the human population is within +/-50 degrees latitude.  If you wanted to get both coverage of China and significant repeat coverage for China this might be a good target inclination. 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: schaban on 11/14/2017 01:56 AM
Okay, so what advantage could there be for a ~53 degree orbit, from a Milspace perspective?
caliphate?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 11/14/2017 03:43 AM
Where does the name "Zuma" come from? Who named it?

If I remember correctly, the name “Zuma” is of South African heritage, which is why Elon Musk named the payload “Zuma”.

No. Zuma is the codename used by the government (unclear which agency) and the contractor (Northrop Grumman). Nothing to do with Elon Musk and SpaceX.

Also Zuma Engineering & Research, which I believe is in LA. Their senior PM  worked for Northrop Grumman

http://www.zumaengineering.com/aboutus/frederickmitchell.html
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dnavas on 11/14/2017 03:52 AM
Where does the name "Zuma" come from? Who named it?

If I remember correctly, the name “Zuma” is of South African heritage, which is why Elon Musk named the payload “Zuma”.

No. Zuma is the codename used by the government (unclear which agency) and the contractor (Northrop Grumman). Nothing to do with Elon Musk and SpaceX.

Also Zuma Engineering & Research, which I believe is in LA. IIRC one of their principles worked for Northrop Grumman a while back.

Lots of possibilities.  There's also: https://www.z-uma.com/  (see also: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-zuma%E2%80%8B-ziska-bb288617/)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 11/14/2017 03:54 AM
PLS. NO MORE NAME SPECULATION :'(
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/14/2017 03:55 AM
Enough with the random guessing again.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 11/15/2017 03:32 PM
Just saw the new SpaceX photo of Falcon 9 and Zuma. It's up on the Update Thread.

Looks really blank with barely any fairing art.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/15/2017 04:08 PM
Just saw the new SpaceX photo of Falcon 9 and Zuma. It's up on the Update Thread.

Looks really blank with barely any fairing art.

Not even any NRO type abstract art?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 11/15/2017 04:31 PM
Just saw the new SpaceX photo of Falcon 9 and Zuma. It's up on the Update Thread.

Looks really blank with barely any fairing art.

Not even any NRO type abstract art?

Nope, just a very minimal "Northrop Grumman" in tiny letters.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: whitelancer64 on 11/15/2017 04:32 PM
Just saw the new SpaceX photo of Falcon 9 and Zuma. It's up on the Update Thread.

Looks really blank with barely any fairing art.

Not even any NRO type abstract art?

It only has the NG logo on it.

*edit* image source:

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/930833296308674565
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: 76794p on 11/15/2017 06:55 PM
Rumors are circulating that the launch will not be livestreamed according to this article. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/879593/spacex-launch-date-time-when-is-falcon-9-zuma-payload-space-nasa-elon-musk 

The source is dubious at best.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rebel44 on 11/15/2017 07:04 PM
Rumors are circulating that the launch will not be livestreamed according to this article. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/879593/spacex-launch-date-time-when-is-falcon-9-zuma-payload-space-nasa-elon-musk 

The source is dubious at best.

Considering that they also think that FH will fly in late November, I wouldn't take this article too seriously - most likely they won't stream flight of 2nd stage (just like with NROL-76) and author of this article mistaken that for not streaming launch at all.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: hopalong on 11/15/2017 07:09 PM
Rumors are circulating that the launch will not be livestreamed according to this article. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/879593/spacex-launch-date-time-when-is-falcon-9-zuma-payload-space-nasa-elon-musk 

The source is dubious at best.

Considering that they also think that FH will fly in late November, I wouldn't take this article too seriously - most likely they won't stream flight of 2nd stage (just like with NROL-76) and author of this article mistaken that for not streaming launch at all.

The Express has gone downhill over the last 20 years or so. I don’t bother with it.  :)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/15/2017 07:12 PM
Rumors are circulating that the launch will not be livestreamed according to this article. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/879593/spacex-launch-date-time-when-is-falcon-9-zuma-payload-space-nasa-elon-musk 

The source is dubious at best.

Considering that they also think that FH will fly in late November, I wouldn't take this article too seriously - most likely they won't stream flight of 2nd stage (just like with NROL-76) and author of this article mistaken that for not streaming launch at all.

The Express has gone downhill over the last 20 years or so. I don’t bother with it.  :)

This is not true.  The webcast will generally follow NRO and Air Force classified guidelines... with normal coverage through stage sep and then sole focus on the Booster's RTLS landing at LZ-1 with blackout rules on the second stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2017 07:20 PM
Where does the name "Zuma" come from? Who named it?

If I remember correctly, the name “Zuma” is of South African heritage, which is why Elon Musk named the payload “Zuma”.

No. Zuma is the codename used by the government (unclear which agency) and the contractor (Northrop Grumman). Nothing to do with Elon Musk and SpaceX.

Perhaps the Code name was indeed selected with Musk's South African background in mind. These code names are not always randomly chosen. One of the 60ies secret SIGINT missions was named LONG JOHN after a very tall team member, who developed the payload and WILD BILL was also named after one of the team members. Perhaps we will know, when ZUMA gets declassified in 50 years.


The name would have be selected long before the launch vehicle
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: drnscr on 11/15/2017 07:40 PM
And, another error was the portion about the stage returning to OCISLY.  We know that’s incorrect.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CorvusCorax on 11/15/2017 08:38 PM
Question, is Zuma launch now simultaneous with Teslas big electric truck revelation?
Which one will Elon be at ? ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mrhuggy on 11/15/2017 08:47 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.

 The tests that they have done before was during the 2009-2011 when they launched 2 on a Delta 2. They used them to detect and track launches of missiles, aircraft and other satellites. They could be used to help provide better targeting information for the Aegis and THAAD system for a quicker intercept of missiles launched from North Korea.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/15/2017 08:56 PM
Question, is Zuma launch now simultaneous with Teslas big electric truck revelation?
Which one will Elon be at ? ;)

No, they're in different time zones.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vaporcobra on 11/15/2017 09:07 PM
Question, is Zuma launch now simultaneous with Teslas big electric truck revelation?
Which one will Elon be at ? ;)

No, they're in different time zones.

5pm and 8pm PDT, to be specific.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nisse on 11/15/2017 09:26 PM
How important is it for companies like Northrop Grumman to launch government satallites it builds on non-ULA rockets? I.e. not having to let ULA and potentially Boeing and Lockheed know what capabilities they offer the US government?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gosnold on 11/15/2017 09:41 PM
Okay, so what advantage could there be for a ~53 degree orbit, from a Milspace perspective?
caliphate?

It's pretty good to look at China and southern Russia. A 53° orbit gets you a few consecutive orbits that pass over China, and even provides short revisit of some places at the altitude of USA 276.

It's very good to look at North Korea: it gives 5 consecutive passes a day with OK look angle, so you could get TEL positions updated every 90 minutes, over 7.5 hours. If Zuma gets into a similar orbit, it could increase the frequency to 45 minutes if injected in the same plane, or increase the duration of the coverage window to cover almost the whole day if injected in a symmetrical orbit (that seems to be the case given the launch hazard areas). For that kind a mission a radar bird is likely as they can see through clouds. That would be a similar mission to the Lacrosse/Topaz, which are probably used to hunt Soviet/Russian TELs.

Plus the plane of USA 276 is close to the ISS, so if you shoot it you get into a multinational mess.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: abaddon on 11/15/2017 09:42 PM
How important is it for companies like Northrop Grumman to launch government satallites it builds on non-ULA rockets? I.e. not having to let ULA and potentially Boeing and Lockheed know what capabilities they offer the US government?
Not a concern; LV payload processing is carefully firewalled from other parts of the companies as a matter of course.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 11/15/2017 10:31 PM
According to the Zuma press kit, the MECO time is 2 minutes and 16 seconds, which is the record for the earliest MECO time for Falcon 9.

This barely beats the NROL-76 mission by one second.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 11/16/2017 01:29 AM
How important is it for companies like Northrop Grumman to launch government satallites it builds on non-ULA rockets? I.e. not having to let ULA and potentially Boeing and Lockheed know what capabilities they offer the US government?
Irrelevant. You don't think the govt would tell the competitors the specs they have to better to get the next win?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/16/2017 02:19 AM
Booster 43.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Eagandale4114 on 11/16/2017 05:26 AM
Well this (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2017/0062.html) is interesting.

If you dont click on the link, a launch within the first 15-20 minutes of the window may put it next to USA 276 (aka NROL 76).

The author also emphasizes that this may just be pure coincidence. It will be interesting to see when this bird launches.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: .Scott on 11/16/2017 11:45 AM
Well this (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2017/0062.html) is interesting.

If you dont click on the link, a launch within the first 15-20 minutes of the window may put it next to USA 276 (aka NROL 76).

The author also emphasizes that this may just be pure coincidence. It will be interesting to see when this bird launches.
USA 276 is reputed to be RADAR imaging demonstration satellite https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/24/observers-spot-top-secret-satellite-launched-by-spacex-earlier-this-month/ (https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/24/observers-spot-top-secret-satellite-launched-by-spacex-earlier-this-month/)

Zuma could be working in conjuction with that satellite - but NRO says it isn't there's.

My guess is that it's US Treasury or Justice Department.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/16/2017 11:51 AM
Well this (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2017/0062.html) is interesting.

If you dont click on the link, a launch within the first 15-20 minutes of the window may put it next to USA 276 (aka NROL 76).

The author also emphasizes that this may just be pure coincidence. It will be interesting to see when this bird launches.
USA 276 is reputed to be RADAR imaging demonstration satellite https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/24/observers-spot-top-secret-satellite-launched-by-spacex-earlier-this-month/ (https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/24/observers-spot-top-secret-satellite-launched-by-spacex-earlier-this-month/)

Zuma could be working in conjuction with that satellite - but NRO says it isn't there's.

My guess is that it's US Treasury or Justice Department.

Why on earth would it belong to either of those organisations it’s far more likely to belong directly to one of the intelligence agencies.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 11/16/2017 12:21 PM
I can’t track it down, but when this payload was first mentioned on this site, even before “Zumba” was known as the name, the poster had mentioned something to the effect that people would be amazed when it was revealed. I’m paraphrasing at best, and it may have been an L2 post, but ever since then there was no more - and Zuma became basically another secret spy satellite. I’m going on the record to predict that once this thing is launched, stably in it’s target orbit, and operational - once that happens there will be some kind of an announcement about it. I think it’s possible that Trump in his desire to go into the history books for achievement in space, has green lighted this thing. He tweeted (ugh) a few days ago that he’d be making a major announcement after he returned from Asia, time and date to be set. It’s a huge stretch I know, but why not...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 11/16/2017 12:46 PM
The Air Force has tweeted launch announcements; although that would just be because the launch is from an Air Force base, it also seems reasonable to me that this is an Air Force payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 11/16/2017 12:57 PM
I can’t track it down, but when this payload was first mentioned on this site, even before “Zumba” was known as the name, the poster had mentioned something to the effect that people would be amazed when it was revealed. I’m paraphrasing at best, and it may have been an L2 post, but ever since then there was no more - and Zuma became basically another secret spy satellite. I’m going on the record to predict that once this thing is launched, stably in it’s target orbit, and operational - once that happens there will be some kind of an announcement about it. I think it’s possible that Trump in his desire to go into the history books for achievement in space, has green lighted this thing. He tweeted (ugh) a few days ago that he’d be making a major announcement after he returned from Asia, time and date to be set. It’s a huge stretch I know, but why not...

I highly doubt it. Information posted a month ago on L2 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43994.msg1738611#msg1738611) directly contradicts this timeline. I would not be shocked if some of that "leaked information" posted on reddit was a deliberate misinformation. The fact that NRO denies it is their bird means nothing in case of highly secret mission IMO.

EDIT: Added link to the the L2 source and minor text fixes.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/16/2017 01:43 PM
Just saw the new SpaceX photo of Falcon 9 and Zuma. It's up on the Update Thread.

Looks really blank with barely any fairing art.

Not even any NRO type abstract art?

Nope, just a very minimal "Northrop Grumman" in tiny letters.

Bout time they stop letting the cat out of the bag!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 11/16/2017 01:56 PM
I would not be shocked if some of that "leaked information" posted on reddit was a deliberate misinformation.

For what it’s worth, none of the claims u/ASTRALsunder made (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/comment/dod5ewh) have turned out to be wrong. He’s been active in the subreddit for quite a while and is respected an as ex-employee with many connections, he has never given us false information before.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 11/16/2017 02:01 PM
I would not be shocked if some of that "leaked information" posted on reddit was a deliberate misinformation.

For what it’s worth, none of the claims u/ASTRALsunder made (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/comment/dod5ewh) have turned out to be wrong. He’s been active in the subreddit for quite a while and is respected an as ex-employee with many connections, he has never given us false information before.

But he was only relying what his SpaceX friend(s) told him. So I believe that he posted real information. We don't know what is the ultimate source of that information.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ATPTourFan on 11/16/2017 02:15 PM
According to the Zuma press kit, the MECO time is 2 minutes and 16 seconds, which is the record for the earliest MECO time for Falcon 9.

This barely beats the NROL-76 mission by one second.

Does this mean they configured this flight for extra high fault tolerance margins? If 100% nominal, they get the job done with 'plenty' of booster propellant left for RTLS. However, in the event of an engine malfunction or 2 (most unlikely), they'd still get this mission-critical bird where it needs to go by flying the booster longer to a later MECO time.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2017 02:16 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.


There are no spares and it would be a military launch
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2017 02:17 PM
How important is it for companies like Northrop Grumman to launch government satallites it builds on non-ULA rockets? I.e. not having to let ULA and potentially Boeing and Lockheed know what capabilities they offer the US government?

Not important at all.  There is no issue with other companies launching other company hardware.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2017 02:18 PM


My guess is that it's US Treasury or Justice Department.

neither deal with satellites
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 11/16/2017 02:25 PM
I would not be shocked if some of that "leaked information" posted on reddit was a deliberate misinformation.

For what it’s worth, none of the claims u/ASTRALsunder made (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/76c3gw/comment/dod5ewh) have turned out to be wrong. He’s been active in the subreddit for quite a while and is respected an as ex-employee with many connections, he has never given us false information before.
According to u/ASTRALsunder this is a _commercial_ payload and not a government one.

From Reddit:
Quote
[–]ASTRALsunder 8 points 1 month ago
No, nothing my friends told me gave me the feeling that the customer was established. One friend did mention that the customer was pretty open and up front with SpaceX about their financial situation to give them an idea on how extremely crucial this flight was for them. I guess it was enough for SpaceX to squeeze them in risking the ire of their backlogged customers.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: SimonFD on 11/16/2017 02:29 PM
Rumors are circulating that the launch will not be livestreamed according to this article. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/879593/spacex-launch-date-time-when-is-falcon-9-zuma-payload-space-nasa-elon-musk 

The source is dubious at best.

Considering that they also think that FH will fly in late November, I wouldn't take this article too seriously - most likely they won't stream flight of 2nd stage (just like with NROL-76) and author of this article mistaken that for not streaming launch at all.

The Express has gone downhill over the last 20 years or so. I don’t bother with it.  :)

Agree. Particularly as they keep posting articles saying NASA is hiding Planet X..  :o
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/16/2017 02:38 PM
According to u/ASTRALsunder this is a _commercial_ payload and not a government one.

EVERY other piece of information we've gotten says it's a government payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jarnis on 11/16/2017 02:44 PM
According to u/ASTRALsunder this is a _commercial_ payload and not a government one.

EVERY other piece of information we've gotten says it's a government payload.

It may mean a lot of revenue to Northrop Grumman if it flies on time and works. Some people think the revenue bit implies its commercial, but it implies no such thing. Companies make revenue out of government contracts all the time.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mn on 11/16/2017 02:45 PM
Well this (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2017/0062.html) is interesting.

If you dont click on the link, a launch within the first 15-20 minutes of the window may put it next to USA 276 (aka NROL 76).

The author also emphasizes that this may just be pure coincidence. It will be interesting to see when this bird launches.

OK, had they launched yesterday as originally planned, would it also be close?

(and for the conspiracy theorist in me, remember that the Launch Hazard Area notice was first published with a 'rescheduled' delay date, then they published a new one with the correct date before it was officially delayed).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 11/16/2017 03:01 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.


There are no spares and it would be a military launch
Are you saying that ZUMA is definitely not a military launch?  I'm not sure how one could tell the difference, given the general secrecy, but you're the one on the ground with the inside info.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2017 03:16 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.


There are no spares and it would be a military launch
Are you saying that ZUMA is definitely not a military launch?  I'm not sure how one could tell the difference, given the general secrecy, but you're the one on the ground with the inside info.

Previous statements has said it is not a military launch.  STSS would be one.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/16/2017 03:19 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.


There are no spares and it would be a military launch
Are you saying that ZUMA is definitely not a military launch?  I'm not sure how one could tell the difference, given the general secrecy, but you're the one on the ground with the inside info.

Previous statements has said it is not a military launch.  STSS would be one.

That’s interesting as it’s not often you see a ‘classified’ commercial launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 11/16/2017 03:29 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.


There are no spares and it would be a military launch
Are you saying that ZUMA is definitely not a military launch?  I'm not sure how one could tell the difference, given the general secrecy, but you're the one on the ground with the inside info.

Previous statements has said it is not a military launch.  STSS would be one.

That’s interesting as it’s not often you see a ‘classified’ commercial launch.

This is a US government launch, not a commercial one. There were numerous official statements on this. See five posts above yours.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/16/2017 03:32 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.


There are no spares and it would be a military launch
Are you saying that ZUMA is definitely not a military launch?  I'm not sure how one could tell the difference, given the general secrecy, but you're the one on the ground with the inside info.

Previous statements has said it is not a military launch.  STSS would be one.

That’s interesting as it’s not often you see a ‘classified’ commercial launch.

This is a US government launch, not a commercial one. There were numerous official statements on this. See five posts above yours.

Jim just said it’s not a military launch, I can’t think who else government wise other than NASA would be launching satellites.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shooter6947 on 11/16/2017 03:34 PM

Jim just said it’s not a military launch, I can’t think who else government wise other than NASA would be launching satellites.
NSA. CIA.  NRO.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 11/16/2017 03:39 PM
People are conflating multiple issues.  From SpaceX's perspective, this is a commercial launch for Northrup Grumman.  Northrup's client is some part of the US Government.  Just because the payload is classified/secret doesn't mean that for SpaceX it isn't a commercial launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rogerstigers on 11/16/2017 03:58 PM

Jim just said it’s not a military launch, I can’t think who else government wise other than NASA would be launching satellites.
NSA. CIA.  NRO.

They are military entities.

Eh, USINT is not generally considered to be a part of USMIL.   USMIL has its own intelligence community.   They, of course, all work together, in theory.  Given the CIA's history of using shell companies for everything, I would consider them just general government rather than military.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/16/2017 03:59 PM
According to this article it is an NRO payload in spite of denials.

Quote
Although Ars understands the payload is being launched for the National Reconnaissance Office, the mission's press kit offers absolutely no details about the payload. It simply refers to the payload as the "Zuma spacecraft," which is bound for low-Earth orbit. (And indeed, the NRO has denied that Zuma is its satellite).

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/spacex-to-launch-a-secret-but-significant-payload-thursday/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/16/2017 04:03 PM
According to this article it is an NRO payload in spite of denials.

Quote
Although Ars understands the payload is being launched for the National Reconnaissance Office, the mission's press kit offers absolutely no details about the payload. It simply refers to the payload as the "Zuma spacecraft," which is bound for low-Earth orbit. (And indeed, the NRO has denied that Zuma is its satellite).

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/spacex-to-launch-a-secret-but-significant-payload-thursday/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rogerstigers on 11/16/2017 04:03 PM
According to this article it is an NRO payload in spite of denials.

Quote
Although Ars understands the payload is being launched for the National Reconnaissance Office, the mission's press kit offers absolutely no details about the payload. It simply refers to the payload as the "Zuma spacecraft," which is bound for low-Earth orbit. (And indeed, the NRO has denied that Zuma is its satellite).

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/spacex-to-launch-a-secret-but-significant-payload-thursday/

So I guess the question is, where did Eric B get that information?  Obviously he has his sources, but inquiring minds and all that...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: envy887 on 11/16/2017 04:05 PM
Well this (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2017/0062.html) is interesting.

If you dont click on the link, a launch within the first 15-20 minutes of the window may put it next to USA 276 (aka NROL 76).

The author also emphasizes that this may just be pure coincidence. It will be interesting to see when this bird launches.

OK, had they launched yesterday as originally planned, would it also be close?

(and for the conspiracy theorist in me, remember that the Launch Hazard Area notice was first published with a 'rescheduled' delay date, then they published a new one with the correct date before it was officially delayed).

It could have been in plane if launched at the right time in yesterday's window, but I'm not sure about in phase. The plane only drifts a few minutes per day.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/16/2017 04:08 PM

Jim just said it’s not a military launch, I can’t think who else government wise other than NASA would be launching satellites.
NSA. CIA.  NRO.

They are military entities.

Eh, USINT is not generally considered to be a part of USMIL.   USMIL has its own intelligence community.   They, of course, all work together, in theory.  Given the CIA's history of using shell companies for everything, I would consider them just general government rather than military.

I think most of us in the U.S. draw a distinction between the Armed Forces (Military) under DoD and the other agencies under DoD.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 11/16/2017 04:37 PM
Zuma could be some form of Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SBIRS Low) which demo satellites where built by Northrop Grumman. With what has been happening in North Korea they may of been asked to take some out of storage and launch them, if they had spares.


There are no spares and it would be a military launch

And early warning satellites are usually not that classified. Usually you want your adversary to know, that you have early warning satellites - that is pretty essential for deterrence.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 11/16/2017 05:06 PM
A day time shot:

Quote
gooooood morning from historic Launch Complex 39A. Just finished setting my remote cameras for tonight's 8PM launch of the mystery #Zuma payload. #SpaceX

https://twitter.com/TrevorMahlmann/status/931201861071368194 (https://twitter.com/TrevorMahlmann/status/931201861071368194)

Interesting - they leave two red working machines (cranes, forklifts or what ever) inside the partially demolished rotating structure during launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2017 05:15 PM

Jim just said it’s not a military launch, I can’t think who else government wise other than NASA would be launching satellites.
NSA. CIA.  NRO.

They are military entities.

Eh, USINT is not generally considered to be a part of USMIL.   USMIL has its own intelligence community.   They, of course, all work together, in theory.  Given the CIA's history of using shell companies for everything, I would consider them just general government rather than military.

I think most of us in the U.S. draw a distinction between the Armed Forces (Military) under DoD and the other agencies under DoD.

And CIA is not DOD or military
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: NX-0 on 11/16/2017 05:28 PM
A day time shot:

Quote
gooooood morning from historic Launch Complex 39A. Just finished setting my remote cameras for tonight's 8PM launch of the mystery #Zuma payload. #SpaceX

https://twitter.com/TrevorMahlmann/status/931201861071368194 (https://twitter.com/TrevorMahlmann/status/931201861071368194)

Interesting - they leave two red working machines (cranes, forklifts or what ever) inside the partially demolished rotating structure during launch.

These were there for the previous launch, as well.

EDIT: Spellin'
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 11/16/2017 06:02 PM
ARTICLE: SpaceX Falcon 9 readies for launch of clandestine Zuma satellite - https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/11/spacex-falcon-9-launch-clandestine-zuma-satellite/

By Chris Gebhardt - who also took the photos (multi-talented!)

Nice article Chris G. -- one of many!



Notable:
Quote
Due to the U.S. government’s need to launch Zuma before 30 November, SpaceX’s manifest was rearranged to meet the customer’s short-notice launch need – representing a rapid launch response capability for SpaceX that has been greatly aided by the company’s immensely successful reuse of the Falcon 9 first stage booster.

This reuse ability has allowed SpaceX to optimize its launch manifest and has allowed its customers greater flexibility and launch date assurance than would otherwise have been available if the company only relied on brand new Falcon 9s for every flight.
bolds mine

Sound like features for which the USG might be willing to pay a significant amount -- $1B/yr maybe?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2017 06:07 PM

Sound like features for which the USG might be willing to pay a significant amount -- $1B/yr maybe?

nope, can't launch most USG spacecraft
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Brian45 on 11/16/2017 06:13 PM
Reported that the flight is delayed until Friday.
https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/931234190070374400
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 11/16/2017 06:18 PM

Sound like features for which the USG might be willing to pay a significant amount -- $1B/yr maybe?

nope, can't launch most USG spacecraft

...yet
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2017 06:52 PM

Sound like features for which the USG might be willing to pay a significant amount -- $1B/yr maybe?

nope, can't launch most USG spacecraft

...yet

Nope, never. This capability only applies to single stick vehicles.  SpaceX can't add a FH into the schedule like a F9.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/16/2017 07:25 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 11/16/2017 07:36 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
Dubious. Elon doesn't think that way, IMHO. I think SpaceX is taking this launch VERY seriously. It showcases their capabilities to rapidly respond to need.  Delaying for PR reasons defeats that message badly.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 11/16/2017 07:37 PM
SpaceX can't add a FH into the schedule like a F9.

... yet.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/16/2017 07:44 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
Dubious. Elon doesn't think that way, IMHO. I think SpaceX is taking this launch VERY seriously. It showcases their capabilities to rapidly respond to need.  Delaying for PR reasons defeats that message badly.

You don’t think he takes Tesla equally seriously?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 11/16/2017 07:48 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
Dubious. Elon doesn't think that way, IMHO. I think SpaceX is taking this launch VERY seriously. It showcases their capabilities to rapidly respond to need.  Delaying for PR reasons defeats that message badly.

You don’t think he takes Tesla equally seriously?

I don't think I made my point clearly enough, sorry....

While he certainly takes Tesla seriously (and it has the largest short interest of any stock ever) that's not how things are done. Not how his mind works. Elon doesn't think about PR first. (read the Rolling Stone article, it's pretty good) The long term consequences of delaying (what is probably) a national security launch for PR reasons are likely to be damaging to BOTH companies anyway.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: EspenU on 11/16/2017 08:01 PM
Someone should tell the webcast people about the delay ;-). The webcast is still counting down to launch in 3 hours.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Stefan.Christoff.19 on 11/16/2017 08:04 PM
Looking at the mission patch. There are 6 bright stars on the left of the rocket and on the right the flag is folded in a way that reveals 6 of the state stars. Does that give us any clues? Is there a 5-6 satellite constellation that this could be part of?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: joncz on 11/16/2017 08:09 PM
There are also nine dimmer starts on the left of the patch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 11/16/2017 08:13 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
I would think of this like a slap in the face if I worked at SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mme on 11/16/2017 09:00 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
IMHO the last thing the world needs at the moment in history is more conspiracy thinking.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mrhuggy on 11/16/2017 09:11 PM

Jim just said it’s not a military launch, I can’t think who else government wise other than NASA would be launching satellites.
NSA. CIA.  NRO.

Missile Defence Agency?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jcc on 11/16/2017 10:14 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
IMHO the last thing the world needs at the moment in history is more conspiracy thinking.

The delay yesterday was due to the need for more "Mission Assurance" work, which as I understand it is paperwork, documentation, proof of process being followed, etc. This may be more of the same.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/16/2017 10:20 PM
I was thinking this morning that there was a possibility for a postponement today - because Musk is unveiling his electric truck at Tesla tonight, and why risk bad PR in case something happens on the Zuma launch...  ;)

Probably not connected, but couldn't resist throwing it out there.
I would think of this like a slap in the face if I worked at SpaceX.

No doubt.

Rarely do Musk-related events coincide, which is why it came to mind. And I agree with all that SpaceX launch operations would not consider Tesla events to be a factor.

Back to more meaningful discussions I hope...   :o
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 11/16/2017 10:28 PM
SpaceX Statement:

“We have decided to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer. Though we have preserved the range opportunity for tomorrow, we will take the time we need to complete the data review and will then confirm a new launch date.”

Can someone explain this for me? Is there something wrong with the fairing?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 11/16/2017 10:30 PM
SpaceX Statement:

“We have decided to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer. Though we have preserved the range opportunity for tomorrow, we will take the time we need to complete the data review and will then confirm a new launch date.”

Can someone explain this for me? Is there something wrong with the fairing?

They were running tests on another customer’s fairing for an upcoming mission, and they were getting data they didn’t expect. They thought this issue might be present in Zuma’s fairing too, so they’re standing down to investigate the issue.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 11/16/2017 10:32 PM
A day time shot:

Quote
gooooood morning from historic Launch Complex 39A. Just finished setting my remote cameras for tonight's 8PM launch of the mystery #Zuma payload. #SpaceX

https://twitter.com/TrevorMahlmann/status/931201861071368194 (https://twitter.com/TrevorMahlmann/status/931201861071368194)

Interesting - they leave two red working machines (cranes, forklifts or what ever) inside the partially demolished rotating structure during launch.

JLG boom lifts.  They've been up there a while.  Go look in the Pad 39A - Transition to FH thread in SpaceX General for past pictures where they are visible.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 11/16/2017 10:51 PM

Sound like features for which the USG might be willing to pay a significant amount -- $1B/yr maybe?

nope, can't launch most USG spacecraft

...yet

Nope, never. This capability only applies to single stick vehicles.  SpaceX can't add a FH into the schedule like a F9.

SpaceX is using refurbished F9s (of which they have a whole bunch) for the side cores of the demo mission and that may be the plan for all FH missions(?).  So, to me, the limitation actually seems related to FH center core production and not a complication due to "multiple cores" vs. "single stick".  F9s are more or less interchangeable and given the high production throughput on them, it's easy for SpaceX to swap/delay one core or another without much in the way of lasting schedule impact.  But, since production of FH center cores will be much lower--its manifest is much shorter currently--unless SpaceX have stockpiled one in advance, they don't have the ability to play with the launch order without potentially significant schedule impacts.  Of course, this barrier totally disappears if FH starts flying often.  Center core reuse would certainly help reduce the impacts but so long as FH requires a specialized upper stage it will still somewhat limit their flexibility.  In low flight rate operations, long lead items that are FH specific will be the gating item.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Michael Baylor on 11/16/2017 10:52 PM
My guess is that the Iridium-4 fairing is the culprit for this delay. SpaceX specifically stated that it happened during a test for another customer, so that means it is not an issue based on data from a past launch. The next three launches are expected to be CRS-13, Iridium-4, and Falcon Heavy. CRS-13 will not have a fairing and Falcon Heavy is not for a customer. Only other option is that it is for a 2018 launch, but that's a ways in the future.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rogerstigers on 11/16/2017 11:11 PM
My guess is that the Iridium-4 fairing is the culprit for this delay. SpaceX specifically stated that it happened during a test for another customer, so that means it is not an issue based on data from a past launch. The next three launches are expected to be CRS-13, Iridium-4, and Falcon Heavy. CRS-13 will not have a fairing and Falcon Heavy is not for a customer. Only other option is that it is for a 2018 launch, but that's a ways in the future.

On that same note, it could be related to some sort of fairing v.Next that might have been launching with this mission.  This might explain why it is something just now surfacing. 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/17/2017 07:13 PM
With Zuma still at the pad (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1751072#msg1751072) SpaceX presumably hasn’t yet established that there is an issue with the Zuma fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tvg98 on 11/18/2017 12:19 AM
I've heard that the Falcon 9 is no longer at the pad. Can anyone in the area to confirm this?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 11/18/2017 12:56 AM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 11/18/2017 01:00 AM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they do some FH/ RSS removal work during the Zuma stand down, but only if there will clearly be a long delay (4+ days)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RotoSequence on 11/18/2017 01:02 AM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?

They probably won't do any work that could delay the launch, though. Zuma is contracted to launch by November 30th.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/18/2017 01:39 AM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?

there is no side when it comes to an integrated launch vehicle
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 11/18/2017 03:21 AM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?

there is no side when it comes to an integrated launch vehicle

I meant leave the Zuma stack in the LC-39A hangar, finish Falcon Heavy modifications, then integrate the Falcon Heavy vehicle on the TEL.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Formica on 11/18/2017 04:38 AM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?

there is no side when it comes to an integrated launch vehicle

I meant leave the Zuma stack in the LC-39A hangar, finish Falcon Heavy modifications, then integrate the Falcon Heavy vehicle on the TEL.

I doubt it. Zuma has a hard NLT of 11/30 and FH is non revenue. They wouldn't jeopardize it. FH will slide right to get Zuma off the pad. Bummer for fans, but great for SpaceX demoing rapid launch capabilities!  8)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 11/18/2017 05:11 AM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?

there is no side when it comes to an integrated launch vehicle

I meant leave the Zuma stack in the LC-39A hangar, finish Falcon Heavy modifications, then integrate the Falcon Heavy vehicle on the TEL.

I’m pretty sure he understood what you meant, and his reply was stating that integrated launch vehicles (especially ones of this much importance) do not simply “get put to the side,” especially by something like FH-1.

Integrated launch vehicles get all the attention until they’ve safely done their job.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/18/2017 06:53 AM
So, as I understand it, there is a possibility of a defective batch of fairings? Or is it that SpaceX were trying out a modification for some reason and it has basically not worked out so well?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: smoliarm on 11/18/2017 10:15 AM
...
1
 Or is it that SpaceX were trying out a modification for some reason...
2
... and it has basically not worked out so well?

1. - we do know that SpaceX works on payload fairing return for reuse. This effectively means a "yes" for your first question: we do know that there are ongoing modifications to Falcon's fairing - right now, in progress.
And, BTW, I would not expect *batch* right now - most likely these modifications are of "one step at a time" kind, so that each fairing in a row is different. Hopefully the differences are minor.

2. - well, as it was enough to postpone a launch - it is safe to assume it did not work out so well...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MarekCyzio on 11/18/2017 11:28 AM
Assuming SpaceX needs to replace payload fairing - would this require demating the whole payload, returning it to payload processing facility and doing it there? Or it can be done on LC-39A?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Dante2121 on 11/18/2017 11:59 AM
Assuming SpaceX needs to replace payload fairing - would this require demating the whole payload, returning it to payload processing facility and doing it there? Or it can be done on LC-39A?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Even if they could do it on 39A - I'd expect them to do it in the payload processing facility to avoid prying eyes on this super secret payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/18/2017 01:07 PM
Assuming SpaceX needs to replace payload fairing - would this require demating the whole payload, returning it to payload processing facility and doing it there? Or it can be done on LC-39A?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Even if they could do it on 39A - I'd expect them to do it in the payload processing facility to avoid prying eyes on this super secret payload.

There is no payload processing facility at Lc-39
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 11/18/2017 01:10 PM
Assuming SpaceX needs to replace payload fairing - would this require demating the whole payload, returning it to payload processing facility and doing it there? Or it can be done on LC-39A?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Given the nature of the payload a fairing swap will not be done at LC-39A. It requires demate of the payload stack, return to the non-SpaceX payload processing facility to do the fairing swap there. If a fairing swap is in order we are looking at 5 - 10 days delay. That is assuming SpaceX has an unaffected fairing available for the swap.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shuttlefan on 11/18/2017 01:23 PM
Any possibility of an attempt Sunday?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/18/2017 02:26 PM
Any possibility of an attempt Sunday?

No. No NOTAM published, no launch date announced and the F9 back horizontal.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shuttlefan on 11/18/2017 03:07 PM
Any possibility of an attempt Sunday?

No. No NOTAM published, no launch date announced and the F9 back horizontal.

Thanks.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rabe0070 on 11/18/2017 03:14 PM
If they're taking the Falcon 9/Zuma stack off the TEL, why not keep it to the side and continue work on the Falcon Heavy Demo preps?

there is no side when it comes to an integrated launch vehicle

I meant leave the Zuma stack in the LC-39A hangar, finish Falcon Heavy modifications, then integrate the Falcon Heavy vehicle on the TEL.

I’m pretty sure he understood what you meant, and his reply was stating that integrated launch vehicles (especially ones of this much importance) do not simply “get put to the side,” especially by something like FH-1.

Integrated launch vehicles get all the attention until they’ve safely done their job.

I think he is saying you cannot take an integrated launch vehicle off of the TEL as that probably gives it the support it needs to be horizontal. You wold have to demate the payload from the stack.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 11/18/2017 03:31 PM
Any possibility of an attempt Sunday?

No. No NOTAM published, no launch date announced and the F9 back horizontal.

Remembering this article:
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3277/1

One wonders whether any "coincidences" may end up occurring again.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ugordan on 11/18/2017 07:15 PM
So, given the requirement of launching before November is out and the nonzero chance the Zuma fairing is suspect as well, what are the odds that SpaceX just does not have another fairing ready? Their fairing production rate is also said to be limited, they really cannot crank them out fast.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Wolfram66 on 11/18/2017 07:30 PM
So, given the requirement of launching before November is out and the nonzero chance the Zuma fairing is suspect as well, what are the odds that SpaceX just does not have another fairing ready? Their fairing production rate is also said to be limited, they really cannot crank them out fast.
The question being, what IS the issue with the fairings? Latches, structural integrity, adapter, insulation?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 11/19/2017 12:53 AM
That certainly is an excellent question. We may never know. Or it may come out right away. Waiting is.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Wolfram66 on 11/19/2017 01:21 AM
That certainly is an excellent question. We may never know. Or it may come out right away. Waiting is.

Thanks, Yoda! Wise you are!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kch on 11/19/2017 02:10 AM
That certainly is an excellent question. We may never know. Or it may come out right away. Waiting is.

I grok.  :)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mn on 11/19/2017 03:48 PM
Any possibility of an attempt Sunday?

No. No NOTAM published, no launch date announced and the F9 back horizontal.

Just out of curiosity is there a mandated minimum required advance notice for NOTAM's?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 11/19/2017 04:38 PM
Any possibility of an attempt Sunday?

No. No NOTAM published, no launch date announced and the F9 back horizontal.

Just out of curiosity is there a mandated minimum required advance notice for NOTAM's?

No, NOTAMs are issued by the FAA and there are no limits on when the NOTAMs can be issued.  When something unexpected comes up, the NOTAM can be issued to take effect immediately, with zero advance notice.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 11/19/2017 05:15 PM
I'm thinking that if Zuma does not launch by November 30th, the payload might either be sent to the scrapyard, or have its parts reused for other satellites.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 11/19/2017 05:20 PM
I'm thinking that if Zuma does not launch by November 30th, the payload might either be sent to the scrapyard, or have its parts reused for other satellites.
That stirkes me as highly implausible. Why would a very expensive bird be scrapped? Much more likely that SpaceX pays a lot of penalty and gets bad PR. If the mission was actually that time sensitive I could see repurposing.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/19/2017 06:28 PM
I'm thinking that if Zuma does not launch by November 30th, the payload might either be sent to the scrapyard, or have its parts reused for other satellites.
That stirkes me as highly implausible. Why would a very expensive bird be scrapped? Much more likely that SpaceX pays a lot of penalty and gets bad PR. If the mission was actually that time sensitive I could see repurposing.

There must be some Space X employees sweating buckets over this payload now.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mulp on 11/19/2017 06:47 PM
What is the fairing issue? My guess at possible issues:

Like the shuttle, they have notices something breaking loose and falling during launch, not causing problems so far because they safely fall past payload.

They have noticed that the fairing splitting and falling away violates the payload envelope SpaceX contracts to be protected to customer, but all payloads do not intrude into that violated space.

They have discovered the air pressures or turbulence are higher than expected when the fairing splits, or that the pressure drop experienced by the faring is more extreme.

The most likely is, in my view:

They discovered on inspection of another fairing in the production batch a material problem that requires QC check and test by xray etc a portion of the fairing, (steel from  the corporation faking steel quality certifications). SpaceX can check the problem in four hours by looking inside the fairing, and in six hours by replacing the bolts, metal part, etc.

Steps soon far:

Getting a SpaceX QC guy an manufacturing tech security clearance.

Figuring out how to get a customer team trained to do QC and manufacturing steps.

Figuring out how to get the fairing removed so SpaceX can inspect and fix it if required without moving the payload and fairing far away and back.

Maybe they are building a room inside the SpaceX building with hardware to remove fairing and make it available to SpaceX while keeping payload out of sight of SpaceX security cleared workers.

Most likely all the delay is caused by SpaceX workers not being able to see the payload, even at the detail they will see in photos taken from the ground by hobbyist in a few weeks after the launch. Ie, from one end of the assembly building to the other with tarps hung to obstruct view.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 11/19/2017 08:47 PM
What is the fairing issue? My guess at possible issues:

Like the shuttle, they have notices something breaking loose and falling during launch, not causing problems so far because they safely fall past payload.

They have noticed that the fairing splitting and falling away violates the payload envelope SpaceX contracts to be protected to customer, but all payloads do not intrude into that violated space.

They have discovered the air pressures or turbulence are higher than expected when the fairing splits, or that the pressure drop experienced by the faring is more extreme.

The most likely is, in my view:

They discovered on inspection of another fairing in the production batch a material problem that requires QC check and test by xray etc a portion of the fairing, (steel from  the corporation faking steel quality certifications). SpaceX can check the problem in four hours by looking inside the fairing, and in six hours by replacing the bolts, metal part, etc.

Steps soon far:

Getting a SpaceX QC guy an manufacturing tech security clearance.

Figuring out how to get a customer team trained to do QC and manufacturing steps.

Figuring out how to get the fairing removed so SpaceX can inspect and fix it if required without moving the payload and fairing far away and back.

Maybe they are building a room inside the SpaceX building with hardware to remove fairing and make it available to SpaceX while keeping payload out of sight of SpaceX security cleared workers.

Most likely all the delay is caused by SpaceX workers not being able to see the payload, even at the detail they will see in photos taken from the ground by hobbyist in a few weeks after the launch. Ie, from one end of the assembly building to the other with tarps hung to obstruct view.

If they need to replace the fairing they will do in an appropriate processing facility. In case of this payload, it will not be done by SpaceX but by a contractor employing people with required security clearances.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jjyach on 11/19/2017 08:54 PM
SpaceX has cleared encapsulation personnel, they will just travel to the payloads facility to do a change if needed.  Fairing issues are likely a part of the fairing which hopefully just needs to be swapped out if indeed truly a problem.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Newton_V on 11/19/2017 08:56 PM
If they need to replace the fairing they will do in an appropriate processing facility. In case of this payload, it will not be done by SpaceX but by a contractor employing people with required security clearances.

Why wouldn't it be done by SpaceX employees with required security clearances?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 11/19/2017 09:21 PM
If they need to replace the fairing they will do in an appropriate processing facility. In case of this payload, it will not be done by SpaceX but by a contractor employing people with required security clearances.

Why wouldn't it be done by SpaceX employees with required security clearances?

Sure, it could be done by SpaceX people with proper clearances. I had an impression that someone reported that SpaceX was not involved in the pre-integration processing of this payload but can't find it anymore. My main point was that there is no way they are going to do a fairing swap in the HIF.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/20/2017 12:27 AM

Sure, it could be done by SpaceX people with proper clearances. I had an impression that someone reported that SpaceX was not involved in the pre-integration processing of this payload but can't find it anymore. My main point was that there is no way they are going to do a fairing swap in the HIF.

Spacex wouldn't  be involved with pre-integration processing.  Encapsulation is part of the integration process and would only be done by Spacex.  The only time LV personnel are not involved in encapsulation is when the LV does not provide the fairing like in the case of Hexagon
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 11/20/2017 01:50 AM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/HEXAGON_Factory_to_Launch_sequence.png)

edit/gongora:  This picture is for Hexagon if you hadn't guessed already.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tleski on 11/20/2017 02:55 AM

Sure, it could be done by SpaceX people with proper clearances. I had an impression that someone reported that SpaceX was not involved in the pre-integration processing of this payload but can't find it anymore. My main point was that there is no way they are going to do a fairing swap in the HIF.

Spacex wouldn't  be involved with pre-integration processing.  Encapsulation is part of the integration process and would only be done by Spacex.  The only time LV personnel are not involved in encapsulation is when the LV does not provide the fairing like in the case of Hexagon

Thanks for claryfying this. So, SpaceX has to have properly cleared people able to see a highly classified payload to integrate it with the payload adaptor and fairing and if needed they would just move it to their pyload processing facility to do a fairing swap?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/20/2017 03:14 AM
Thanks for claryfying this. So, SpaceX has to have properly cleared people able to see a highly classified payload to integrate it with the payload adaptor and fairing and if needed they would just move it to their pyload processing facility to do a fairing swap?

They would probably move it to the facility where the payload was processed, which in the case of classified payloads is probably not the SpaceX PPF.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 11/20/2017 05:12 AM
I'm thinking that if Zuma does not launch by November 30th, the payload might either be sent to the scrapyard, or have its parts reused for other satellites.
That stirkes me as highly implausible. Why would a very expensive bird be scrapped? Much more likely that SpaceX pays a lot of penalty and gets bad PR. If the mission was actually that time sensitive I could see repurposing.
I'd guess NG is pushing for Nov 30 to meet some contractual delivery date. This is probably what was meant when it was previously discussed the customer was intent on meeting some revenue milestone.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/20/2017 11:36 AM
I agree. I think most sats have milestones, but if they don't launch by the end of the month, they won't go binning the satellite! ;D They'll just launch in a realigned period. Let's hope it doesn't come to that as Falcon Heavy going to be grumbling about this in the HIF.

Anyway, no update as of yet.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: StuffOfInterest on 11/20/2017 11:40 AM
If the fairing is swapped, I wonder if SpaceX will go through another hotfire test.  In theory, nothing that has been changed is related to test, but it will have been longer than usual between the hotfire and the launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shuttlefan on 11/20/2017 12:18 PM
Could they switch Zuma to SLC-40 so they can keep 39-A modifications for Falcon Heavy on schedule?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Semmel on 11/20/2017 01:00 PM
Could they switch Zuma to SLC-40 so they can keep 39-A modifications for Falcon Heavy on schedule?

Keeping FH on schedule is not the concern when it comes to launching ZUMA. The only way a swap would make sense was if they could launch it faster from LC40. Given that the pad is not the problem here, I cant see how that would happen though.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MarekCyzio on 11/20/2017 01:02 PM
If the fairing is swapped, I wonder if SpaceX will go through another hotfire test.  In theory, nothing that has been changed is related to test, but it will have been longer than usual between the hotfire and the launch.

Hotfire is done without payload - why would they need to do another hotfire?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AndyX on 11/20/2017 01:09 PM
If the fairing is swapped, I wonder if SpaceX will go through another hotfire test.  In theory, nothing that has been changed is related to test, but it will have been longer than usual between the hotfire and the launch.

Hotfire is done without payload - why would they need to do another hotfire?

I think he's speaking about the timeline between test and launch, which is usually a few days. But I don't think they'd need to fire up the booster again unless they did something like change out the engines....
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/20/2017 01:16 PM
I'd guess NG is pushing for Nov 30 to meet some contractual delivery date. This is probably what was meant when it was previously discussed the customer was intent on meeting some revenue milestone.
NG financial Quarter/Year end is December 31st...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/20/2017 03:11 PM

Sure, it could be done by SpaceX people with proper clearances. I had an impression that someone reported that SpaceX was not involved in the pre-integration processing of this payload but can't find it anymore. My main point was that there is no way they are going to do a fairing swap in the HIF.

Spacex wouldn't  be involved with pre-integration processing.  Encapsulation is part of the integration process and would only be done by Spacex.  The only time LV personnel are not involved in encapsulation is when the LV does not provide the fairing like in the case of Hexagon

Thanks for claryfying this. So, SpaceX has to have properly cleared people able to see a highly classified payload to integrate it with the payload adaptor and fairing and if needed they would just move it to their pyload processing facility to do a fairing swap?

Yes
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 11/20/2017 03:27 PM
Occam's razor says that the problem is with delamination or voids in the composite fairing.  That's the most common problem with composite structures.  It would have to be in some place or under some condition that it is not caught by the usual NDE tests done during manufacturing, of course, but there are lots of ways for Murphy to offer surprises.

With the delay lasting this long, I expect that we'll see a fairing swap, or at least a return to the processing facility to de-encapsulate. In fact, I'm a bit surprised this hasn't already happened. The absence of road closure notices around LC-39A is the best reason to assume I'm totally off base with my speculation.

The scramble would be because they don't have another fairing ready to "swap in". Fairings are semi-custom, with customer-specified ports and other features (as I remember Jim pointing out once previously).  So you can't just take a fairing from mission N+1 and swap it in.  They are probably scrambling to evaluate "fixes" to the voids (reinforcement structures? I don't know much about composite manufacturing) as well as a hurry-up process to get a new custom fairing built or a semi-built fairing modified appropriately for Zuma.  But curing composites can't really be sped up, so there's a limit to how fast this can be done.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 11/20/2017 03:41 PM
Are there other examples of launch campaign PLF issues that have delayed launch?

Are there other launches that have been delayed to repair or modify a suspect PLF?

Are there other launches that have been delayed to remove and replace a PLF?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: speedevil on 11/20/2017 03:58 PM
Occam's razor says that the problem is with delamination or voids in the composite fairing.  That's the most common problem with composite structures.  It would have to be in some place or under some condition that it is not caught by the usual NDE tests done during manufacturing, of course, but there are lots of ways for Murphy to offer surprises.

The phrasing used from memory also did not seem to exclude tests on recovered fairing, and the timing might almost be right for a teardown of the most recent recovered fairing to reveal stuff.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MarekCyzio on 11/20/2017 04:44 PM
Occam's razor says that the problem is with delamination or voids in the composite fairing.  That's the most common problem with composite structures.  It would have to be in some place or under some condition that it is not caught by the usual NDE tests done during manufacturing, of course, but there are lots of ways for Murphy to offer surprises.

The phrasing used from memory also did not seem to exclude tests on recovered fairing, and the timing might almost be right for a teardown of the most recent recovered fairing to reveal stuff.

It’s probably a coincidence but recovered fairing disappeared recently from SpaceX lawn next to Cape Canaveral facility (former Spacehab).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RDMM2081 on 11/20/2017 05:39 PM
Occam's razor says that the problem is with delamination or voids in the composite fairing.  That's the most common problem with composite structures.  It would have to be in some place or under some condition that it is not caught by the usual NDE tests done during manufacturing, of course, but there are lots of ways for Murphy to offer surprises.

The phrasing used from memory also did not seem to exclude tests on recovered fairing, and the timing might almost be right for a teardown of the most recent recovered fairing to reveal stuff.

I think this case would be extremely interesting as it would be one of the first cases of "overinformation" from any part of a recovery process that has been used to pre-emptively reduce risk for a mission.

If the mission slips, I don't know whether NG should be happy or upset?  On one hand, the window slipped right, which is almost never good, but on the other hand, if the mission assurance indicates better odds of success by waiting, that's kind of a win, since they seem to be in favor of holding for further tests on the fairing (if not the ones requesting the hold in the first place).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 11/20/2017 06:07 PM
December:
Quote
SpaceX Classified Zuma Launch Delayed Until At Least December
http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/spacex-classified-zuma-launch-delayed-until-least-december
That's really unfortunate for both the costumer's Nov 30 deadline and SpaceX's FH fit checks...
When's the annual maintenance scheduled for?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: the_other_Doug on 11/20/2017 06:56 PM
December:
Quote
SpaceX Classified Zuma Launch Delayed Until At Least December
http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/spacex-classified-zuma-launch-delayed-until-least-december
That's really unfortunate for both the costumer's Nov 30 deadline and SpaceX's FH fit checks...
When's the annual maintenance scheduled for?

Can anyone with subscription access to AvLeak please let us know if the behind-the-paywall article discusses exactly what was found wrong with the F9 fairings, if the fairings have been flying with this weakness for years, or what?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 11/20/2017 07:01 PM
Ok, haven't read the article but found out that the range maintenance period goes from today to Dec 1st. If true then it's possible Aviation Week doesn't actually know anything about the fairings but is just reporting the obvious delay based on the stand down period.

Edit: here's the source https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/932689217599213568
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 11/20/2017 07:25 PM
So they'll likely work on 39A for FH during this downtime, right?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/20/2017 07:31 PM
So they'll likely work on 39A for FH during this downtime, right?

Well, based on what we know and have reported, there really isn't a lot of work that could be done until Zuma is away. 

They still have to cut into the TEL, remove the east-west hold down clamps (which are 100% needed for Falcon 9 single stick missions), they have to install the compression bridges (which, again, can't be installed until Zuma is away as the compression bridge can't be installed until the east-west hold down clamps are removed)...

Basically, not really.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 11/20/2017 07:33 PM
So they'll likely work on 39A for FH during this downtime, right?

Well, based on what we know and have reported, there really isn't a lot of work that could be done until Zuma is away. 

They still have to cut into the TEL, remove the east-west hold down clamps (which are 100% needed for Falcon 9 single stick missions), they have to install the compression bridges (which, again, can't be installed until Zuma is away as the compression bridge can't be installed until the east-west hold down clamps are removed)...

Basically, not really.

So all they can do now is work on the RSS and play the Jeopardy theme until the range is back online?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 11/20/2017 07:39 PM
And even if they resolved the fairing issue by then, how close to CRS-4 could they launch from 39A?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/20/2017 07:41 PM
So they'll likely work on 39A for FH during this downtime, right?

Well, based on what we know and have reported, there really isn't a lot of work that could be done until Zuma is away. 

They still have to cut into the TEL, remove the east-west hold down clamps (which are 100% needed for Falcon 9 single stick missions), they have to install the compression bridges (which, again, can't be installed until Zuma is away as the compression bridge can't be installed until the east-west hold down clamps are removed)...

Basically, not really.

So all they can do now is work on the RSS and play the Jeopardy theme until the range is back online?

RSS work, FSS work for crew Dragon mission... those can certainly continue.  As can other pad work.  I'm not saying all FH work stops until Zuma is away; I'm saying that the schedule-driving work is dependent on Zuma's launch as that work can't begin until Zuma is away.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/20/2017 07:43 PM
And even if they resolved the fairing issue by then, how close to CRS-4 could they launch from 39A?

Assume you mean CRS-13.

Depending on launch time alignment, the two missions could go - as far as the Eastern Range is concern - no closer than 16hrs from each other.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: e of pi on 11/20/2017 08:10 PM
Worth a post in the update thread.

James Dean at Florida Today reports that Range maintenance down periods have been interrupted before to accommodate launch needs. 

So a hard close of the Range until 1 Dec appears, from a historical perspective, to be negotiable.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15
As a very authoritative source reported, they did some monkeying with range maintenance schedules for Intelsat 35e this July (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/08/eastern-range-return-two-key-launches-stand-down/), so it wouldn't even be a first time for SpaceX in the last six months.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 11/20/2017 08:12 PM
And even if they resolved the fairing issue by then, how close to CRS-4 could they launch from 39A?

Assume you mean CRS-13.

Depending on launch time alignment, the two missions could go - as far as the Eastern Range is concern - no closer than 16hrs from each other.

Oh thanks, that's much closer than I thought

(Yeah sorry had Iridium-4 in mind  ;D)
 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 11/20/2017 08:17 PM
And even if they resolved the fairing issue by then, how close to CRS-4 could they launch from 39A?

Assume you mean CRS-13.

Depending on launch time alignment, the two missions could go - as far as the Eastern Range is concern - no closer than 16hrs from each other.

Why does it take so long to switch missions on the Range?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cppetrie on 11/20/2017 08:22 PM
And even if they resolved the fairing issue by then, how close to CRS-4 could they launch from 39A?

Assume you mean CRS-13.

Depending on launch time alignment, the two missions could go - as far as the Eastern Range is concern - no closer than 16hrs from each other.

Why does it take so long to switch missions on the Range?
That’s less than half what it used to take (2 days IIRC).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 11/20/2017 08:47 PM
Worth a post in the update thread.

James Dean at Florida Today reports that Range maintenance down periods have been interrupted before to accommodate launch needs. 

So a hard close of the Range until 1 Dec appears, from a historical perspective, to be negotiable.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15

Also interesting the conjecture that Zuma could have been a launch readiness drill:
Quote
Some have gone as far as to suggest that there really is no Zuma mission — that the pre-launch preparations were an exercise to prove SpaceX's ability to fly on short notice.

SpaceX put a Falcon 9 on the pad at KSC and test-fired its main engines on Nov. 11. The rocket went vertical again before last week's planned launch attempts, but has since returned to its hangar.

Under that scenario, the payload fairing tests SpaceX cited might merely be an excuse to stand down from a launch that was never really going to happen.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: llanitedave on 11/20/2017 08:49 PM
Worth a post in the update thread.

James Dean at Florida Today reports that Range maintenance down periods have been interrupted before to accommodate launch needs. 

So a hard close of the Range until 1 Dec appears, from a historical perspective, to be negotiable.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15 (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15)

Also interesting the conjecture that Zuma could have been a launch readiness drill:
Quote
Some have gone as far as to suggest that there really is no Zuma mission — that the pre-launch preparations were an exercise to prove SpaceX's ability to fly on short notice.

SpaceX put a Falcon 9 on the pad at KSC and test-fired its main engines on Nov. 11. The rocket went vertical again before last week's planned launch attempts, but has since returned to its hangar.

Under that scenario, the payload fairing tests SpaceX cited might merely be an excuse to stand down from a launch that was never really going to happen.


In other Alex Jones-worthy news, we never landed on the Moon, either.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 11/20/2017 08:57 PM
Worth a post in the update thread.

James Dean at Florida Today reports that Range maintenance down periods have been interrupted before to accommodate launch needs. 

So a hard close of the Range until 1 Dec appears, from a historical perspective, to be negotiable.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15

Also interesting the conjecture that Zuma could have been a launch readiness drill:
Quote
Some have gone as far as to suggest that there really is no Zuma mission — that the pre-launch preparations were an exercise to prove SpaceX's ability to fly on short notice.

SpaceX put a Falcon 9 on the pad at KSC and test-fired its main engines on Nov. 11. The rocket went vertical again before last week's planned launch attempts, but has since returned to its hangar.

Under that scenario, the payload fairing tests SpaceX cited might merely be an excuse to stand down from a launch that was never really going to happen.


Well, it would give some context to the name Zuma as a homophone (sort of) of Zoom indicating speediness.   But really, that seems a bit of a stretch and highly unlikely.

Not to mention that they would've to put forward another 'excuse' if this mission is never going to happen, as the fairing issue alone wouldn't do it, and as a commercial company I don't think they would release potentially damaging false statements.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: whitelancer64 on 11/20/2017 09:43 PM
And even if they resolved the fairing issue by then, how close to CRS-4 could they launch from 39A?

Assume you mean CRS-13.

Depending on launch time alignment, the two missions could go - as far as the Eastern Range is concern - no closer than 16hrs from each other.

Why does it take so long to switch missions on the Range?

What takes time is the physical relocation of range hardware - e.g., tracking cameras - that is deployed for a launch to a specific launch site, that needs to be moved to the other launch site. Any buildings that need to be opened on the other launch site, and any electrical switches, computers, and so on, have to get opened, turned on, and confirmed to be operating correctly. Also, the people working on the range need to be reset - food, rest, etc.

As cppetrie mentioned, this is much less time than had been required before. The range has been significantly modernized in the past several years and a great deal of effort has been put forward to making operations more efficient and lean.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: envy887 on 11/20/2017 10:29 PM
So they'll likely work on 39A for FH during this downtime, right?

Well, based on what we know and have reported, there really isn't a lot of work that could be done until Zuma is away. 

They still have to cut into the TEL, remove the east-west hold down clamps (which are 100% needed for Falcon 9 single stick missions), they have to install the compression bridges (which, again, can't be installed until Zuma is away as the compression bridge can't be installed until the east-west hold down clamps are removed)...

Basically, not really.
Can't they install the missing South side hold downs?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 11/20/2017 11:05 PM
I'd guess NG is pushing for Nov 30 to meet some contractual delivery date. This is probably what was meant when it was previously discussed the customer was intent on meeting some revenue milestone.
NG financial Quarter/Year end is December 31st...
Only thing that matters is the date on the contract between NG and their customer.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 11/21/2017 12:02 AM
KSC opened up pad tours today it seems (multiple Instagram posts of the tour route). This would correlate to the payload being off-site (i.e the PPF @ CCAFS) as tours are prohibited if there is a fueled payload on-site at the launch complex.


Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 11/21/2017 12:25 AM
KSC opened up pad tours today it seems (multiple Instagram posts of the tour route). This would correlate to the payload being off-site (i.e the PPF @ CCAFS) as tours are prohibited if there is a fueled payload on-site at the launch complex.

Well, they have time to work on it now...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jjyach on 11/21/2017 02:36 AM
So they'll likely work on 39A for FH during this downtime, right?

Well, based on what we know and have reported, there really isn't a lot of work that could be done until Zuma is away. 

They still have to cut into the TEL, remove the east-west hold down clamps (which are 100% needed for Falcon 9 single stick missions), they have to install the compression bridges (which, again, can't be installed until Zuma is away as the compression bridge can't be installed until the east-west hold down clamps are removed)...

Basically, not really.
Can't they install the missing South side hold downs?

They will not be doing anything to the Reaction Frame or TEL while the booster is still attached.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: envy887 on 11/21/2017 02:47 AM
So they'll likely work on 39A for FH during this downtime, right?

Well, based on what we know and have reported, there really isn't a lot of work that could be done until Zuma is away. 

They still have to cut into the TEL, remove the east-west hold down clamps (which are 100% needed for Falcon 9 single stick missions), they have to install the compression bridges (which, again, can't be installed until Zuma is away as the compression bridge can't be installed until the east-west hold down clamps are removed)...

Basically, not really.
Can't they install the missing South side hold downs?

They will not be doing anything to the Reaction Frame or TEL while the booster is still attached.

It's back in the barn, could be demated already.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: georgegassaway on 11/21/2017 03:05 AM
Looks like no Zuma launch until December:

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/spacex-classified-zuma-launch-delayed-until-least-december

Have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, I'm not. 

A tweet by Irene Klotz , referencing the above, indicates the range will be down  for maintenance Dec 1st (and presumably a few days after).

Quote
#SpaceX Zuma off range at least until it reopens after annual maintenance Dec 1

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/932689217599213568
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: su27k on 11/21/2017 04:34 AM
Worth a post in the update thread.

James Dean at Florida Today reports that Range maintenance down periods have been interrupted before to accommodate launch needs. 

So a hard close of the Range until 1 Dec appears, from a historical perspective, to be negotiable.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15 (http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15)

Also interesting the conjecture that Zuma could have been a launch readiness drill:
Quote
Some have gone as far as to suggest that there really is no Zuma mission — that the pre-launch preparations were an exercise to prove SpaceX's ability to fly on short notice.

SpaceX put a Falcon 9 on the pad at KSC and test-fired its main engines on Nov. 11. The rocket went vertical again before last week's planned launch attempts, but has since returned to its hangar.

Under that scenario, the payload fairing tests SpaceX cited might merely be an excuse to stand down from a launch that was never really going to happen.


In other Alex Jones-worthy news, we never landed on the Moon, either.

James Dean seems to be a respectable space journalist, I assume he wouldn't report something like this without some credible sources.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 11/21/2017 04:37 AM
Also interesting the conjecture that Zuma could have been a launch readiness drill:
Quote
Some have gone as far as to suggest that there really is no Zuma mission — that the pre-launch preparations were an exercise to prove SpaceX's ability to fly on short notice.

SpaceX put a Falcon 9 on the pad at KSC and test-fired its main engines on Nov. 11. The rocket went vertical again before last week's planned launch attempts, but has since returned to its hangar.

Under that scenario, the payload fairing tests SpaceX cited might merely be an excuse to stand down from a launch that was never really going to happen.

Well, it would give some context to the name Zuma as a homophone (sort of) of Zoom indicating speediness.   But really, that seems a bit of a stretch and highly unlikely.

Not to mention that they would've to put forward another 'excuse' if this mission is never going to happen, as the fairing issue alone wouldn't do it, and as a commercial company I don't think they would release potentially damaging false statements.

There could be an actual payload; it's not ready to launch yet, but in the meantime the ultimate customer is prepared to pay to test SpaceX's ability to launch at short notice (you wouldn't want to test this on an actual time-critical mission - what if it failed?). In this scenario, the launcher will return to the integration facility where the current dummy payload will be removed and the real payload installed. Why invent a 'reason' for this scenario? It obfuscates the date that the payload has to be launched on, which makes it harder for third parties to divine its purpose!

As for any false statement by SpaceX being commercially damaging, I think that would be limited ('there was some unusual data ultimately deriving from the - classified - requirements that came with this particular payload, but we've double-checked and everything's fine'). And you have to set that against any commercial advantage from keeping this particular customer happy!

Though it's actually more likely they've found something and are being cautious! :)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 11/21/2017 07:15 AM
Worth a post in the update thread.

James Dean at Florida Today reports that Range maintenance down periods have been interrupted before to accommodate launch needs. 

So a hard close of the Range until 1 Dec appears, from a historical perspective, to be negotiable.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15
As a very authoritative source reported, they did some monkeying with range maintenance schedules for Intelsat 35e this July (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/08/eastern-range-return-two-key-launches-stand-down/), so it wouldn't even be a first time for SpaceX in the last six months.

Probably a bit annoying to the range to have SpaceX twice request such schedule adjustments in the same year, both times also overlapping major US holidays (July 4th and Thanksgiving).  That said, assuming that the ZUMA launch date was in fact considered high priority by the US gov. then I'm sure such an adjustment would certainly be possible.  The USAF knows how to get the mission done. 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jpo234 on 11/21/2017 12:15 PM
Looks like no Zuma launch until December:

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/spacex-classified-zuma-launch-delayed-until-least-december

Have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, I'm not. 

A tweet by Irene Klotz , referencing the above, indicates the range will be down  for maintenance Dec 1st (and presumably a few days after).

Quote
#SpaceX Zuma off range at least until it reopens after annual maintenance Dec 1

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/932689217599213568

This tweet is confusing. Does the annual maintenance start Dec 1st and SpaceX has to wait until after this (e.g. later in December) or does the annual maintenance end Dec 1st and SpaceX has to wait until then?

The fact that CRS-13 is scheduled to launch on Dec 4th seems to imply, that the range reopens on Dec 1st...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/21/2017 12:43 PM
Looks like no Zuma launch until December:

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/spacex-classified-zuma-launch-delayed-until-least-december

Have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, I'm not. 

A tweet by Irene Klotz , referencing the above, indicates the range will be down  for maintenance Dec 1st (and presumably a few days after).

Quote
#SpaceX Zuma off range at least until it reopens after annual maintenance Dec 1

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/932689217599213568

This tweet is confusing. Does the annual maintenance start Dec 1st and SpaceX has to wait until after this (e.g. later in December) or does the annual maintenance end Dec 1st and SpaceX has to wait until then?

The fact that CRS-13 is scheduled to launch on Dec 4th seems to imply, that the range reopens on Dec 1st...

It means the Range is currently closed for maintenance and will reopen - under a normal schedule - on 1 December.  However, as James Dean reported, these closure are not set in stone, and the Range can be reopened during a down period for a launch if needed.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 11/21/2017 02:00 PM
Looks like no Zuma launch until December:

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/spacex-classified-zuma-launch-delayed-until-least-december

Have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, I'm not. 

A tweet by Irene Klotz , referencing the above, indicates the range will be down  for maintenance Dec 1st (and presumably a few days after).

Quote
#SpaceX Zuma off range at least until it reopens after annual maintenance Dec 1

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/932689217599213568

This tweet is confusing. Does the annual maintenance start Dec 1st and SpaceX has to wait until after this (e.g. later in December) or does the annual maintenance end Dec 1st and SpaceX has to wait until then?

The fact that CRS-13 is scheduled to launch on Dec 4th seems to imply, that the range reopens on Dec 1st...

It means the Range is currently closed for maintenance and will reopen - under a normal schedule - on 1 December.  However, as James Dean reported, these closure are not set in stone, and the Range can be reopened during a down period for a launch if needed.
In previous years, the range maintenance was around Christmas and new years. I wonder if the maintenance schedule was bumped up due to the issue so as to keep it open later in the year?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jpo234 on 11/21/2017 02:11 PM
It means the Range is currently closed for maintenance and will reopen - under a normal schedule - on 1 December.  However, as James Dean reported, these closure are not set in stone, and the Range can be reopened during a down period for a launch if needed.
In previous years, the range maintenance was around Christmas and new years. I wonder if the maintenance schedule was bumped up due to the issue so as to keep it open later in the year?

Unlikely, I think. CRS-13 and FH have been planned for December quite some time now.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/21/2017 05:10 PM
It means the Range is currently closed for maintenance and will reopen - under a normal schedule - on 1 December.  However, as James Dean reported, these closure are not set in stone, and the Range can be reopened during a down period for a launch if needed.
In previous years, the range maintenance was around Christmas and new years. I wonder if the maintenance schedule was bumped up due to the issue so as to keep it open later in the year?

Unlikely, I think. CRS-13 and FH have been planned for December quite some time now.

Also, the sheer logistics of advancing a major down period like this by over a month with only a day or two's notice is completely impractical.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jjyach on 11/21/2017 06:28 PM
It means the Range is currently closed for maintenance and will reopen - under a normal schedule - on 1 December.  However, as James Dean reported, these closure are not set in stone, and the Range can be reopened during a down period for a launch if needed.
In previous years, the range maintenance was around Christmas and new years. I wonder if the maintenance schedule was bumped up due to the issue so as to keep it open later in the year?

Unlikely, I think. CRS-13 and FH have been planned for December quite some time now.

Also, the sheer logistics of advancing a major down period like this by over a month with only a day or two's notice is completely impractical.

Chris is correct, the range was scheduled to be down this week through 12/1 well in advance of the planned launch.  SX knew this hence why they left the booster upright incase it was something they could launch with and not press the window start.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mn on 11/21/2017 11:03 PM
From update thread

Worth a post in the update thread.

James Dean at Florida Today reports that Range maintenance down periods have been interrupted before to accommodate launch needs. 

So a hard close of the Range until 1 Dec appears, from a historical perspective, to be negotiable.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/11/20/spacex-launch-secret-zuma-mission-hold-until-after-thanksgiving/880972001/?hootPostID=197b6f8f7befd7117f8b39925b800a15

Update to this.  Below is a response from the 45th Squadron of the Air Force per my inquiry about the Range closure.

"Hi Chris,

Yes, our annual Eastern Capitalization Period began yesterday 20 Nov and will run through 1 Dec.

As an aside, the article referenced is inaccurate in that launches supported by the 45th Space Wing are at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, not Kennedy Space Center - which is NASA."

It would appear - if I'm reading that right - that the Range closure would not affect any missions going from LC-39A.

That doesn't sound right, the 45th Space wing most definitely issued Launch Hazard Area maps and such for 39A.

Edit: add quote from http://www.patrick.af.mil/Portals/14/documents/8-23%20Priorities%20Commitments%20Booklet.pdf?ver=2017-08-23-174650-240#page=3

Quote
and neighboring Kennedy Space Center (which relies heavily upon us for range support)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Michael Baylor on 11/21/2017 11:45 PM
I am certain the Eastern Range supports KSC. Either the person worded something wrong or they are very confused.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisC on 11/22/2017 03:48 AM
Often when there's confusing information like this, it's because there's an underlying conflict.  Turf battle?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 11/22/2017 06:42 PM
Big news, 1043 is off the TEL.

FH mods continuing.

https://twitter.com/Delta_IV_Heavy/status/933405458051862528
As if Zuma wasn't an odd mission already...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 11/22/2017 06:44 PM
Now the question is whether Zuma was just a fictitious mission or not.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Michael Baylor on 11/22/2017 06:49 PM
I am confident that there is a payload. If it was a bluff, they would have blamed the payload for the delay. SpaceX will have to explain the fairing problem to all of its customers. How would they tell them they there isn't actually an issue?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: pb2000 on 11/22/2017 07:14 PM
Now the question is whether Zuma was just a fictitious mission or not.
To what end?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/22/2017 07:32 PM
Now the question is whether Zuma was just a fictitious mission or not.
To what end?

Rapid Response test for the military
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 11/22/2017 08:44 PM
Now the question is whether Zuma was just a fictitious mission or not.
To what end?

Rapid Response test for the military
And throw their credibility in the trash can while doing it?  Elon might be a bit odd, but he is not that crazy.

Edit: fixed typo.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vanoord on 11/22/2017 09:19 PM
Big news, 1043 is off the TEL.

FH mods continuing.

https://twitter.com/Delta_IV_Heavy/status/933405458051862528
As if Zuma wasn't an odd mission already...

I don't see mods to the TEL being incompatible with the delay, ie it will be capable of launching F9 as well as FH, so using a week of downtime to continue work doesn't have any implications as to the nature of 'Zuma'.

It simply makes sense from a logistical point of view.

It might also be interesting to know whether the TEL is designed to hold a core stage for extended durations anyway, ie whether removal would be standard practice or not.

No obvious reason that 'Zuma' can't still launch from 39A in early December, other than if the ground crew are going to be working at 39A and 40 so can't conduct two launches within a couple of days.

Shall we gamble on something like a 48 to 72 hour turnaround between 'Zuma' and CRS-13?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cppetrie on 11/22/2017 09:26 PM
Much of the FH prep have been small incremental steps that could be completed between launches, but one of the few remaining tasks is a 2-week cut and weld operation. Starting that step is a guaranteed several week delay while they complete the prep then remate the Zuma stack on the TEL and roll back out. I think the general consensus is that they will not begin that final step until after Zuma is away unless it becomes so far delayed that it could move to 40 after CRS-13. Otherwise FH waits for Zuma.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: pb2000 on 11/22/2017 10:11 PM
Now the question is whether Zuma was just a fictitious mission or not.
To what end?

Rapid Response test for the military

SpaceX is stamping out new boosters every month; if a critical military satellite failed, the limiting factor would be preparation of a ground spare, not the F9 (it would be a safe bet that the US military can pull rank on the manifest).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 11/23/2017 01:04 AM
I think this means that (a) a new fairing is required (ie, both this fairing and the future fairing for the other mission were found to have unrepairable defects), and (b) the bottleneck to rapid response (in this case) is fairing production, not stage production.

I wonder if the item transported from 39A is the other FH compression bridge, going to the load testing facility.  The payload went a while ago (we hear) and it doesn't make sense for the core to leave the 39A hanger.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cppetrie on 11/23/2017 01:10 AM
It may not mean a new fairing is required just yet. It may simply mean that de-encapsulation is required to inspect the fairing to make that determination.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 11/23/2017 03:34 AM
It may not mean a new fairing is required just yet. It may simply mean that de-encapsulation is required to inspect the fairing to make that determination.
To be clear, I believe that the removal of the F9 from the TEL means that they expect the wait to be long => a new fairing is required.

The payload went to the de-encapsulation facility a few days ago. If they thought that all that was needed was a quick look inside and then back to the pad, the F9 would still be keeping the TEL warm waiting for it.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Elthiryel on 11/23/2017 08:36 AM
I think there is also a possibility that the range maintenance actually affects KSC (this is still unclear to me), so they have to wait until December even if the fairing issue is fixed by now. It would mean they have about a week now to do some TEL modifications and they don't want to waste that time.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MarekCyzio on 11/23/2017 11:52 AM
Will Zuma require another static test since it was removed from TEL?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jarnis on 11/23/2017 12:49 PM
Will Zuma require another static test since it was removed from TEL?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Not by default. No clue what criteria would be used to decide if it needed one.

If they move it to SLC-40, that might be a factor.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CorvusCorax on 11/25/2017 01:40 PM
Will Zuma require another static test since it was removed from TEL?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Not by default. No clue what criteria would be used to decide if it needed one.

If they move it to SLC-40, that might be a factor.

Well a static fire is effectively a wet dress rehearsal + ignition sequence and hot engine test.

The engines are tested fine, so technically they don't need to fire them. If it was the first launch from the freshly repaired pad, it would have made sense to still do it to dress rehearse the pad systems, including ignition to rule out GSE issues with the TEA-TEB system.

But if the dragon launch launches first, all hat stuff is already checked out. They could go straight to launch then, without another hot fire or even WDR

On the other hand there's no such thing as too many tests ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 11/25/2017 02:54 PM
On the other hand there's no such thing as too many tests ;)


Actually - in fact, OF COURSE - there's such a thing as too many tests, especially of systems that involve high-energy combustion, pressurization events, and cryogenic fluids. See, e.g., AMOS-6.

Tests cause wear and tear; they reveal latent defects (e.g., quality control problems in materials, assembly and/or operations). Tests create data that needs to be reviewed, analyzed, and evaluated. That involves work for the test team and quality assurance team. So test as often as you must and then stop. Mature organizations know where that point is. Presumably, by this point, SpaceX is such an organization.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: meekGee on 11/26/2017 02:05 PM


On the other hand there's no such thing as too many tests ;)


Actually - in fact, OF COURSE - there's such a thing as too many tests, especially of systems that involve high-energy combustion, pressurization events, and cryogenic fluids. See, e.g., AMOS-6.

Tests cause wear and tear; they reveal latent defects (e.g., quality control problems in materials, assembly and/or operations). Tests create data that needs to be reviewed, analyzed, and evaluated. That involves work for the test team and quality assurance team. So test as often as you must and then stop. Mature organizations know where that point is. Presumably, by this point, SpaceX is such an organization.

Not in a reusable system.

AMOS-6 is a terrible example.  What's your alternative, that it would fail during launch?  Or on its next flight?

Irrespective of the "payload during static fire", a reusable rocket should be able to be tested with impunity.

The extra work to perform the test is, again, a different issue. The original concern was risk.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FinalFrontier on 11/26/2017 02:08 PM
Don't know if its been talked about officially yet but I am thinking its becoming very unlikely we see FH fly this year.

Any idea what the NET date is for Zuma or if there even is one yet?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FinalFrontier on 11/26/2017 02:09 PM
Now the question is whether Zuma was just a fictitious mission or not.
There is a real payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/26/2017 02:53 PM
Don't know if its been talked about officially yet but I am thinking its becoming very unlikely we see FH fly this year.

Any idea what the NET date is for Zuma or if there even is one yet?

If there was a NET date to report, we would. ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 11/26/2017 03:37 PM

Not in a reusable system.

AMOS-6 is a terrible example.  What's your alternative, that it would fail during launch?  Or on its next flight?

Irrespective of the "payload during static fire", a reusable rocket should be able to be tested with impunity.

The extra work to perform the test is, again, a different issue. The original concern was risk.

Wrong, it is a perfect example, since there is no fully reusable system.


Irrespective of the "payload during static fire", a reusable rocket should be able to be tested with impunity.


Not true either.  Not until reusable rockets are actually like aircraft which will not apply to Falcon 9.  F9 still won't be  tested with impunity, it will have limited life items.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: meekGee on 11/26/2017 04:11 PM

Not in a reusable system.

AMOS-6 is a terrible example.  What's your alternative, that it would fail during launch?  Or on its next flight?

Irrespective of the "payload during static fire", a reusable rocket should be able to be tested with impunity.

The extra work to perform the test is, again, a different issue. The original concern was risk.

Wrong, it is a perfect example, since there is no fully reusable system.


Irrespective of the "payload during static fire", a reusable rocket should be able to be tested with impunity.


Not true either.  Not until reusable rockets are actually like aircraft which will not apply to Falcon 9.  F9 still won't be  tested with impunity, it will have limited life items.
F9 is not airplane like, but AMOS-6 is still a terrible example.

If it weren't for the payload decision, the test would have unmasked the design flaw before the actual flight - exactly as intended.

If anything, AMOS-6 fully demonstrated the value of a "test as you fly" static fire, since the design flaw caused the explosion of the He tank only under very specific circumstances.

So since they're going to a new barely-tested pad, I wouldn't be surprised if they do a static fire again.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: envy887 on 11/26/2017 08:20 PM
If it weren't for the payload decision, the test would have unmasked the design flaw before the actual flight - exactly as intended.
The static fire is not intended to uncover design flaws, that is done by qualification tests.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: meekGee on 11/26/2017 08:26 PM
If it weren't for the payload decision, the test would have unmasked the design flaw before the actual flight - exactly as intended.
The static fire is not intended to uncover design flaws, that is done by qualification tests.
Clearly not all flaws are discovered at qual, that should be obvious.

The static fire is an "all up" closest-thing-to-a-real-launch test, intended to be a catch-all.

Otherwise, what's the point.

With AMOS-6, the static fire caught a biggie. Regrettably, AMOS was on top... But the lesson is that if you change things (e.g. new pad) then a static fire is a good idea.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevinstout on 11/27/2017 09:11 AM
It seems that people tend to append the word test to static fire, when it should really be rehearsal.  like a wet dress rehearsal. 

its really not a test.  its practice.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jacqmans on 11/27/2017 12:02 PM
And now back to the ZUMA mission, what this topic should be.....
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 11/28/2017 09:14 PM
FAA Zuma launch license attached. It’s dated Nov 9, but I think has only been posted on the FAA’s website this week.

I didn't expect them to release the license, but interestingly, even though they did it doesn't list the flight azimuth from KSC like licenses usually do.  I assume this is due to the classified nature of the payload.  But if that's the case, why publicly release the license at all?  They didn't for the NROL-76 mission which was also a commercial launch (for Ball who was delivering to NRO on orbit) just like this one (Northrup delivering on orbit to an unidentified USG customer).  And, with the eventually published NOTAM and NOTMAR restrictions we'll have a decent idea of the launch azimuth anyway.  Seems a weird way to do things.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/28/2017 09:32 PM
FAA Zuma launch license attached. It’s dated Nov 9, but I think has only been posted on the FAA’s website this week.

If Zuma had launched on time we probably never would have seen an active link to this license on the FAA site.  I don't know if that's really their intent or just incompetent web design.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 11/28/2017 09:58 PM
FAA Zuma launch license attached. It’s dated Nov 9, but I think has only been posted on the FAA’s website this week.

If Zuma had launched on time we probably never would have seen an active link to this license on the FAA site.  I don't know if that's really their intent or just incompetent web design.

I've followed commercial launch licenses for certain types of payloads for over 10 years now. Some licenses seem to be granted well in advance, others just in the nick of time. Some are published several weeks before a launch, some seem to just never show up until a search a few years later when I run across them looking for something else. *shrug* I think it's just a combination of bad government IT policies, lackadaisical implementation of those policies and ever-tighter funding.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 11/29/2017 01:16 AM
Is the liability insurance requirement mostly dependent on the launch azimuth, or RTLS?  The liability insurance requirement for the Zuma flight is the same as CRS missions and NROL-76, $160M.  The GTO launches are much lower ($30M typical, $68M on BulgariaSat for some reason).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 11/29/2017 01:41 AM
Is the liability insurance requirement mostly dependent on the launch azimuth, or RTLS?  The liability insurance requirement for the Zuma flight is the same as CRS missions and NROL-76, $160M.  The GTO launches are much lower ($30M typical, $68M on BulgariaSat for some reason).

RTLS definitely has increased requirements.  I think there are differences based on where they are launching from.  I think the baseline limits for launches from KSC are higher than those from CCAFS.  I assume this is based on an evaluation of surrounding property, etc.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vanoord on 11/29/2017 06:20 AM
I wonder if the decision to push FH back to January - after a December static fire - increases the possibility of launching Zuma at the end of December?

A bit of a hassle if Zuma is going from 39A as FH would have to be de-stacked though.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: fast on 11/29/2017 11:02 AM
I think this means that (a) a new fairing is required (ie, both this fairing and the future fairing for the other mission were found to have unrepairable defects), and (b) the bottleneck to rapid response (in this case) is fairing production, not stage production.


What if its not a fairing problem but payload? It is just strange that Iridium is not affected...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Shanuson on 11/29/2017 11:25 AM
If the Fairing issue itself is minor but can only be corrected at the factory -> easy fix for iridium IV since faring was still at the factory -> therefore no delay to that mission.
But the Zuma faring would need to be shipped back to the factory with all that entails (demate, decapsulation, repair, encapsulation, remate) -> at least a few weeks delay.

Also you can not just swap to an other fairing since they are custom made with certain payload specific openings. At least this was stated earlier in this thread. (Can someone with knowledge confirm this part)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 11/29/2017 11:47 AM
After all, fairings are not LEGOs you know...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 11/29/2017 12:34 PM
If the Fairing issue itself is minor but can only be corrected at the factory -> easy fix for iridium IV since faring was still at the factory -> therefore no delay to that mission.
But the Zuma faring would need to be shipped back to the factory with all that entails (demate, decapsulation, repair, encapsulation, remate) -> at least a few weeks delay.

Also you can not just swap to an other fairing since they are custom made with certain payload specific openings. At least this was stated earlier in this thread. (Can someone with knowledge confirm this part)

I remember that statement being posted in this thread earlier on.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Norm38 on 11/29/2017 12:58 PM
Also you can not just swap to an other fairing since they are custom made with certain payload specific openings. At least this was stated earlier in this thread. (Can someone with knowledge confirm this part)

That makes fairing reuse a lot more problematic doesn't it?  If they're payload specific?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 11/29/2017 01:16 PM
I guess it will become another trade down the line, use standard fairing for $$ or a custom one for $$$. Eventually this could be incorporated into spacecraft design from the outset. At the moment there is probably not enough demand for a standard as every fairing is custom.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: envy887 on 11/29/2017 01:16 PM
Also you can not just swap to an other fairing since they are custom made with certain payload specific openings. At least this was stated earlier in this thread. (Can someone with knowledge confirm this part)

That makes fairing reuse a lot more problematic doesn't it?  If they're payload specific?

Not for repeat payloads like satellite constellations. And it is probably cheaper and faster to recover and modify a fairing than to discard it and build a new one from scratch.

Recovery and reuse is a whole different operation then trying to swap fairing between payloads on a few days notice.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: intrepidpursuit on 11/29/2017 05:08 PM
I believe it has been said on these forums that SpaceX does try to use a standard fairing and pushes back when clients want custom openings. That was one of the issues cited with doing government payloads. The Falcon 9 users manual from 2015 has this statement:
Quote
The fairing can accommodate up to two access doors in the cylindrical portion as a standard service. The
standard payload fairing door is elliptical, with a maximum size of 450 x 550 mm (17.7 x 21.7 in.).

To me that is unclear if that means there are two available openings of that size or if you can make your own openings according to those parameters. It is also an old manual so things could have changed.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 11/29/2017 05:54 PM
I think this means that (a) a new fairing is required (ie, both this fairing and the future fairing for the other mission were found to have unrepairable defects), and (b) the bottleneck to rapid response (in this case) is fairing production, not stage production.


What if its not a fairing problem but payload? It is just strange that Iridium is not affected...

Could, for example, be that the issue is a material defect and the Iridium fairing (or part(s)) came from a different lot/batch that was unaffected.  Or they were able to test the Iridium fairing more easily because that payload hadn't been encapsulated yet.  Or the Zuma fairing was different from the Iridium one in some way that made it an item of concern.  Or it is an investigation/analysis that SpaceX thinks they can close out in very short order but not before the end of November and since Zuma wasn't going to be able to launch before their primary deadline a longer delay was irrelevant.  Etc. 

Regardless, why are people so insistent on trying to fabricate convoluted, contrary explications for something (apparently) very straightforward?  SpaceX said they delayed the launch because they found a problem with 1 of their fairings and needed to investigate.  Why, suddenly, is everyone building "conspiracies" where that's not what actually happened?  First the "Zuma wasn't a real payload" thing and now this.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Brian45 on 11/29/2017 10:37 PM
I suspect that the lack of information on what the issue was with the fairing is causing people to speculate, sometime wildly. SpaceX is under no compulsion to reveal what the problem was, which is too bad, but hey, they're not government but a private enterprise and they can do what they want. I hope that someday the problem they encountered will be revealed, but until then, we're all in the dark.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dorkmo on 11/30/2017 12:52 AM
Werent they sorta inbetween fairing recovery designs? I think itd be fair to speculate a design change caused an issue.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IntoTheVoid on 12/01/2017 08:17 PM
Quote from: Chris Gebhardt
In another coincidence, NASA is currently scheduled to be the first and last SpaceX launch from the East Coast this year
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/12/slc-40-comes-back-with-crs-13-static-fire/


Strongly implies no expectation of getting this thing launched in Dec.
Given that they seem to be prepping 39A for FH, I was holding out some small hope that maybe this would go from Pad-40 after CRS-13. Seems not.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 12/02/2017 12:10 AM
Quote from: Chris Gebhardt
In another coincidence, NASA is currently scheduled to be the first and last SpaceX launch from the East Coast this year
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/12/slc-40-comes-back-with-crs-13-static-fire/


Strongly implies no expectation of getting this thing launched in Dec.
Given that they seem to be prepping 39A for FH, I was holding out some small hope that maybe this would go from Pad-40 after CRS-13. Seems not.

I think there is probably a general lack of information about Zuma. We probably won't hear about it launching until a week or less in advance is my guess.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: noogie on 12/02/2017 11:15 PM
Let's assume worse case scenario - that a new fairing needs to be manufactured.
How long will that take and to have the payload encapsulated into it?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 12/03/2017 02:50 AM
Let's assume worse case scenario - that a new fairing needs to be manufactured.
How long will that take and to have the payload encapsulated into it?

Without any idea of what the problem is it's hard to accurately guesstimate.  Have they found the cause and what is the solution to avoid the issue in subsequent fairings? 

Don't forget that since they missed the Nov. 30th launch deadline, there may be no rush to launch this payload anymore.  Given its nature we don't have much insight.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: crandles57 on 12/06/2017 01:07 PM
http://www.launchphotography.com/Delta_4_Atlas_5_Falcon_9_Launch_Viewing.html
has Jan 4th likely 8pm EST

https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/
also has Jan 4th time TBD

Is that Jan 4th EST so that it is likely 5th 01:00 UTC?

Or might it be 01:00 UTC on the 4th?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: shuttlefan on 12/06/2017 01:19 PM
http://www.launchphotography.com/Delta_4_Atlas_5_Falcon_9_Launch_Viewing.html
has Jan 4th likely 8pm EST

https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/
also has Jan 4th time TBD

Is that Jan 4th EST so that it is likely 5th 01:00 UTC?

Or might it be 01:00 UTC on the 4th?

They also show it going from SLC-40.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cppetrie on 12/06/2017 08:20 PM
A launch on the 4th would seem to suggest that the fairing issue was a fix-it type of issue as opposed to a replace-it type of issue, yes? Could they have built a new set of fairings and shipped them across the country in about a month’s time? Im thinking they just needed to de-encapsulate in order to either test for the suspected problem or find it and fix it. Could more knowledgeable folks confirm or deny that line of thought?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kansan52 on 12/06/2017 08:56 PM
Or the discovered the problem didn't affect Zuma's fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Formica on 12/06/2017 11:55 PM
Strongly implies no expectation of getting this thing launched in Dec.
Given that they seem to be prepping 39A for FH, I was holding out some small hope that maybe this would go from Pad-40 after CRS-13. Seems not.

I think there is probably a general lack of information about Zuma. We probably won't hear about it launching until a week or less in advance is my guess.

As noted in the CRS-13 thread, we now know that Zuma will launch from SLC-40 in "early January". I am a bit surprised - but certainly pleased! - with the turnaround speed. Also demonstrates confidence in SLC-40 going forward, and bodes well for Heavy.

https://twitter.com/spacex/status/938510889484828673
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 12/16/2017 12:48 PM
So not sure which mission this is, but someone took a picture of a Falcon core on transporter at the LC-39A HIF yesterday. Looks like the stage 2 is still integrated?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcuyZ9Ags4e/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CorvusCorax on 12/16/2017 01:14 PM
So not sure which mission this is, but someone took a picture of a Falcon core on transporter at the LC-39A HIF yesterday. Looks like the stage 2 is still integrated?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcuyZ9Ags4e/

I wonder, is this the first time we ever see a complete F9 (without payload or fairing)  including 2nd stage, horizontal on anything BUT a transporter erector. If I remember right, people even speculated that they can't even be lifted off the TE without demating. Looks like they indeed can be moved around stacked together :)

This looks like a brand new core, so either the FH center core went out for a spin, or much more likely, they are bringing the Zuma launcher over to pad 40 to have 39A clear for FH


Any idea where it went after thos pic? If it headed for CCAFS I'd bet its Zuma's ride
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: SmallKing on 12/16/2017 01:16 PM
Apparently zuma
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 12/16/2017 06:07 PM
So not sure which mission this is, but someone took a picture of a Falcon core on transporter at the LC-39A HIF yesterday. Looks like the stage 2 is still integrated?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcuyZ9Ags4e/

I wonder, is this the first time we ever see a complete F9 (without payload or fairing)  including 2nd stage, horizontal on anything BUT a transporter erector. If I remember right, people even speculated that they can't even be lifted off the TE without demating. Looks like they indeed can be moved around stacked together :)

This looks like a brand new core, so either the FH center core went out for a spin, or much more likely, they are bringing the Zuma launcher over to pad 40 to have 39A clear for FH


Any idea where it went after thos pic? If it headed for CCAFS I'd bet its Zuma's ride
I'm surprised they transported it integrated like that. I would have thought that the unsupported weight of the upper stage would have put too much strain on the interstage.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Norm38 on 12/16/2017 06:59 PM
The interstage has to handle lateral flight loads on a fueled upper stage and the payload fairing. I'm not surprised it can support an empty stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: douglas100 on 12/16/2017 07:34 PM
Also, it takes the weight of the first stage when it's being handled by crane at Port Canaveral, LZ-1 and McGregor.

The F9 stages are integrated on the hangar floor before being raised by crane. Then the integrated vehicle is lowered on to the TEL and the various connections are made. The Zuma vehicle would be removed from the TEL and lowered on to the transporter in the reverse process.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cro-magnon gramps on 12/20/2017 08:16 PM
Strongly implies no expectation of getting this thing launched in Dec.
Given that they seem to be prepping 39A for FH, I was holding out some small hope that maybe this would go from Pad-40 after CRS-13. Seems not.

I think there is probably a general lack of information about Zuma. We probably won't hear about it launching until a week or less in advance is my guess.

As noted in the CRS-13 thread, we now know that Zuma will launch from SLC-40 in "early January". I am a bit surprised - but certainly pleased! - with the turnaround speed. Also demonstrates confidence in SLC-40 going forward, and bodes well for Heavy.

https://twitter.com/spacex/status/938510889484828673
From the NSF Calendar:

January 5th - Events: Zuma - Falcon 9 - KSC LC39A 01:00 UT

Perhaps someone should check this for accuracy: MODS or Chris Bergin...

Would be a nice Birthday Present though - Thursday January 4th 8:00 PM EST :D 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 12/21/2017 05:09 AM
From the NSF Calendar:

January 5th - Events: Zuma - Falcon 9 - KSC LC39A 01:00 UT

Perhaps someone should check this for accuracy: MODS or Chris Bergin...

Would be a nice Birthday Present though - Thursday January 4th 8:00 PM EST :D 

01:00 UTC is the same launch time given in the press kit for the 17 November attempt.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 12/29/2017 01:15 PM
The NSF calendar (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=calendar;year=2018;month=1) still lists Zuma as launching from LC39A.  Is there a better thread to report this?

Fixed.  I think when people get around to editing the calendar they're mostly looking at the dates  :)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Comga on 12/29/2017 03:14 PM
From the NSF Calendar:

January 5th - Events: Zuma - Falcon 9 - KSC LC39A 01:00 UT

Perhaps someone should check this for accuracy: MODS or Chris Bergin...

Would be a nice Birthday Present though - Thursday January 4th 8:00 PM EST :D 

01:00 UTC is the same launch time given in the press kit for the 17 November attempt.

Where will the ISS orbit be at that time?
IIRC, the 17 Nov launch time was close to the north-east bound ISS pass, which lead to some speculation.
Just askin'

And really, no news since 12/20 for a launch supposedly in a week?  I know we are all fascinated by Heavy but....
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 12/29/2017 03:29 PM
There is a small bit of information/confirmation in L2.  But Zuma has always been quite a quiet mission, I'm not surprised there's not a public hullabaloo.  And I'd expect official pictures of FH to come out from SpaceX PR sometime soon, and Zuma would be a distraction from that planned New Year's Party. IMO no Zuma news until the official FH press release party has run it's course.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: king1999 on 01/02/2018 02:23 AM
No more static fire needed for moving to another pad?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 01/02/2018 02:27 AM
No more static fire needed for moving to another pad?
I am surprised by that... seems like it would be a good idea.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/02/2018 02:36 AM
Maybe the static fire happened in secrecy and no press was available at Canaveral at that time.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 01/02/2018 02:41 AM
Maybe the static fire happened in secrecy and no press was available at Canaveral at that time.

No, we would’ve seen it on the Eastern Range’s schedule.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 01/02/2018 02:44 AM
No more static fire needed for moving to another pad?
I am surprised by that... seems like it would be a good idea.
I am too.

I assume that a 2nd static fire would have occurred by today? to allow a the LRR that would follow to occur with sufficient time before a launch on the evening of January 4, EST.

And you can't have a static fire without a base safety notice or a notice of the use of the range.  And that content is apparently, not secret.

So, I don't think one can have a "secret" static fire, at least not at CCAFS (or KSC, for that matter).

I deduce that SpaceX and NG (and NG's client) are sufficiently confident in the LV to forego a static fire and proceed directly to the launch.

(I'm not an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!)

EDIT 1/2 re possible 2nd "something" for ZUMA, after all: Well, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/02/2018 11:16 AM
No more static fire needed for moving to another pad?
I am surprised by that... seems like it would be a good idea.

And that would be why exactly?

Static fire is about testing the vehicle. It is not about testing the pad. Falcon 9 rockets are not custom-built for a specific launchpad.

And LC-40 had its testing done prior to and during the static fire of CRS-13 and its subsequent launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: StuffOfInterest on 01/02/2018 11:31 AM
No more static fire needed for moving to another pad?
I am surprised by that... seems like it would be a good idea.

And that would be why exactly?

Static fire is about testing the vehicle. It is not about testing the pad. Falcon 9 rockets are not custom-built for a specific launchpad.

And LC-40 had its testing done prior to and during the static fire of CRS-13 and its subsequent launch.

Although the static fire itself may test the vehicle, the WDR that is part of the static fire tests the pad facilities and the vehicle to pad interfaces.  SpaceX must be pretty confident of their ground processes at this point if they don't see a need to do a test after moving the vehicle between pads and a different TE.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/02/2018 11:50 AM
No more static fire needed for moving to another pad?
I am surprised by that... seems like it would be a good idea.

And that would be why exactly?

Static fire is about testing the vehicle. It is not about testing the pad. Falcon 9 rockets are not custom-built for a specific launchpad.

And LC-40 had its testing done prior to and during the static fire of CRS-13 and its subsequent launch.

Although the static fire itself may test the vehicle, the WDR that is part of the static fire tests the pad facilities and the vehicle to pad interfaces.  SpaceX must be pretty confident of their ground processes at this point if they don't see a need to do a test after moving the vehicle between pads and a different TE.

Please read what I posted earlier: Falcon 9 vehicles are not custom-built for a specific launchpad.
Although the TEL from LC-39A is outwardly dissimilar to the one on LC-40, they are functionally the same: both support the vehicle in an identical manner. Both TEL's provide identical pad-to-vehicle interfaces.
And although launchpad LC-39A as-a-whole looks outwardly very different from LC-40 as-a-whole they are functionally identical: both can launch the same Falcon 9 vehicle.

So, again: no need for a second static fire unless there was an issue with the Falcon 9 vehicle itself.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/02/2018 03:31 PM
The point of "fit checks" is to fit all vehicles to all launchers, not a vehicle to a launcher.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/02/2018 05:14 PM
The point of "fit checks" is to fit all vehicles to all launchers, not a vehicle to a launcher.
Correct. And LC-40 already has had its "fit checks".
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Herb Schaltegger on 01/02/2018 05:55 PM
The point of "fit checks" is to fit all vehicles to all launchers, not a vehicle to a launcher.
Correct. And LC-40 already has had its "fit checks".
Sorry but your statement that the static fire is to test the complex not the booster, and that since LC-40 has had a successful operational launch since reactivation there is no need to do a static fire for Zuma doesn’t follow axiomatically. Otherwise SpaceX would not still routinely do static fires at each complex before each mission. After all, how many launches came off each pad this past year and for how many of those was the static fire skipped, regardless of how recent the prior launch occurred?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/02/2018 06:21 PM
Chris B states on the update thread that a 2nd SF is coming up potentially.....
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ugordan on 01/02/2018 06:34 PM
Static fire is about testing the vehicle. It is not about testing the pad.

Maybe not once they have a well-oiled pad running. However, their history shows them hitting various snags with new/upgraded pads due to their idiosyncrasies, with the GSE (pad or test site) in some severe cases causing hardware damage.

I'm not the least bit surprised they opted for another full dress rehearsal for such an important mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/02/2018 06:40 PM
Chris B states on the update thread that a 2nd SF is coming up potentially.....

"Potential second static fire" is the post in the update thread.

With no payload, all signs point toward that.  But this could be a WDR with no engine firing.  Or it could be fit checks for SLC-40 -- as it's only hosted one launch since being rebuilt and they could want to do part of a normal static fire flow with this booster to test connections and everything without actually static firing it again.  Or it could be a static fire.  We don't know yet.

We've never had a booster static fire on one pad and then move to another pad.  This all a new part of the puzzle that is launching a Falcon 9.

EDIT: Remember, the entire static fire process of getting the vehicle connected to the pad, fueling it, and lighting the engines DOESN'T JUST TEST the rocket but all the pad systems, too.  So while the booster might not NEED another static fire, they might still need to do some of these routine static fire elements to satisfy pre-mission pad readiness.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/03/2018 06:45 AM
Chris B states on the update thread that a 2nd SF is coming up potentially.....

"Potential second static fire" is the post in the update thread.

With no payload, all signs point toward that.  But this could be a WDR with no engine firing.  Or it could be fit checks for SLC-40 -- as it's only hosted one launch since being rebuilt and they could want to do part of a normal static fire flow with this booster to test connections and everything without actually static firing it again.  Or it could be a static fire.  We don't know yet.

We've never had a booster static fire on one pad and then move to another pad.  This all a new part of the puzzle that is launching a Falcon 9.

EDIT: Remember, the entire static fire process of getting the vehicle connected to the pad, fueling it, and lighting the engines DOESN'T JUST TEST the rocket but all the pad systems, too.  So while the booster might not NEED another static fire, they might still need to do some of these routine static fire elements to satisfy pre-mission pad readiness.

Let me put it this way: If SpaceX were actually planning to perform a second static fire for Zuma, it would be on the range schedule.

Have you checked the range schedule?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: paolozamparutti on 01/03/2018 12:18 PM
strong jet stream over florida, basically is the condition that is bringing exceptionally cold weather in some parts of the United States. I think this is what made the launch slip by 24 hours

(http://www.wetterzentrale.de/maps/GFSOPNA06_48_22.png)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/03/2018 12:43 PM
The fact that the supposed second SF has not occurred yet would mean this was simply a fit check, and a SF requires range booking, and SpaceX had not yet done that.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kdhilliard on 01/03/2018 01:25 PM
Does a full Wet Dress Rehearsal not require the same level of roadblocks needed for a Static Fire?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: abaddon on 01/03/2018 01:43 PM
Does a full Wet Dress Rehearsal not require the same level of roadblocks needed for a Static Fire?
A good question, since the AMOS conflagration could easily have happened during a WDR...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/03/2018 01:57 PM
Per twitter, spacex confirms a WDR was complete and that all is on track for launch friday-

https://mobile.twitter.com/SpaceX/status/948554978163007488
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 01/03/2018 02:23 PM
I was wondering about the WDR safety issue as well. I would think that it would require much of the same safety requirements as a static fire.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/03/2018 04:46 PM
WDR does not require the range. Does require pad safety issues. WDR does prove the vehicle interfaces / GSE change.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: abaddon on 01/03/2018 04:55 PM
I fail to see much difference between a WDR and a static fire, unless you presume that the hold-down clamps might accidentally be released.  As much as Hollywood might love that idea, it seems like a vanishingly small probability to me.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/03/2018 05:07 PM
There's clearly more paranoia/concern with this payload. First with the fairing, and now with the pad/GSE switch.

Perhaps someone constantly is bringing up "what could go wrong?". And SX answers with "well, we could do X", so X gets done ...

This one's been a bit different.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: whitelancer64 on 01/03/2018 05:16 PM
A full WDR would do the exact same things as a static fire except light the engines.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: wannamoonbase on 01/03/2018 05:26 PM
There's clearly more paranoia/concern with this payload. First with the fairing, and now with the pad/GSE switch.

Perhaps someone constantly is bringing up "what could go wrong?". And SX answers with "well, we could do X", so X gets done ...

This one's been a bit different.

I wonder if they get paid extra to doing 'X'?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: pb2000 on 01/03/2018 05:33 PM
I would hazard a guess that they only loaded a fraction of the propellant and just did leak and systems check. There's a lot that can go wrong between McGregor and the Cape, but not a lot between the barns.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/03/2018 06:08 PM
A full WDR would do the exact same things as a static fire except light the engines.

And that is in fact a MAJOR difference.

A WDR doesn't require the services of the range. In this case the WDR was a propellant loading test. IMO it is a safe guess that SpaceX only partially loaded the vehicle and didn't even bother pressurizing the tanks to flight pressure.

A Static Fire does require the range because a static fire is considered to be a potential launch, coming with all the hazards that are associated with an actual launch, such as having a fully fueled and fully pressurized vehicle.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Formica on 01/03/2018 06:10 PM
I've given Chris Gebhardt's previous Zuma article a big update based on latest status, etc. And also to revamp it into the new NSF news site style (all images changed, etc.)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/01/spacex-falcon-9-launch-clandestine-zuma-satellite/

Great update to a great article, Chris G and Chris B  :) Once again, NSF's articles are clear, well written, detail oriented for the space nerds, and accessible to the casual reader. Bravo.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/03/2018 06:36 PM
This may mean nothing but why hasn't the L-2 forecast been released yet?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jpo234 on 01/03/2018 06:51 PM
This may mean nothing but why hasn't the L-2 forecast been released yet?
Just appeared in the update thread.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: smndk on 01/03/2018 08:28 PM
Could the detection of particles in the second stage fuel system of CRS-13 have anything to do with the need of a WDR?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: speedevil on 01/03/2018 11:07 PM
I wonder if they get paid extra to doing 'X'?

They already get paid a lot more typically for doing government launches.
The customer having more options to make them screw with the rocket and say what they're not happy with is likely one of the reasons for this.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/03/2018 11:33 PM
I wonder if they get paid extra to doing 'X'?

They already get paid a lot more typically for doing government launches.
The customer having more options to make them screw with the rocket and say what they're not happy with could is likely one of the reasons for this.
Ironically, for wanting to do a low-profile launch, they've drawn increasing amounts of scrutiny by every one of this moves.

It's almost as if someone is trying to constantly find flaw to make things more difficult and annoying for the customer's customer here. Which doesn't make much sense.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 01/03/2018 11:36 PM
There's clearly more paranoia/concern with this payload. First with the fairing, and now with the pad/GSE switch.

Perhaps someone constantly is bringing up "what could go wrong?". And SX answers with "well, we could do X", so X gets done ...

This one's been a bit different.
I would not recommend doing X...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: su27k on 01/04/2018 03:59 AM
There's clearly more paranoia/concern with this payload. First with the fairing, and now with the pad/GSE switch.

Perhaps someone constantly is bringing up "what could go wrong?". And SX answers with "well, we could do X", so X gets done ...

This one's been a bit different.

I wonder if they get paid extra to doing 'X'?

I think this is just SpaceX/Elon running at maximum paranoid mode. From the reddit source: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7dgvlz/spacex_launch_of_secretive_zuma_mission_from_ksc/dpy98qs/

Quote
Not only does Elon say it, he also emails the entire company. My friends on the inside mentioned that he sent an email about this launch stating that it was the most valuable satellite they have launched to date. Any misgivings or inklings of issues, then to call or email him directly and he would get teams on it to verify.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: speedevil on 01/04/2018 04:49 AM
Not only does Elon say it, he also emails the entire company. My friends on the inside mentioned that he sent an email about this launch stating that it was the most valuable satellite they have launched to date.

Assuming he is talking about dollar value of a particular satellite launch - which is admittedly only one interpretation - what would this be?
X-37B came to mind, but this does not as far as I'm aware have a published number.

I guess alternatives would be if he's referring to requiring this to get further air force / ... work.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44184.msg1747406#msg1747406 - for example the still-to-be-awarded contract for the air force batch of 5 launches.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: TorenAltair on 01/04/2018 07:07 AM
The range (http://www.patrick.af.mil/) went back to "TBD" from yesterday's "Jan 5". It was TBD the day before.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Pete on 01/04/2018 08:20 AM
Considering the level of secrecy surrounding this launch,
I guess we should be happy to know *anything*.
If they could have managed it, I bet they would have done a complete access shutdown and only informed us after the fact that a launch has occurred.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/04/2018 11:18 AM
Just out of interest, how easy would it be to make a launch attempt initially look like a WDR or static fire? The only difference would be that the payload is attached to the stack. Would it be plausible to hide that?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/04/2018 11:45 AM
As far as I'm concerned, they have not yet updated that, the L-2 forecast was released yesterday so......

EDIT: well, Chris B states Friday is off and another WDR may be occurring right now....

The range (http://www.patrick.af.mil/) went back to "TBD" from yesterday's "Jan 5". It was TBD the day before.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/04/2018 11:57 AM
Just out of interest, how easy would it be to make a launch attempt initially look like a WDR or static fire? The only difference would be that the payload is attached to the stack. Would it be plausible to hide that?
No, not plausible. Too many entities involved to pull off such a stunt. Besides, the only thing that really needs to be kept secret is the payload. The orbit will be independently determined soon enough after launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 01/04/2018 02:07 PM
Just out of interest, how easy would it be to make a launch attempt initially look like a WDR or static fire? The only difference would be that the payload is attached to the stack. Would it be plausible to hide that?
No, not plausible. Too many entities involved to pull off such a stunt. Besides, the only thing that really needs to be kept secret is the payload. The orbit will be independently determined soon enough after launch.
Maybe I missed it, but I thought they where still not 100% certain they have independently found OTV-5.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: envy887 on 01/04/2018 02:45 PM
Just out of interest, how easy would it be to make a launch attempt initially look like a WDR or static fire? The only difference would be that the payload is attached to the stack. Would it be plausible to hide that?

A launch needs range support (WDR doesn't) and NOTAMs (neither WDR nor static fire do). So a launch attempt would be public.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/04/2018 03:01 PM
Just out of interest, how easy would it be to make a launch attempt initially look like a WDR or static fire? The only difference would be that the payload is attached to the stack. Would it be plausible to hide that?

A launch needs range support (WDR doesn't) and NOTAMs (neither WDR nor static fire do). So a launch attempt would be public.

Exactly.  It's kind of necessary to warn the air and maritime community of restricted zones.  And those have to be public.  Shooting a rocket off into busy air- and sea-space (Port Canaveral) is not gonna happen.  Also, we have published launch dates and media invited to cover this.  So the question is really moot.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: LouScheffer on 01/04/2018 03:19 PM
Everyone seems to assume that the Zuma mission was in the works for a while, but kept secret until 30 days before launch. Example:  SpaceX adds mystery “Zuma” mission, Iridium-4 aims for Vandenberg landing (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/10/spacex-zuma-iridium-4-aims-vandenberg-landing/)

But what if the mission did not even exist before then?  Suppose some government branch wanted the ability to launch on short notice - pick up the phone, say "I've got a payload here and I want it launched within 30 days".  I see no reason this could not be done technically - the agency would need to provide a satellite built and ready to go, analysis such as coupled loads would need to be pre-done, some sort of retainer would need to go the launch provider to reserve the ability to jump the queue, and so on.  All seem solvable by applying money, and national security implications, to the problem.

This report by the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academy of Sciences in 2010,  Review and Assessment of Reusable Booster System for USAF Space Command (https://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/depssite/documents/webpage/deps_080718.pdf) looked at cost, responsiveness, and reliability.

Two of their findings are (RBS = Reusable Booster System, bold is mine):

 (3) Reusability remains a potential option for achieving full spectrum launch capabilities at reduced cost with important launch flexibility to enable significant new capabilities

 (4) To significantly impact USAF operations, RBS must be more responsive than current systems, but no responsiveness requirement has been identified

Their very first recommendation is:  "USAF should establish specific launch responsiveness objectives to drive associated technology development".   

Launch with 30 days notice sure sounds like a responsiveness objective to me.  And if such a requirement exists, ZUMA looks like exactly what we would expect to see.  Coinicidence?  You decide...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/04/2018 04:07 PM
The Northrop Grumman mission was on the SpaceX manifest for a while, we just didn't know it was called Zuma or when it would launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/04/2018 05:51 PM
this may mean nothing, but the new L-2 forecast hasnt been released yet, and on the 45th SW weather page it says, ''no current launch forecasts''  ???
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: satwatcher on 01/04/2018 07:50 PM
Maybe I missed it, but I thought they where still not 100% certain they have independently found OTV-5.
The ~50 deg inclination of ZUMA will have much favorable visiblity to the amateur satellite trackers than the ~40 deg inclination of OTV-5.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 01/04/2018 08:14 PM
Maybe I missed it, but I thought they where still not 100% certain they have independently found OTV-5.
The ~50 deg inclination of ZUMA will have much favorable visiblity to the amateur satellite trackers than the ~40 deg inclination of OTV-5.

If the Zuma-running agency even wanted to work with the OTV, they'd need some serious plane changes. Kind of puts that idea to rest
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/04/2018 09:12 PM
Some truly bizarre rumours doing the rounds online about this payload. Not worthy of being repeated on this forum.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 01/04/2018 09:13 PM
Some truly bizarre rumours doing the rounds online about this payload. Not worthy of being repeated on this forum.

Oh my gosh, yes.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/04/2018 09:15 PM
Some truly bizarre rumours doing the rounds online about this payload. Not worthy of being repeated on this forum.

Oh my gosh, yes.

You’ve seen them then, even You Tube videos with 200K+ views.

I am putting it down partly to Space X phenomenally high public profile and partly the classified nature of the payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/04/2018 09:18 PM
Chris B on update thread says the  launch is net saturday, but may slip to sunday.......... seems like zuma doesn't want to fly.....
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: LouScheffer on 01/04/2018 11:15 PM
Speculation about this being a "responsive" launch...

The Northrop Grumman mission was on the SpaceX manifest for a while, we just didn't know it was called Zuma or when it would launch.

I don't think this is a contradiction.  For the first responsive launch, they would probably tell SpaceX to build a booster for a payload to be named later.   Then once SpaceX says the booster is ready, Grumman would say that at some future time they will give them a call, tell them about the payload, and the 30 day clock starts ticking.  This would provide a good test of whether they could integrate and launch an unknown payload in 30 days.

This would explain why SpaceX knew there was a Grumman launch, but not when or the payload name.   That would be by design.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 01/05/2018 06:45 AM
I understand that high-level winds were the cause of some of the recent Zuma delays. What about cold weather? I don’t recall seeing any info previously about whether there’s a minimum temperature needed to be able to launch?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ictogan on 01/05/2018 07:35 AM
Speculation about this being a "responsive" launch...

The Northrop Grumman mission was on the SpaceX manifest for a while, we just didn't know it was called Zuma or when it would launch.

I don't think this is a contradiction.  For the first responsive launch, they would probably tell SpaceX to build a booster for a payload to be named later.   Then once SpaceX says the booster is ready, Grumman would say that at some future time they will give them a call, tell them about the payload, and the 30 day clock starts ticking.  This would provide a good test of whether they could integrate and launch an unknown payload in 30 days.

This would explain why SpaceX knew there was a Grumman launch, but not when or the payload name.   That would be by design.
If that were the case, would there be any reason to keep it a secret? Why not say publicly that you are testing SX's ability to launch on short notice?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Pete on 01/05/2018 08:29 AM
Chris B on update thread says the  launch is net saturday, but may slip to sunday.......... seems like zuma doesn't want to fly.....

The Zuma launch really counts!
launch date is: Nov 15,erm 16, erm 17,
jan 4,erm 5, erm 6,erm 7

I understand that delays can and will happen, but this steady cadence of one-day-at-a-time-delay is quite soporific.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dnavas on 01/05/2018 01:59 PM
jan 4,erm 5, erm 6,erm 7

I understand that delays can and will happen, but this steady cadence of one-day-at-a-time-delay is quite soporific.

Same thing we do every day, Pinky -- wake up two days from a Zuma launch.
Ah well, can't do anything about the weather.  At least I'm not waking up to a day forecast to remain below 0F!

Is it back in the barn yet, or are they still running tests?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/05/2018 02:20 PM
It's still on the launch pad at the present time.

Don't know when it'll go back into the HIF for payload mating.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Comga on 01/05/2018 03:03 PM
It will be ~46 deg F tonight at 8 PM EST at the Cape.
~50 tomorrow and ~60 Sunday
SpaceX may be waiting for the weather to warm up.
Sounds odd, to be honest, but could that be a contributor?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: e of pi on 01/05/2018 03:29 PM
It will be ~46 deg F tonight at 8 PM EST at the Cape.
~50 tomorrow and ~60 Sunday
SpaceX may be waiting for the weather to warm up.
Sounds odd, to be honest, but could that be a contributor?
I don't know if it's so much the absolute temperature as the winds created by the shear masses of air moving around with the disruption that's yanking the jet stream down and creating this cold snap, and the implications for upper level winds during launch. There may be some desire to see how the new LC-40 hardware and the Falcon 9 system are effected in pad ops by the cold in a safer environment than trying to launch through it, though--it's a bit of a unique opportunity to look for any unanticipated breakpoints for the future, but I know I'd rather they wait a few days and find GSE faults in a WDR than in a failed launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: toruonu on 01/06/2018 05:04 PM
On a. Rief glance I didn’t find the launch window for tomorrow’s launch
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/06/2018 05:15 PM
On a. Rief glance I didn’t find the launch window for tomorrow’s launch

8-10pm EST (UTC-5).  The top post in the thread shows the start of the launch window.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Elthiryel on 01/06/2018 08:25 PM
The new press kit has been released (available in the updates thread). I've decided to look for differences between the old and the new press kit and this is what I've found:

1. The old one stated that "SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver the Zuma spacecraft to low-Earth orbit.". The new one says that "SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver the Zuma spacecraft to orbit". So LEO removed.
2. Falcon 9 description is a bit more detailed, and there is a statement that "Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight." and that "SpaceX believes rocket reusability is the key breakthrough needed to reduce the cost of access to space and enable people to live on other planets."
3. Several events are offset by a few seconds!

Old timeline:
Quote
00:01:10 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:16 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:19 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:21 2nd stage engine starts
00:02:30 1st stage boostback burn begins
00:03:08 Fairing deployment
00:06:09 1st stage entry burn begins
00:07:51 1st stage landing

New timeline:
Quote
00:01:16 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:20 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:24 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:25 2nd stage engine starts
00:02:33 1st stage boostback burn begins
00:03:08 Fairing deployment
00:06:15 1st stage entry burn begins
00:07:56 1st stage landing
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/06/2018 08:37 PM
Could these time differences indicate that Falcon 9 will fly a more flattened trajectory?

I ask that because the new MECO time is four seconds later than the original time (140 seconds compared to 136 seconds).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/06/2018 09:16 PM
Everyone seems to assume that the Zuma mission was in the works for a while, but kept secret until 30 days before launch. Example:  SpaceX adds mystery “Zuma” mission, Iridium-4 aims for Vandenberg landing (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/10/spacex-zuma-iridium-4-aims-vandenberg-landing/)

But what if the mission did not even exist before then?


Except that our article clearly says Zuma's launch contract was established in 2015.    ;) https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/01/spacex-falcon-9-launch-clandestine-zuma-satellite/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/06/2018 09:19 PM
Could these time differences indicate that Falcon 9 will fly a more flattened trajectory?

I ask that because the new MECO time is four seconds later than the original time (140 seconds compared to 136 seconds).

The adjusted times could be trajectory related or related to month of year of launch.  Winter months produce a thicker lower atmosphere and thus the rocket has to work harder to get through it.  Shuttle compensated for this by having "winter SRBs" that had their prop poured in a configuration to produce greater thrust but shorter burn time.  As Flacon 9 is a liquid rocket, a longer burn time for a winter month launch mission would make sense.  And given the atmospheric setup over Florida of the last week, this might be the case.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cppetrie on 01/06/2018 09:31 PM
Could these time differences indicate that Falcon 9 will fly a more flattened trajectory?

I ask that because the new MECO time is four seconds later than the original time (140 seconds compared to 136 seconds).

The adjusted times could be trajectory related or related to month of year of launch.  Winter months produce a thicker lower atmosphere and thus the rocket has to work harder to get through it.  Shuttle compensated for this by having "winter SRBs" that had their prop poured in a configuration to produce greater thrust but shorter burn time.  As Flacon 9 is a liquid rocket, a longer burn time for a winter month launch mission would make sense.  And given the atmospheric setup over Florida of the last week, this might be the case.
Very interesting factoid. Thanks for that! I’d never considered the effect of season and its associated atmospheric density changes as a factor. Certainly makes logical sense. This would be a rare instance where a payload was close enough to launching that a press kit was issued and then delayed long enough that seasonal atmospheric changes would effect the timeline seen in a revised press kit. All of that is accentuated by the unusually cold weather currently at the Cape.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Raul on 01/06/2018 10:17 PM
M1390 Zuma Launch Hazard Areas (https://goo.gl/ErbkUw) based on NOTMAR.
For comparison also former hazard area of planned 39a launch issued in November. Area A is now slightly shorter compare old one.

Stage2 debris area in Southern Indian Ocean.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: LouScheffer on 01/07/2018 12:04 AM
Everyone seems to assume that the Zuma mission was in the works for a while, but kept secret until 30 days before launch. Example:  SpaceX adds mystery “Zuma” mission, Iridium-4 aims for Vandenberg landing (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/10/spacex-zuma-iridium-4-aims-vandenberg-landing/)

But what if the mission did not even exist before then?


Except that our article clearly says Zuma's launch contract was established in 2015.    ;) https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/01/spacex-falcon-9-launch-clandestine-zuma-satellite/
Again, I don't think this is a contradiction.  Your article states (bold mine):
Quote
According to source documentation, Zuma’s launch contract – which did not specify a launch date – was established with SpaceX in 2015.
For a first pass at a responsiveness test, Agency X might grant SpaceX a contract for a booster, and a launch, but nothing else - no payload specified, no date, no orbit, maybe not even which coast.   Then, for example, on 1 November 2017, they call up and say "Here's your payload , name is ZUMA.  Here's the orbit we want.  Get it into orbit within 30 days."

This is exactly consistent with what we saw, your article, and the NAS report from 2010 recommending the Air Force set up responsiveness objectives.  It explains why we heard nothing from SpaceX before 1 November - they did not know.  And (my opinion only) this seems like very reasonable first pass at responsiveness by the government.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: crandles57 on 01/07/2018 11:29 AM

The adjusted times could be trajectory related or related to month of year of launch.  Winter months produce a thicker lower atmosphere and thus the rocket has to work harder to get through it.  Shuttle compensated for this by having "winter SRBs" that had their prop poured in a configuration to produce greater thrust but shorter burn time.  As Flacon 9 is a liquid rocket, a longer burn time for a winter month launch mission would make sense.  And given the atmospheric setup over Florida of the last week, this might be the case.

More burn time and more fuel to get though thicker atmosphere makes sense.

Can we tell anything from Max q being 6 seconds later compared to MECO being only 4 seconds later?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/07/2018 01:17 PM
Everyone seems to assume that the Zuma mission was in the works for a while, but kept secret until 30 days before launch. Example:  SpaceX adds mystery “Zuma” mission, Iridium-4 aims for Vandenberg landing (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/10/spacex-zuma-iridium-4-aims-vandenberg-landing/)

But what if the mission did not even exist before then?


Except that our article clearly says Zuma's launch contract was established in 2015.    ;) https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/01/spacex-falcon-9-launch-clandestine-zuma-satellite/
Again, I don't think this is a contradiction.  Your article states (bold mine):
Quote
According to source documentation, Zuma’s launch contract – which did not specify a launch date – was established with SpaceX in 2015.
For a first pass at a responsiveness test, Agency X might grant SpaceX a contract for a booster, and a launch, but nothing else - no payload specified, no date, no orbit, maybe not even which coast.   Then, for example, on 1 November 2017, they call up and say "Here's your payload , name is ZUMA.  Here's the orbit we want.  Get it into orbit within 30 days."

This is exactly consistent with what we saw, your article, and the NAS report from 2010 recommending the Air Force set up responsiveness objectives.  It explains why we heard nothing from SpaceX before 1 November - they did not know.  And (my opinion only) this seems like very reasonable first pass at responsiveness by the government.

Please read our articles about this.  You are saying that we assume this mission was in the works for years but unknown to everyone including SpaceX until 30 days before for launch.  It is a fact that Zuma was in the works between Northrop Grumman and SpaceX since 2015 - code name and all.  That is a fact not speculation.  It is also a fact – as we have reported – that Northrop Grumman communicated the launch date of 1–30 November 2017 to SpaceX in April 2017 and that SpaceX chose not to release that information.  It is also a fact that SpaceX didn't release the first mention of Zuma.  We did on this site by finding the FCC communication launch license.  Again, this is fact, not speculation.  Your assertion that all of this was secretive to all parties involved until 30 days before lift off is your own speculation, not fact... as SpaceX knew about this in 2015, knew the target launch date 7 months in adavamce, and filed the FCC license application more than 30 days before the launch.

You also omit the part of our articles and reporting detailing that the initial contract called for the launch booster to be B1046 and how the three flight proven missions assigned before Zuma's original launch date gives us B1043 for this mission - which points to a knowledge in the original contract that launch would occur around the time that booster B1046 would be ready.  So even there a notional NET date would have been known to SpaceX.

So, in short...
- SpaceX knew about this more than two years ago
- SpaceX knew it would be B1046 two years ago, which accounting for three assigned reflights last year before Zuma Nov launch window makes it B1043
- SpaceX knew in April 2017 that NG wanted a launch in November 2017
- SpaceX filed for a launch communications license with the FCC more than 30 days before launch target

None of this supports an assertion that no one, including SpaceX, knew of the launch date more than 30 days before launch.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 01/07/2018 02:44 PM
Is it just me or do the landing legs look different?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: douglas100 on 01/07/2018 03:33 PM
Had a quick look. They seem the same to me.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MP99 on 01/07/2018 04:56 PM
A full WDR would do the exact same things as a static fire except light the engines.

And that is in fact a MAJOR difference.

A WDR doesn't require the services of the range. In this case the WDR was a propellant loading test. IMO it is a safe guess that SpaceX only partially loaded the vehicle and didn't even bother pressurizing the tanks to flight pressure.

A Static Fire does require the range because a static fire is considered to be a potential launch, coming with all the hazards that are associated with an actual launch, such as having a fully fueled and fully pressurized vehicle.
I thought a WDR included pressurising the vehicle? Does it not?

Thanks, Martin

Sent from my GT-N5120 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: HVM on 01/07/2018 06:43 PM
Is it just me or do the landing legs look different?

Maybe its just lighting condition (it is), but those really look flatter and missing the sharp triangular (cutaway by spin axes) outer 'crest'.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/07/2018 06:51 PM
Is it just me or do the landing legs look different?

Maybe its just lighting condition, but those really look flatter and missing the sharp triangular (cutaway by spin axes) outer 'crest'.

I think the combination of angle and lighting.  Compare to this when it was on the pad at LC-39A:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1750258#msg1750258
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 01/07/2018 09:03 PM
Updated Zuma elset estimates for an assumed 395 x 400 km orbit for various launch times at http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0034.html , by Marco Langbroek.

Quote
...targeting the orbital plane of USA 276 has become viable near the end of the 1:00 - 3:30 UT launch window. The orbital plane of USA 276 passes over the launch site near 3:38 UT on January 8th.

However, the launch window is only 01:00 to 03:00 UTC, not 03:30 UTC, correct?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/07/2018 09:37 PM
However, the launch window is only 01:00 to 03:00 UTC, not 03:30 UTC, correct?

That's the right launch window: 01:00 to 03:00 UTC.

Never heard from SpaceX that the window extended another half-hour.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/07/2018 10:02 PM
Reeeeaaallyy hope I get to see this from Tampa (hoping no cloud cover)

Especially hope I get to see this- https://www.instagram.com/p/BI5wLIFj7f7/?hl=en&taken-by=spacex
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/07/2018 11:51 PM
Now that's some loud venting as heard in the launch webcast.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Tomness on 01/07/2018 11:54 PM
Miss the technical launch loop webcasts. I love the hosts just want to mute them
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: francesco nicoli on 01/08/2018 12:05 AM
no fairing separation?


edit- nevermind
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: quagmire on 01/08/2018 12:07 AM
I was certainly holding my breath waiting to hear about fairing sep.....
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Prettz on 01/08/2018 12:07 AM
Strange, they skipped all the visually interesting parts with the tracking camera.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 12:10 AM
Strange, they skipped all the visually interesting parts with the tracking camera.

It was dark, so the cameras couldn't pick up a thing during unpowered flight.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Tomness on 01/08/2018 12:11 AM
Strange, they skipped all the visually interesting parts with the tracking camera.
I don't blame them,  luckly got what what we got.. hopefully every thing goes well
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachF on 01/08/2018 12:11 AM
Looks like the landing legs were lined up pretty well with the crosshairs on the landing pad (in addition to dead center)... practice for BFR?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: inventodoc on 01/08/2018 12:13 AM
It was interesting to see the STAGE 1 velocity and altitude information from launch until landing.    I do have a question, shouldn't the velocity have gone down to 0 for the boostback then gone up again if they were changing direction???   

The velocity indicator was near 6000km/hr and only went down to 2000km/hr from the boostback.   If that is the case, how does it boost back?   (may need vectoral representation to understand)   Am I missing something?   
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 12:13 AM
Just checking the Elon Musk and SpaceX Twitter pages for spacecraft sep confirmation.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 01/08/2018 12:14 AM
It was interesting to see the STAGE 1 velocity and altitude information from launch until landing.    I do have a question, shouldn't the velocity have gone down to 0 for the boostback then gone up again if they were changing direction???   

The velocity indicator was near 6000km/hr and only went down to 2000km/hr from the boostback.   If that is the case, how does it boost back?   (may need vectoral representation to understand)   Am I missing something?   

For return to launch site the boostback kills and reverses the horizontal velocity, but the stage is still going up, for now.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Prettz on 01/08/2018 12:16 AM
Strange, they skipped all the visually interesting parts with the tracking camera.

It was dark, so the cameras couldn't pick up a thing during unpowered flight.
No, I mean the start of boostback burn after separation, and the entirety of the entry burn.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: inventodoc on 01/08/2018 12:17 AM
It was interesting to see the STAGE 1 velocity and altitude information from launch until landing.    I do have a question, shouldn't the velocity have gone down to 0 for the boostback then gone up again if they were changing direction???   

The velocity indicator was near 6000km/hr and only went down to 2000km/hr from the boostback.   If that is the case, how does it boost back?   (may need vectoral representation to understand)   Am I missing something?   

Boostback kills and reverses the horizontal velocity, but the stage is still going up, for now.

The speed is horizontal + vertical.  Wouldn't that reverse too?.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RotoSequence on 01/08/2018 12:17 AM
Just checking the Elon Musk and SpaceX Twitter pages for spacecraft sep confirmation.

I won't be surprised if they end up taking a while to confirm it. They're being extra secretive with this one, whatever it is.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: inventodoc on 01/08/2018 12:18 AM
It was interesting to see the STAGE 1 velocity and altitude information from launch until landing.    I do have a question, shouldn't the velocity have gone down to 0 for the boostback then gone up again if they were changing direction???   

The velocity indicator was near 6000km/hr and only went down to 2000km/hr from the boostback.   If that is the case, how does it boost back?   (may need vectoral representation to understand)   Am I missing something?   

Boostback kills and reverses the horizontal velocity, but the stage is still going up, for now.

The speed is horizontal + vertical.  Wouldn't that reverse too?.

I guess there is some absolute combination of horizontal and vertical vectors that would keep numbers this way.  Thanks for the replies.  Its just hard to visualize...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 01/08/2018 12:19 AM
Just checking the Elon Musk and SpaceX Twitter pages for spacecraft sep confirmation.

I won't be surprised if they end up taking a while to confirm it. They're being extra secretive with this one, whatever it is.

They usually confirm payload deploy about 20-30 minutes post-launch, at least from what I have seen so far.

EDIT: minor fix
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: leetdan on 01/08/2018 12:19 AM
I didn't bother filming, but it was a gorgeous launch from Osceola County.  I could follow S2 down to the tree line, staging/boostback was pretty, and I could even make out the 1-3-1 sequence of the entry burn.  The landing burn started at the treeline, meaning I could mozy back inside to see the landing 'live' on stream.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 12:19 AM
Just checking the Elon Musk and SpaceX Twitter pages for spacecraft sep confirmation.

I won't be surprised if they end up taking a while to confirm it. They're being extra secretive with this one, whatever it is.

What do you mean by "extra secretive"? I thought the secretiveness was just as much as NROL-76 and X-37B OTV-5.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Paul_G on 01/08/2018 12:20 AM
Strange, they skipped all the visually interesting parts with the tracking camera.

At T+2.07 just before MECO there was a call out to relinquish control of the camera - I wonder if that covered tracking cameras as well as vehicle cameras?

Paul
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 01/08/2018 12:20 AM
The speed is horizontal + vertical.  Wouldn't that reverse too?.

No as they only publish the magnitude of the scalar part of the velocity.

Edit: Take a look at this reddit : Falcon 9 Stage 1 Landing Analysis (https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7ajf09/falcon_9_stage_1_landing_analysis/)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: toruonu on 01/08/2018 12:21 AM
It was interesting to see the STAGE 1 velocity and altitude information from launch until landing.    I do have a question, shouldn't the velocity have gone down to 0 for the boostback then gone up again if they were changing direction???   

The velocity indicator was near 6000km/hr and only went down to 2000km/hr from the boostback.   If that is the case, how does it boost back?   (may need vectoral representation to understand)   Am I missing something?   

Boostback kills and reverses the horizontal velocity, but the stage is still going up, for now.

The speed is horizontal + vertical.  Wouldn't that reverse too?.

Pretty sure the number is the velocity vector magnitude, as lomg as the vehicle isn’t standing still it won’t be 0. They kill and reverse the horizontal component, but vertical is still there and boosting back some horizontal one will add to it too.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RotoSequence on 01/08/2018 12:25 AM
Just checking the Elon Musk and SpaceX Twitter pages for spacecraft sep confirmation.

I won't be surprised if they end up taking a while to confirm it. They're being extra secretive with this one, whatever it is.

What do you mean by "extra secretive"? I thought the secretiveness was just as much as NROL-76 and X-37B OTV-5.

We still don't know who ZUMA was built for, and previous launches had a few more tracking shots of the vehicle up to staging.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: JimO on 01/08/2018 12:26 AM
Is stage-2 deorbit burn over a land mass with dark-sky potential observers?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanThePineapple on 01/08/2018 12:28 AM
Is stage-2 deorbit burn over a land mass with dark-sky potential observers?

It's possible to see it, it will occur near the Middle East or Africa. There was a video of a deorbit burn from a few months/years back, can't remember which or when...  :-\
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 01/08/2018 12:29 AM
It was interesting to see the STAGE 1 velocity and altitude information from launch until landing.    I do have a question, shouldn't the velocity have gone down to 0 for the boostback then gone up again if they were changing direction???   

The velocity indicator was near 6000km/hr and only went down to 2000km/hr from the boostback.   If that is the case, how does it boost back?   (may need vectoral representation to understand)   Am I missing something?

Rewatch it and pay attention to the altitude prior to and post boostback burn.  What you'll see is that the stage is still rising and hasn't yet hit its apogee when the boostback happens.  This means that at the time of the boostback, if we were to split the stage's total velocity into its component parts, it has a significant, positive vertical velocity vector (i.e. upward speed) in addition to its downrange (positive) horizontal velocity.  The boostback burn is just in the horizontal plane (or almost entirely in the horizontal plane, there may, in fact, be some very modest amount of pitch).  So, while the horizontal velocity will hit zero in the process of having its direction reversed to allow RTLS, the vertical velocity portion of total velocity is relatively unaffected by the boostback and only decreasing due to gravity.  So, during the boostback, in the instant where the horizontal velocity is fully zeroed out the total velocity becomes just the vertical velocity.  Since the stage is still rising at that point, it remains non-zero.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 12:29 AM
Is stage-2 deorbit burn over a land mass with dark-sky potential observers?

No. Stage 2 deorbit will happen over the southern Indian Ocean.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/08/2018 12:29 AM
man, that was great! I am in Tampa and saw the launch, boostback, and entry burns. Didnt get to see the landing, but was by far the best launch in person I have seen! (havnt been to canaveral yet for one but probably will for FH if possible)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 01/08/2018 12:33 AM
Is stage-2 deorbit burn over a land mass with dark-sky potential observers?

No. Stage 2 deorbit will happen over the southern Indian Ocean.

He's asking about the burn itself, not where any surviving stage debris will land.  The burn happens well before the reentry and debris field.  And may potentially occur over a land mass.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/08/2018 12:33 AM
Is stage-2 deorbit burn over a land mass with dark-sky potential observers?

It's possible to see it, it will occur near the Middle East or Africa. There was a video of a deorbit burn from a few months/years back, can't remember which or when...  :-\
Which would be roughly within Coordinates of a rectangle of 30-60S and 60-120E traveling approximately parallel with the coastline.

Exact NOTAM debris area:
30-27S 064-51E, 30-44S 067-03E,
38-10S 082-43E, 47-22S 108-39E,
50-30S 124-39E, 51-55S 126-03E,
53-32S 125-05E, 54-24S 116-01E,
53-34S 101-27E, 47-46S 082-05E,
39-58S 069-31E, 31-56S 063-23E.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/08/2018 12:38 AM
It was interesting to see the STAGE 1 velocity and altitude information from launch until landing.    I do have a question, shouldn't the velocity have gone down to 0 for the boostback then gone up again if they were changing direction???   

The velocity indicator was near 6000km/hr and only went down to 2000km/hr from the boostback.   If that is the case, how does it boost back?   (may need vectoral representation to understand)   Am I missing something?   

Boostback kills and reverses the horizontal velocity, but the stage is still going up, for now.

The speed is horizontal + vertical.  Wouldn't that reverse too?.

boostback mostly changes the horizontal velocity, if you watch the numbers the altitude keeps increasing for a while and the velocity keeps slowing until it reaches apogee, and then it starts coming back down and increasing velocity again (all of this happening after the boostback burn).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Perchlorate on 01/08/2018 12:48 AM
Reminder we're holding this as update only until SpaceX confirms a good mission. Moved a few posts to Discussion. Leaving Bovane's in here as Steven, Zach, Chris G and the gang deserve the praise.

Confirmation will come via SpaceX or Elon, likely on Twitter.

Yeah, Chris, you cut him some slack...but then got a little tweak in by calling him a cow.

(Bovane vs. Brovane)   :D

Yours truly, and with an itchy trigger finger hovering over the Post button in "Updates."

--Pete
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mdeep on 01/08/2018 01:02 AM
Patch distribution to the media signals mission success  :P
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 01:03 AM
Patch distribution to the media signals mission success  :P

That's new to me. I thought it was a press release or something like that.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: mdeep on 01/08/2018 01:06 AM
Patch distribution to the media signals mission success  :P

That's new to me. I thought it was a press release or something like that.

Tradition here. SpaceX doesn't hand them out until the mission is confirmed to be a success. It's not an "official" statement though which is why I'm not posting it in the update thread.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 01/08/2018 01:07 AM
Patch distribution to the media signals mission success  :P

That's new to me. I thought it was a press release or something like that.

If the mission fails, they won't give out the patches.  That's why it's so hard to find CRS-7 patches, for example.  It's not an official determination of mission success, but it's decent as an unofficial one.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 01:07 AM
mdeep, if they do release the ZUMA patch, would you mind getting a pic of it?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yg1968 on 01/08/2018 01:13 AM
mdeep, if they do release the ZUMA patch, would you mind getting a pic of it?

See, here:
https://twitter.com/ChrisG_NSF/status/950186092992622593
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Perchlorate on 01/08/2018 01:25 AM
Congrats to SpaceX, all the other companies and agencies involved, and of course to our dauntless NSF team

I love this stuff; I delight in its increasing routine-ness.

[ This is what I would have posted in Updates, but who knows when confirmation might come. Gotta get back to life. ]
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CJ on 01/08/2018 01:36 AM
Okay, the confirmation of success is pretty late. So, two questions; on a secret payload launch (such as X-37) did they give a confirmation then? What I'm wondering is will we ever get one?

Second question; delayed confirmations like this are normal on GEO launches due to the need for a second burn of S2. So, possible second burn here? Not for GEO, but for a slight plane change or insertion to a higher orbit of some sort?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Celestar on 01/08/2018 01:37 AM
Okay, the confirmation of success is pretty late. So, two questions; on a secret payload launch (such as X-37) did they give a confirmation then? What I'm wondering is will we ever get one?

Second question; delayed confirmations like this are normal on GEO launches due to the need for a second burn of S2. So, possible second burn here? Not for GEO, but for a slight plane change or insertion to a higher orbit of some sort?

Aren't we way past the maximum (known) loiter time of S2 (~30 minutes)?

Celestar
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 01/08/2018 01:40 AM
Okay, the confirmation of success is pretty late. So, two questions; on a secret payload launch (such as X-37) did they give a confirmation then? What I'm wondering is will we ever get one?

Second question; delayed confirmations like this are normal on GEO launches due to the need for a second burn of S2. So, possible second burn here? Not for GEO, but for a slight plane change or insertion to a higher orbit of some sort?
Or it was all done by the time the booster landed (which is usually when SECO is), but by policy, no announcement of success would be given before n minutes after separation.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/08/2018 01:56 AM
Okay, the confirmation of success is pretty late. So, two questions; on a secret payload launch (such as X-37) did they give a confirmation then? What I'm wondering is will we ever get one?

Second question; delayed confirmations like this are normal on GEO launches due to the need for a second burn of S2. So, possible second burn here? Not for GEO, but for a slight plane change or insertion to a higher orbit of some sort?

Aren't we way past the maximum (known) loiter time of S2 (~30 minutes)?

Celestar

Iridium launches are over an hour in total duration (about 50 minutes between S2 engine burns on last mission), and SpaceX has done extended duration S2 testing on previous missions.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 01/08/2018 01:57 AM
Okay, the confirmation of success is pretty late. So, two questions; on a secret payload launch (such as X-37) did they give a confirmation then? What I'm wondering is will we ever get one?

Second question; delayed confirmations like this are normal on GEO launches due to the need for a second burn of S2. So, possible second burn here? Not for GEO, but for a slight plane change or insertion to a higher orbit of some sort?

Aren't we way past the maximum (known) loiter time of S2 (~30 minutes)?

Celestar

F9 S2 performed a long-coast and successful relight during NROL-76. We're not sure how long "long" is, but apparently more than it was previously (about 30 minutes).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/08/2018 02:06 AM
Yep, this could also be heading to a GPS or Molnyia- like orbit. (Even if it most likely is a LEO delivery)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 02:07 AM
T+2 hours and waiting.

 - Ed Kyle

Could be another two hours. Maybe more than that.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 01/08/2018 02:11 AM
T+2 hours and waiting.

 - Ed Kyle

Press got the patches. I'd say we're good.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Wolfram66 on 01/08/2018 02:16 AM
Yep, this could also be heading to a GPS or Molnyia- like orbit. (Even if it most likely is a LEO delivery)

http://spaceflight101.com/falcon-9-launches-secret-zuma-spacecraft/ (http://spaceflight101.com/falcon-9-launches-secret-zuma-spacecraft/) Spaceflight101.com has a nice article regarding multiple re-lights on LEO missions like Zuma and NROL-76 with high inclination non-synchronous orbits.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 02:20 AM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 01/08/2018 02:25 AM
Is stage-2 deorbit burn over a land mass with dark-sky potential observers?

Marco Langbroek's original ZUMA search elset estimates (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0008.html) post on Seesat-l of January 2, regarding the January 5 launch window, wrote:
Quote
If the launch is at the start of the launch window, there are almost no sighting opportunities on the first revolution.

If the launch is at the end of the launch window, there could be sighting opportunities from the Balkans and Near East 30 minutes after launch.

Europe in general will get sighting opportunities only half a month after launch, if these estimated elsets are anywhere near reality.

So, given the launch at the opening of the launch window, only a few days later, maybe a 2nd stage de-orbit burn could have been visible from the Balkans and Near East (visible in darkness by its own engine burn, not by reflected sunlight)?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 01/08/2018 02:36 AM
Also, and please correct me if I'm wrong, one of the constraints on the orbital destination of Zuma is the NOTAM/NOTMAR de-orbit location.  EDIT: Doesn't this indicate a de-orbit on the 1st orbit?  With re-entry following launch by about 2 to 3.5 hours, it's more likely on the 2nd orbit?

Does this also imply, given constraints on the 2nd stage performance, that Zuma would have been delivered to a roughly 50 deg. LEO orbit, not a Molniya, circular semisynchronous, or other HEO orbit?

EDIT: Or is there a "window of opportunity" in the performance/timings to achieve s/c delivery to a non-LEO orbit?

How many burns is the 2nd stage capable of?

Hmm.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RocketLover0119 on 01/08/2018 02:37 AM
not to worry anybody, but ppl. on reddit are reporting that straight over the projected launch area around T plus 25- 30 min. an object was seen plunging into the attmosphere.... ???  :-[  :-\

EDIT: conversation- https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7oqjf0/rspacex_zuma_official_launch_discussion_updates/dscjjhz/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/08/2018 02:42 AM
not to worry anybody, but ppl. on reddit are reporting that straight over the projected launch area around T plus 25- 30 min. an object was seen plunging into the attmosphere.... ???  :-[  :-\

EDIT: conversation- https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7oqjf0/rspacex_zuma_official_launch_discussion_updates/dscjjhz/

Use common sense - like the people responding to that comment - if it was visible at the launch site 25-30 mins after launch, it has nothing to do with this launch. Stage 2/Zuma would faaaar our of view, over Europe/Asia.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dorkmo on 01/08/2018 02:55 AM
could the second stage "hover" instead of entering orbit?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/08/2018 02:59 AM
could the second stage "hover" instead of entering orbit?

No
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 01/08/2018 03:00 AM
could the second stage "hover" instead of entering orbit?

Tentative yes.

It's got a high T/W ratio for a second stage. So in theory it could do a lofting 'boostback'. 2000+ km apogee would bring it down around T+25min, close as you like to the coast.

Maybe a launch was the ultimate cover for a readiness review mission  8).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dorkmo on 01/08/2018 03:06 AM
(is this right thread for wild speculation?)

could it be possible to deploy one of these?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_platform_station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP_Aerospace#Dark_Sky_Station
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/08/2018 03:12 AM
(is this right thread for wild speculation?)

could it be possible to deploy one of these?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_platform_station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP_Aerospace#Dark_Sky_Station

No and No. Why would those be launched by a rocket? Those would be deployed by high altitude balloons.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: guckyfan on 01/08/2018 04:14 AM
Still no confirmation. We can take the next launch as confirmation. If the second stage failed there would be a stand down of significant length.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: speedevil on 01/08/2018 04:16 AM
Looking at the excellent
(https://i.redd.it/8jkukgakvq801.jpg)

What I think I see, can anyone add stuff?
Beginning on the left.
Stage 1 ignition through MECO, with the plume shading blue at the end.
A gap in the trail, followed by second stage ignition beginning blue and shading orange until it dissapears at the edge of the exposure taken.
A gap in this second stage trail due to the fairing occluding the second stage engine.

Above this is the booster thrusting with the engines away from the viewer on its boostback burn, which curves upwards, with an interruption where the engines are directly away from the viewer.
To the right of this, puffs of gas from the cold gas thrusters.
Up at the top, the booster reentry burn, to kill most of the entry velocity, beginning with one engine, brightening to three, and then back to one before going out.
And then finally in the centre the landing burn.

Is there anything I've missed or gotten wrong?
Are the 'shock features' on the landing burn just coincidental clouds?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 01/08/2018 04:36 AM


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PWu3BRxn60

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: flyright on 01/08/2018 04:37 AM
Looking at the excellent


What I think I see, can anyone add stuff?
Beginning on the left.
Stage 1 ignition through MECO, with the plume shading blue at the end.
A gap in the trail, followed by second stage ignition beginning blue and shading orange until it dissapears at the edge of the exposure taken.
A gap in this second stage trail due to the fairing occluding the second stage engine.

Above this is the booster thrusting with the engines away from the viewer on its boostback burn, which curves upwards, with an interruption where the engines are directly away from the viewer.
To the right of this, puffs of gas from the cold gas thrusters.
Up at the top, the booster reentry burn, to kill most of the entry velocity, beginning with one engine, brightening to three, and then back to one before going out.
And then finally in the centre the landing burn.

Is there anything I've missed or gotten wrong?
Are the 'shock features' on the landing burn just coincidental clouds?

This summary looks right to me except I suspect the gap in the second stage trail is more likely an image artifact. It looks like there are similar gaps in the star trails.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 01/08/2018 04:46 AM
This summary looks right to me except I suspect the gap in the second stage trail is more likely an image artifact. It looks like there are similar gaps in the star trails.

The gap could be due to changing the lens aperture.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: leetdan on 01/08/2018 04:50 AM
The gap could be due to changing the lens aperture.

Especially considering the corresponding gap in the stage 1 trail following boostback.

Edit:  Look at the stars, you can clearly see motion during each of the 3 composite exposures.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Comga on 01/08/2018 04:52 AM
The gap could be due to changing the lens aperture.

Especially considering the corresponding gap in the stage 1 trail following boostback.

Wasn't it said that this is the combination of three exposures?
Perhaps there was a gap in time between the end of one and the start of another.

edit: yes
Quote
A stunning launch photo by John Kraus (combination of 3 exposures)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: flyright on 01/08/2018 04:59 AM
The gap could be due to changing the lens aperture.

Especially considering the corresponding gap in the stage 1 trail following boostback.

Wasn't it said that this is the combination of three exposures?
Perhaps there was a gap in time between the end of one and the start of another.

edit: yes
Quote
A stunning launch photo by John Kraus (combination of 3 exposures)

The photographer, John Kraus, posted the exposure times in the Reddit thread:
Spacing was roughly as follows. 00:00 is liftoff.

Exposure 1: 00:00 -> 3:13
Exposure 2: ~3:15 -> ~5:15
Exposure 3: ~6:00 -> ~8:00

This is an amazing picture!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 01/08/2018 05:11 AM
My question is this.  Why does the second stage burn reappear?  Otherwise, was it short?  I would expect it to burn over the horizon.

 - Ed Kyle
 
Not sure I understand your question.  What do you mean reappear?  Can you annotate a copy of the picture so that we are sure to be on the same page?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 01/08/2018 05:31 AM
Ah.  You meant why doesn't the second stage reappear.  That makes much more sense as a question.  Maybe it was out of frame by then, or hidden by those clouds?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RotoSequence on 01/08/2018 05:41 AM
USLaunchReport claims to have gotten a shot of Stage 2 all the way up to SECO. The only problem is that they say SECO was when they lost visual T+7:15, which is far short for a RTLS mission (CRS-13, T+9:00).

Early S2 cutoff with re-ignition over the horizon for a late inclination change to the final orbit?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/08/2018 05:57 AM
My question is this.  Why does the second stage burn reappear?  Otherwise, was it short?  I would expect it to burn over the horizon.

 - Ed Kyle
 
Not sure I understand your question.  What do you mean reappear?  Can you annotate a copy of the picture so that we are sure to be on the same page?
The second stage burn ends, presumably when the photographer changed exposures or ended an exposure.  The photographer then restarted the exposure to capture the landing, but the second stage does not reappear.  It should still have been burning.

 - Ed Kyle

But it *does* reappear. Look closer - when the 2nd stage trail changes color (blueish to reddish), that's the gap in exposures, that's where 3rd exposure begins. (I think)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: marshal on 01/08/2018 06:05 AM
(is this right thread for wild speculation?)

could it be possible to deploy one of these?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_platform_station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP_Aerospace#Dark_Sky_Station

No and No. Why would those be launched by a rocket? Those would be deployed by high altitude balloons.

Northrop Grumman acquired TRW , so Zuma is Space Based Laser (SBL) weapon ?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: deruch on 01/08/2018 06:28 AM
The second stage burn ends, presumably when the photographer changed exposures or ended an exposure.  The photographer then restarted the exposure to capture the landing, but the second stage does not reappear.  It should still have been burning.

 - Ed Kyle

But it *does* reappear. Look closer - when the 2nd stage trail changes color (blueish to reddish), that's the gap in exposures, that's where 3rd exposure begins. (I think)
No.  I'm attaching my quickly annotated version of Ed's question (MS paint).  Note that @flyright quotes the photographer as saying that the exposures were: 

Exposure 1: 00:00 -> 3:13     [this ends post MECO/Stage Sep. and after the start of boostback burn]
Exposure 2: ~3:15 -> ~5:15   [this ends after boostback is over, but before reentry+landing begin, and during 2nd stage burn]
Exposure 3: ~6:00 -> ~8:00   [catches reentry+landing of 1st stage, 2nd stage should still be burning]
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 06:35 AM
USLaunchReport claims to have gotten a shot of Stage 2 all the way up to SECO. The only problem is that they say SECO was when they lost visual T+7:15, which is far short for a RTLS mission (CRS-13, T+9:00).

Agreed.  The shortest ascents to first stage cutoff I can find were something like 8 min 20-ish sec, for some GTO missions.

Data like this makes me think that, firstly, the payload was relatively light and also there was going to be a long second stage 2 burn.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: leetdan on 01/08/2018 06:40 AM
I'm attaching my quickly annotated version of Ed's question (MS paint).

It's behind the clouds.  In the 2 minutes of the 2nd exposure, the 2nd stage covers about 1/3rd of the frame, accelerating all the while.  In the 45 seconds that passes before the 3rd exposure begins, it could have easily moved behind the lower rank of clouds.

The USLaunchReport video tracks it more than 7 minutes, which is easily explained by the different filming locations.  They look to be on 401, while the Kraus composite is from the beach farther south.

Nothing to see here. (pun intended?)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 07:39 AM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.

By the way seen some comment online and I did hear shouting myself before launch but it sounded like someone was ‘heckling’ the launch countdown at a couple of points
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/08/2018 07:45 AM
I'm attaching my quickly annotated version of Ed's question (MS paint).

It's behind the clouds.  In the 2 minutes of the 2nd exposure, the 2nd stage covers about 1/3rd of the frame, accelerating all the while.  In the 45 seconds that passes before the 3rd exposure begins, it could have easily moved behind the lower rank of clouds.

The USLaunchReport video tracks it more than 7 minutes, which is easily explained by the different filming locations.  They look to be on 401, while the Kraus composite is from the beach farther south.

Nothing to see here. (pun intended?)

Correct. Also note that the star streaks - in the outlined box where the second stage burn is supposed to be - disappear well above the clouds and also don't show underneath the cloud base. So, chances of the second stage showing up thru the clouds and underneath the cloud base is zero. By that time the stage is so far away that the glow of the MVac has become so weak that it no longer penetrates the muck underneath the clouds (atmospheric dust and moisture) in sufficient strength to register on the camera's sensor.
This was after all a multiple-minute timed exposure with a relatively low sensitivity setting.

Additionally, John Kraus apparently altered the sensitivity settings between the three exposures.
Just take a good look at the star streaks in (and near) the outlined box. You will notice that each streak is actually three parts, given the three exposures. Sequence is bottom-to-top.

The bottom part of each streak is relatively dim, with the middle part being much brighter. The top part is dimmest of all. So dim in fact that on some streaks you can't actually see the top part.

The dim lower part of each star streak is the first exposure. John probably set his camera sensitivity quite low to prevent over-exposure of the launch streak.
The brighter middle-part of each star streak is the second exposure. Given that the rocket is now up quite high and rapidly moving away John probably increased the sensitivity setting to still get a good image(-part) for the second stage burn.
The dimmest top part of each star streak is the third exposure. That exposure was aimed at capturing the reentry- and landing burns. Given that the latter happens quite close to the camera I would guess that John set his sensitivity setting low again to prevent over-exposure. But, that has the added effect of almost blotting out sensitivity for stars and other low-strength light sources (such as the third stage). Combine that with high-level haze and clouds right over the third stage's extended track and you have a perfectly good explanation why the third stage doesn't show up in the third exposure.

It is a leetdan phrased it: nothing to see here folks. No need for early-cutoff theories and other stuff that doesn't fit orbital mechanics.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 10:12 AM
USLaunchReport claims to have gotten a shot of Stage 2 all the way up to SECO. The only problem is that they say SECO was when they lost visual T+7:15, which is far short for a RTLS mission (CRS-13, T+9:00).

Agreed.  The shortest ascents to first stage cutoff I can find were something like 8 min 20-ish sec, for some GTO missions.

Data like this makes me think that, firstly, the payload was relatively light and also there was going to be a long second stage 2 burn.

Let me expand on this: I'm wondering if SECO1 did not occur when the upper stage's perigee was high enough to give even a briefly circular orbit but was, rather, to give an initial apogee where the upper stage would fire again to further raise the far end of the orbit to the final operating apogee. To re-phrase, the initial apogee is close to the operating perigee and the operating apogee is very high indeed - A Molnyia-like eccentric and inclined orbit. Perhaps to give long-duration coverage over the Arctic?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: satwatcher on 01/08/2018 10:33 AM
To re-phrase, the initial apogee is close to the operating perigee and the operating apogee is very high indeed - A Molnyia-like eccentric and inclined orbit. Perhaps to give long-duration coverage over the Arctic?
This scenario is not really compatible with the location and time of the S2 de-orbit area. Those, like NROL-76, suggest a low Earth orbit type mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: malu5531 on 01/08/2018 10:56 AM
USLaunchReport claims to have gotten a shot of Stage 2 all the way up to SECO. The only problem is that they say SECO was when they lost visual T+7:15, which is far short for a RTLS mission (CRS-13, T+9:00).

Agreed.  The shortest ascents to first stage cutoff I can find were something like 8 min 20-ish sec, for some GTO missions.

Data like this makes me think that, firstly, the payload was relatively light and also there was going to be a long second stage 2 burn.

Let me expand on this: I'm wondering if SECO1 did not occur when the upper stage's perigee was high enough to give even a briefly circular orbit but was, rather, to give an initial apogee where the upper stage would fire again to further raise the far end of the orbit to the final operating apogee. To re-phrase, the initial apogee is close to the operating perigee and the operating apogee is very high indeed - A Molnyia-like eccentric and inclined orbit. Perhaps to give long-duration coverage over the Arctic?

How about a tundra orbit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tundra_orbit)?

Perhaps we'll see two more late scheduled Northrop Grumman missions in the coming months (and MDA could be the government agency)?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RotoSequence on 01/08/2018 11:52 AM
Maybe it's a launch for an unacknowledged foreign government, through and with the cooperation of the US Government? It would explain why none of the agencies are taking ownership of it (assuming they're not lying, of course).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: wannamoonbase on 01/08/2018 12:36 PM
Congratulations to SpaceX, NG and the USAF for a successful launch. 

It was very pretty to watch and I love the RTLS landings.  It looks like they are really getting the accuracy down on these landings, this one looked spot on!

Now onto the next one and a FH static burn.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ZachS09 on 01/08/2018 12:55 PM
Good luck to the satellite trackers out and about; hopefully, they might determine the orbit type ZUMA is located in.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dnavas on 01/08/2018 12:56 PM
No.  I'm attaching my quickly annotated version of Ed's question (MS paint).  Note that @flyright quotes the photographer as saying that the exposures were: 
Exposure 3: ~6:00 -> ~8:00   [catches reentry+landing of 1st stage, 2nd stage should still be burning]

For anyone still wondering, see Marek's photo in Updates:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768668#msg1768668

You can see the 2nd stage burn nearly all the way to the thicker cloud layer nearer the horizon.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: TorenAltair on 01/08/2018 01:19 PM
What's that sat image in their webcast before you click play? Just a fantasy design or a known one?

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ilikeboosterrockets on 01/08/2018 01:30 PM
It's from the Northrop Grumman promo video. I think it's Aqua.

https://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/system/content_pages/main_images/12_aqua-lrg.en.png
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/08/2018 01:41 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.

A lot of things about Zuma are unprecedented, so it seems a bit premature to jump to conclusions based on comparisons with any other missions.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MarekCyzio on 01/08/2018 01:42 PM
No.  I'm attaching my quickly annotated version of Ed's question (MS paint).  Note that @flyright quotes the photographer as saying that the exposures were: 
Exposure 3: ~6:00 -> ~8:00   [catches reentry+landing of 1st stage, 2nd stage should still be burning]

For anyone still wondering, see Marek's photo in Updates:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768668#msg1768668

You can see the 2nd stage burn nearly all the way to the thicker cloud layer nearer the horizon.

Just to add context - exposure time is 517 seconds, but it started a few seconds after liftoff.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 01:46 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.  That said, perhaps everyone needs to sit through a Monday morning meeting before approving their press releases.

 - Ed Kyle

I could think of certain types of mission that would not be owned by a government.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/08/2018 01:47 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.  That said, perhaps everyone needs to sit through a Monday morning meeting before approving their press releases.

 - Ed Kyle
This is probably the most Ed comment ever.

My theory is that this mission is all hush hush because the USAF needs to know that SpaceX can keep a secret, in spite of internal leaks about ITS/BFR, etc. if SpaceX can keep an absolute secret, then they can handle a mission where the secrecy is truly important.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 01:48 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.  That said, perhaps everyone needs to sit through a Monday morning meeting before approving their press releases.

 - Ed Kyle
This is probably the most Ed comment ever.

My theory is that this mission is all hush hush because the USAF needs to know that SpaceX can keep a secret, in spite of internal leaks about ITS/BFR, etc. if SpaceX can keep an absolute secret, then they can handle a mission where the secrecy is truly important.

Surely the earlier mission for the NRO would have shown this.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: LastWyzard on 01/08/2018 02:23 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.  That said, perhaps everyone needs to sit through a Monday morning meeting before approving their press releases.

 - Ed Kyle

I could think of certain types of mission that would not be owned by a government.

There is precedence for this sort of thing.  It is not uncommon for the company that builds a "black" test aircraft to retain ownership.  That gives the US government plausible deniability when asked if the government has such a thing.  (More for me soon as I'm near retirement and can spend more time responding).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Skyrocket on 01/08/2018 02:35 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.  That said, perhaps everyone needs to sit through a Monday morning meeting before approving their press releases.

 - Ed Kyle

I could think of certain types of mission that would not be owned by a government.

"Not owned by government" might simply mean a "delivery in orbit" contract, where ownership of the payload gets transferred after successfully reaching orbit. So the satellite is in fact not owned by a government entity at launch, but still by the manufacturer.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: marshal on 01/08/2018 02:44 PM
I think Zuma is a space weapon which can shoot down Missiles in space . A Space Based Laser (SBL) weapon ? Northrop Grumman acquired TRW in 2002 . I remember TRW and Boeing in SBL program .
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 02:50 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.  That said, perhaps everyone needs to sit through a Monday morning meeting before approving their press releases.

 - Ed Kyle

I could think of certain types of mission that would not be owned by a government.

"Not owned by government" might simply mean a "delivery in orbit" contract, where ownership of the payload gets transferred after successfully reaching orbit. So the satellite is in fact not owned by a government entity at launch, but still by the manufacturer.

I think it might be a payload where its ownership is unacknowledged for political and diplomatic reasons.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: LastWyzard on 01/08/2018 02:57 PM
I think Zuma is a space weapon which can shoot down Missiles in space . A Space Based Laser (SBL) weapon ? Northrop Grumman acquired TRW in 2002 . I remember TRW and Boeing in SBL program .
Doubtful.  The energy for a laser powerful enough for that would require a very large spacecraft.  The problem is how to provide the energy.  Chemical is the usual choice and it is complex and heavy.  I suppose it isn't completely out of the question.  The very first Russian Energia heavy booster had a space based laser weapon (Polyus) but it failed as it never achieved orbit.

-Ron
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jpo234 on 01/08/2018 02:58 PM
I'd still hold off on my congrats until an official press release is announced.

According to certain posters on Reddit there likely will not be one, if no other reason that no agency officially owns this payload.
That would be unprecedented, at least for the past two or three decades.  In my view, no news is bad news.  That said, perhaps everyone needs to sit through a Monday morning meeting before approving their press releases.

 - Ed Kyle

AFAIR there never was an official confirmation that the OTV-5 mission was a success. There were just some congratulations from AF top brass...

Edit: We got a Boeing tweet for X-37B...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 03:02 PM
I think you shouldn’t think of weapons as being used against the Earth but rather again other satellites. Notice the quote here from Frank Rose.

This is about the same time I believe someone said Zuma appeared on the manifest as a NG payload.

Quote
In response to these possible threats, the Obama administration has budgeted at least $5 billion to be spent over the next five years to enhance both the defensive and offensive capabilities of the U.S. military space program. The U.S. is also attempting to tackle the problem through diplomacy, although with minimal success; in late July at the United Nations, long-awaited discussions stalled on a European Union-drafted code of conduct for spacefaring nations due to opposition from Russia, China and several other countries including Brazil, India, South Africa and Iran. The failure has placed diplomatic solutions for the growing threat in limbo, likely leading to years of further debate within the UN’s General Assembly.
“The bottom line is the United States does not want conflict in outer space,” says Frank Rose, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, who has led American diplomatic efforts to prevent a space arms race. The U.S., he says, is willing to work with Russia and China to keep space secure. “But let me make it very clear: we will defend our space assets if attacked.”

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/war-in-space-may-be-closer-than-ever/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Alter Sachse on 01/08/2018 03:02 PM
I think Zuma is a space weapon which can shoot down Missiles in space . A Space Based Laser (SBL) weapon ? Northrop Grumman acquired TRW in 2002 . I remember TRW and Boeing in SBL program .
Doubtful.  The energy for a laser powerful enough for that would require a very large spacecraft.  The problem is how to provide the energy.  Chemical is the usual choice and it is complex and heavy.  I suppose it isn't completely out of the question.  The very first Russian Energia heavy booster had a space based laser weapon (Polyus) but it failed as it never achieved orbit.

-Ron
Polyus weighed ~77000 kg !
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/08/2018 03:18 PM
Just stop with the space weapons stuff.  EVERY defense prime has some connection to a military laser program.  There's nothing special about Northrup Grumman making some acquisition years ago that would increase the odds of this being a weapon payload.

edit: apparently laser weapons aren't banned by treaty, I need to brush up on my space legal knowledge some day (or just keep letting people correct me, which is far easier)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 01/08/2018 03:28 PM
The rollout of FH for the static fire test is enough confirmation for me that the Zuma mission was a success. Business as usual. The steamroller continues.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CyndyC on 01/08/2018 04:27 PM
Maybe it's a launch for an unacknowledged foreign government, through and with the cooperation of the US Government? It would explain why none of the agencies are taking ownership of it (assuming they're not lying, of course).

Possibly a US spy sat that protects another country directly and the US only indirectly, but otherwise why not just report the mission as a secret Israeli, South Korean, or Ukranian govt mission, or whatever, just as in the past it has not been covered up when the mission was a secret US govt mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 01/08/2018 04:31 PM
The rollout of FH for the static fire test is enough confirmation for me that the Zuma mission was a success. Business as usual. The steamroller continues.
The only pause I have on this is if there was a failure in a capability that Zuma needed from the upper stage that usually isn't needed. If there was a restart failure after a very long coast (much longer than normal missions require), we might not ever hear about it as that might give away part of the mission. Other missions not needing such long coast phases could proceed as normal, and the investigation/remediation could happen completely out of the public eye.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: e of pi on 01/08/2018 04:41 PM
Now catalogued as USA 280, 2018-001A, 43098.  Naturally no orbital data given.
Do you have a source on that? It'd be good to get an outside confirmation of success since it seems that might be all we get.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: wannamoonbase on 01/08/2018 04:45 PM
Quote
My favorite remote camera image I took from last nights Zuma launch. My camera was setup at the launch pad and fitted with a Miops Smart Trigger. #spacex #Falcon9 #rocketlaunch #spacexlaunch @elonmusk @SpaceX @Teslarati @MiopsTrigger

https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272 (https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272)

Now imagine this x3 ...

Great photo, that's awesome work!  Bring on the FH.

Edit: Great detail of the lower end, is that a bolted octoweb?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 05:21 PM
The de-orbit burn of the upper stage was observed.

Quote
Hi all,

Just got a report with pictures from a Dutch aircraft pilot of what I think is
the de-orbit burn/depressurization of the Falcon 9 upper stage from the Zuma
launch last night.

The images definitely show something rocket-related. Time reportedly was near
2:18 UT (January 8), location flying above Khartoum in Sudan. Object moved in
(roughly) southerly direction. This was about 40-45 minutes before opening of
the upper stage re-entry window.

More details to follow later.

- Marco

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0063.html
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: basedoesgames on 01/08/2018 05:25 PM
I feel like this is a good place to post my launch picture. (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DS-2r6hXcAAsXqI.jpg:large)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Formica on 01/08/2018 05:41 PM

Great photo, that's awesome work!  Bring on the FH.

Edit: Great detail of the lower end, is that a bolted octoweb?

Yeah, that might be the best image from the Zuma launch so far. Very impressive  :)

As for what we're seeing, my guess would be that the bolted on panels are the new-ish non ablative (Inconel?) heat shields.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 01/08/2018 05:55 PM
The de-orbit burn of the upper stage was observed.

Quote
Hi all,

Just got a report with pictures from a Dutch aircraft pilot of what I think is
the de-orbit burn/depressurization of the Falcon 9 upper stage from the Zuma
launch last night.

The images definitely show something rocket-related. Time reportedly was near
2:18 UT (January 8), location flying above Khartoum in Sudan. Object moved in
(roughly) southerly direction. This was about 40-45 minutes before opening of
the upper stage re-entry window.

More details to follow later.

- Marco

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0063.html
Observed 40-45 minutes before the opening of the upper stage re-entry window. Is that a normal delay between a de-orbit burn and expected re-entry?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/08/2018 06:20 PM

Great photo, that's awesome work!  Bring on the FH.

Edit: Great detail of the lower end, is that a bolted octoweb?

Yeah, that might be the best image from the Zuma launch so far. Very impressive  :)

As for what we're seeing, my guess would be that the bolted on panels are the new-ish non ablative (Inconel?) heat shields.

It doesn't look much different that previous flights. As far as the bolted vs welded(?) octaweb, that's all internal and the difference would be not visible from the exterior.

As far as new non ablative heat shield, is that being implemented? Because this looks no different in my eyes to the normal "spam"-ish material.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: francesco nicoli on 01/08/2018 06:34 PM
Just stop with the space weapons stuff.  EVERY defense prime has some connection to a military laser program.  There's nothing special about Northrup Grumman making some acquisition years ago that would increase the odds of this being a banned weapon payload.

apologies, but why "banned"?

Conventional weaponry, including lasers, is not banned in space. Nuclear warheads are.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 06:35 PM
The de-orbit burn of the upper stage was observed.

Quote
Hi all,

Just got a report with pictures from a Dutch aircraft pilot of what I think is
the de-orbit burn/depressurization of the Falcon 9 upper stage from the Zuma
launch last night.

The images definitely show something rocket-related. Time reportedly was near
2:18 UT (January 8), location flying above Khartoum in Sudan. Object moved in
(roughly) southerly direction. This was about 40-45 minutes before opening of
the upper stage re-entry window.

More details to follow later.

- Marco

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0063.html
Observed 40-45 minutes before the opening of the upper stage re-entry window. Is that a normal delay between a de-orbit burn and expected re-entry?

TBH I was wondering that as well when I posted that & Marco has followed it up with this post saying he is making further enquiries regarding the sighting.

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0064.html
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: e of pi on 01/08/2018 06:37 PM
The de-orbit burn of the upper stage was observed.

Quote
Hi all,

Just got a report with pictures from a Dutch aircraft pilot of what I think is
the de-orbit burn/depressurization of the Falcon 9 upper stage from the Zuma
launch last night.

The images definitely show something rocket-related. Time reportedly was near
2:18 UT (January 8), location flying above Khartoum in Sudan. Object moved in
(roughly) southerly direction. This was about 40-45 minutes before opening of
the upper stage re-entry window.

More details to follow later.

- Marco

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0063.html
Observed 40-45 minutes before the opening of the upper stage re-entry window. Is that a normal delay between a de-orbit burn and expected re-entry?
About half an orbit is pretty typical AIUI, so 40 minutes from retro to entry wouldn't be too surprising to me.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 01/08/2018 06:43 PM
Just stop with the space weapons stuff.  EVERY defense prime has some connection to a military laser program.  There's nothing special about Northrup Grumman making some acquisition years ago that would increase the odds of this being a banned weapon payload.

apologies, but why "banned"?

Conventional weaponry, including lasers, is not banned in space. Nuclear warheads are.
That's a quibble, and off-topic.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 01/08/2018 06:59 PM
Quote
My favorite remote camera image I took from last nights Zuma launch. My camera was setup at the launch pad and fitted with a Miops Smart Trigger. #spacex #Falcon9 #rocketlaunch #spacexlaunch @elonmusk @SpaceX @Teslarati @MiopsTrigger

https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272 (https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272)

Now imagine this x3 ...

Great photo, that's awesome work!  Bring on the FH.

Edit: Great detail of the lower end, is that a bolted octoweb?

It looks no different than any previous v1.2 octawebs.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/08/2018 07:05 PM
Quote
My favorite remote camera image I took from last nights Zuma launch. My camera was setup at the launch pad and fitted with a Miops Smart Trigger. #spacex #Falcon9 #rocketlaunch #spacexlaunch @elonmusk @SpaceX @Teslarati @MiopsTrigger

https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272 (https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272)

Now imagine this x3 ...

Great photo, that's awesome work!  Bring on the FH.

Edit: Great detail of the lower end, is that a bolted octoweb?

It looks no different than any previous v1.2 octawebs.
Only difference up close is no welds attaching the octaweb to the stage and slight differences to the panels on the Octawebs themselves.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/08/2018 07:11 PM
Quote
My favorite remote camera image I took from last nights Zuma launch. My camera was setup at the launch pad and fitted with a Miops Smart Trigger. #spacex #Falcon9 #rocketlaunch #spacexlaunch @elonmusk @SpaceX @Teslarati @MiopsTrigger

https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272 (https://twitter.com/_tomcross_/status/950281149871542272)

Now imagine this x3 ...

Great photo, that's awesome work!  Bring on the FH.

Edit: Great detail of the lower end, is that a bolted octoweb?

It looks no different than any previous v1.2 octawebs.
Only difference up close is no welds attaching the octaweb to the stage and slight differences to the panels on the Octawebs themselves.

Those welds were internal, not external. Unless you can point out the difference in images?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 01/08/2018 07:52 PM

TBH I was wondering that as well when I posted that & Marco has followed it up with this post saying he is making further enquiries regarding the sighting.

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0064.html

Sounds like he is working on a blog post to appear later in the week with the re-entry burn photos.

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0066.html
Quote
I will post the images on my blog later this week.

- Marco
So watch his space https://sattrackcam.blogspot.com/
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: drnscr on 01/08/2018 08:06 PM
I apologize but, for some reason, I cannot get the likelihood there was an issue with fairing and payload deployment out of my mind.  It strikes me as odd we haven’t seen a Musk tweet or something... just my two cents.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: sunbingfa on 01/08/2018 08:13 PM
 :'(
Peter Selding:
 
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/950473623483101186

Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9, sources say. Info blackout renders any conclusion - launcher issue? Satellite-only issue? -- impossible to draw.


Eric Berger:

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950474284807450625
I have been chasing this story as well. No comment from SpaceX as of yet.


This mission has a lot of weirdness from the start.....
..........
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vanoord on 01/08/2018 08:13 PM
Peter B. de Sending on Twitter
@pbdes
Quote
Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9, sources say. Info blackout renders any conclusion - launcher issue? Satellite-only issue? -- impossible to draw.

If you wanted your secret satellite to remain secret, it mightn't be a bad thing to suggest it never woke up on orbit.

Or am I being cynical?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/08/2018 08:17 PM
:'(
Peter Selding:
 
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/950473623483101186

Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9, sources say. Info blackout renders any conclusion - launcher issue? Satellite-only issue? -- impossible to draw.


Eric Berger:

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950474284807450625
I have been chasing this story as well. No comment from SpaceX as of yet.


This mission has a lot of weirdness from the start.....
..........


Per Peter's tweet, what I struggle with is how this could be a launcher issue if Zuma separated and is dead in space after separating from F9?

EDIT: Not calling his first report into question - that Zuma might be dead in space per sources. If he's saying this publicly, he's got multiple good sources.  But the second part is what I struggle with - that it could be an F9 issue, when the first part clearly states that the payload separated from the 2nd stage.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 01/08/2018 08:17 PM
Peter B. de Sending on Twitter
@pbdes
Quote
Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9, sources say. Info blackout renders any conclusion - launcher issue? Satellite-only issue? -- impossible to draw.

If you wanted your secret satellite to remain secret, it mightn't be a bad thing to suggest it never woke up on orbit.

Or am I being cynical?

eh, had we seen the usual 'payload healthy and placed in good orbit' tweet we would be forgetting about Zuma and moving into FH hype.
If these maneuvers are intended to lower people's attention to the payload they're not very effective.


Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/08/2018 08:22 PM
Per Peter's tweet, what I struggle is how is could be a launcher issue if Zuma separated and is dead in space after separating from F9?
See Progress M-27M, Commercial Titan 3 (Intelsat 6), etc.

 - Ed Kyle

Progress M-27M - "a malfunction occurred near the end of the upper stage burn shortly before the separation of the Progress spacecraft".

Intelsat 6- "An uninsured $140-million communications satellite apparently failed to separate from its Titan 3 booster rocket."

Peter's tweet says "Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9.

My question stands.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vanoord on 01/08/2018 08:25 PM
eh, had we seen the usual 'payload healthy and placed in good orbit' tweet we would be forgetting about Zuma and moving into FH hype.
If these maneuvers are intended to lower people's attention to the payload they're not very effective.

The health of the spacecraft was not for SpaceX to report; and they do not do that other than with Dragon - any health update comes from the satellite owner / operator.

SpaceX are virtually certainly contractually-bound not to reveal anything to do with the vehicle (ie their S2, the fairings and the payload) after S1 separation. That would, by definition, include whether or not it reached the correct orbit.

This has been an odd and strangely secretive launch and I doubt we'll ever know for certain what's happened either way.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rebel44 on 01/08/2018 08:29 PM
Quote
SpaceX just told me there were no anomalies with the rocket during Sunday night's launch. (But that doesn't mean there weren't with the satellite).

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/950477142386794496

IMO: if there were no anomalies with Falcon 9 payload should be in planned orbit and owner (NG or whatever government agency owned it) is unlikely to give us a satellite health info unless there are signs of trouble that would be visible to people on the ground
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 08:30 PM
We'll probably have a clue of a stage 2 issue if GovSat-1 is postponed for checks on its launcher. However, there are many other failure points including payload processing and even construction. It wouldn't be the first time that a launcher worked perfectly but the payload was actually dead on encapsulation.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 01/08/2018 08:30 PM
:'(
Peter Selding:
 
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/950473623483101186

Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9, sources say. Info blackout renders any conclusion - launcher issue? Satellite-only issue? -- impossible to draw.


Eric Berger:

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950474284807450625
I have been chasing this story as well. No comment from SpaceX as of yet.


This mission has a lot of weirdness from the start.....
..........


Per Peter's tweet, what I struggle is how is could be a launcher issue if Zuma separated and is dead in space after separating from F9?
Virbration or G-Loads could have been exceeded? Recontact during faring separation? Electrical malfunction?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 01/08/2018 08:33 PM
eh, had we seen the usual 'payload healthy and placed in good orbit' tweet we would be forgetting about Zuma and moving into FH hype.
If these maneuvers are intended to lower people's attention to the payload they're not very effective.

The health of the spacecraft was not for SpaceX to report; and they do not do that other than with Dragon - any health update comes from the satellite owner / operator.

SpaceX are virtually certainly contractually-bound not to reveal anything to do with the vehicle (ie their S2, the fairings and the payload) after S1 separation. That would, by definition, include whether or not it reached the correct orbit.

This has been an odd and strangely secretive launch and I doubt we'll ever know for certain what's happened either way.
You're right. What I wanted to say is that simulating an anomaly with the payload isn't the best way to lower people's attention on it.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rebel44 on 01/08/2018 08:36 PM
:'(
Peter Selding:
 
https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/950473623483101186

Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9, sources say. Info blackout renders any conclusion - launcher issue? Satellite-only issue? -- impossible to draw.


Eric Berger:

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950474284807450625
I have been chasing this story as well. No comment from SpaceX as of yet.


This mission has a lot of weirdness from the start.....
..........


Per Peter's tweet, what I struggle is how is could be a launcher issue if Zuma separated and is dead in space after separating from F9?
Virbration or G-Loads could have been exceeded? Recontact during faring separation? Electrical malfunction?

IMO: excessive vibrations, G-loads or recontact during fairing separation would count as rocket anomalies.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cebri on 01/08/2018 08:43 PM
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/

"According to one source, the payload fell back to Earth along with the spent upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket."

Could this be possible?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 08:45 PM
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/

"According to one source, the payload fell back to Earth along with the spent upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket."

Could this be possible?

Bottom line, yes. Especially if, for whatever reason, the upper stage did not get Zuma into a stable initial parking orbit (by accident or design).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Semmel on 01/08/2018 08:45 PM
Eric Berger’s write-up:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/)

Edit to add:

Article includes:

Quote
According to one source, the payload fell back to Earth along with the spent upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Eric also gives same quote as in Chris G’s post above.


That makes no sense since there was a de-orbit burn of S2.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Freddedonna on 01/08/2018 08:50 PM
That makes no sense since there was a de-orbit burn of S2.

And the payload was cataloged as mentioned here :

Now catalogued as USA 280, 2018-001A, 43098.  Naturally no orbital data given.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rebel44 on 01/08/2018 08:51 PM
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/

"According to one source, the payload fell back to Earth along with the spent upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket."

Could this be possible?

Based on SpaceX quote (no anomaly with F9) payload was delivered to correct orbit and separated from the 2nd stage - so the only thing that would make sense for payload deorbiting is IMO screwup with satellite propulsion (satellites propulsion firing in the wrong direction) that would result in deorbiting it.

I am also not sure if in that case payload would be cataloged.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 01/08/2018 08:51 PM
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/

"According to one source, the payload fell back to Earth along with the spent upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket."

Could this be possible?

Bottom line, yes. Especially if, for whatever reason, the upper stage did not get Zuma into a stable initial parking orbit (by accident or design).

Which does not follow SpaceX saying that Falcon 9 functioned without issue.  If the rocket didn't achieve orbital velocity, SpaceX would not publicly be saying the rocket had no issues.  Not achieving orbital velocity for a rocket on a mission to insert a satellite into orbit is a failure.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Michael Baylor on 01/08/2018 08:57 PM
Quote
According to one source, the payload fell back to Earth along with the spent upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Not sure why this was included in the article. There are no reports that seem to back this up. Most of them are saying "dead in orbit" which means that Zuma is still in orbit. Additionally, SpaceX would almost certainly know if Zuma was put into the wrong orbit. This is not to mention that Zuma has also been catalogued.

That claim does not seem to be backed up with common sense at this point. Most likely scenario based on combining reports is that Zuma had a technical malfunction of some sort and is in orbit but not responding.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 08:58 PM
If I may speculate, I think that we can safely say that something is wrong with Zuma. However, no-one with actual knowledge is talking (as one would expect). I suspect that what Eric and Peter are hearing is second-hand speculation of people who know people in the post-failure investigation team. These people have mentioned parts of some aspects of early working theories about what has happened to the spacecraft (theories constrained and hobbled by the fact that the last anyone saw of it was the Falcon 9 upper stage payload camera showing the vehicle separate and drift clear in some 'black' MCC somewhere in Langley, Virginia or The Pentagon).

Bottom line, yes. Especially if, for whatever reason, the upper stage did not get Zuma into a stable initial parking orbit (by accident or design).

Which does not follow SpaceX saying that Falcon 9 functioned without issue.  If the rocket didn't achieve orbital velocity, SpaceX would not publicly be saying the rocket had no issues.  Not achieving orbital velocity for a rocket on a mission to insert a satellite into orbit is a failure.

That's why I mentioned 'by accident or design', referring to my earlier speculation about a suborbital initial trajectory to conserve dV for a second upper stage burn.

However, the more I think about it, the less I'm buying the 'fell into the ocean with the upper stage' claim. That would require either an under-boost (which seemingly contradicts the planned de-orbit burn) or a separation failure, both of which would definitely be launch vehicle failures.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Yellowstone10 on 01/08/2018 08:59 PM
Marco Langbroek over at satobs.org posted that he checked with the pilot who spotted the potential S2 deorbit burn, and confirmed that the previously reported time of 0218 UTC was indeed in error:

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0066.html

This puts S2 over east Africa within minutes of when Mr. Langbroek predicted - suggests no issue with F9.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Brovane on 01/08/2018 08:59 PM

Which does not follow SpaceX saying that Falcon 9 functioned without issue.  If the rocket didn't achieve orbital velocity, SpaceX would not publicly be saying the rocket had no issues.  Not achieving orbital velocity for a rocket on a mission to insert a satellite into orbit is a failure.

I agree 100% with this based on the information we have.  The most likely scenario at this point based on the information we know is that the satellite failed in orbit.  SpaceX wouldn't be announcing that the F9 had no anomalies if some type of issue occurred.  Also we can judge by the fact that SpaceX is moving along with the next planned flights.  A failure of some type would have resulted in a stand-down until the failure had been completely investigated. 

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 01/08/2018 09:01 PM
Ooops, posted in updates:

Eric Berger’s write-up:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/)

Edit to add:

Article includes:

Quote
According to one source, the payload fell back to Earth along with the spent upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Eric also gives same quote as in Chris G’s post above.

Not to be a skeptic, but how much extra propellant would be needed to de-orbit the upper-stage with the extra mass of a payload still attached? Yet, everything SpaceX has said is nominal vehicle performance.

Wonder, deliberate indirection? Payload was in charge of raising it's own orbit, aka Polyus?

Do we need to wait for Northrup Grumman's financial quarterly statement to come out, I suspect the customer will not pay if this is the case and that should show up as a loss or write-off.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rcoppola on 01/08/2018 09:07 PM
NG used their own payload processing facilities as well as their own designed stage/bus adapter. I wonder if that was something SpaceX advised against? Or was uncomfortable with for any reason?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 01/08/2018 09:08 PM
What if this was some kind of reentry vehicle test? Not necessarily a warhead but something like IXV, an X-37B follow-on prototype, etc.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/08/2018 09:08 PM
These things are paid for before they even launch. Failures are for the insurance companies to deal with (unless it is not insured like most government payloads, then it is just a loss for the customer.)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 01/08/2018 09:11 PM
Quote
I'm afraid we are operating in a vacuum when it comes to information about the Zuma spacecraft.

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950488919195488256
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 01/08/2018 09:13 PM
Quote
I'm afraid we are operating in a vacuum when it comes to information about the Zuma spacecraft.

I just hope Zuma is too. (operating in a vacuum that is)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 01/08/2018 09:14 PM
I think it's a little early to conclude even that it has failed.  Although rumors are getting reported by two different space reporters, they could well be sharing the same source... directly or indirectly.  This could just be the telephone game played with the crazy rumors started on Reddit or wherever, which get repeated often enough to be "looked into"... but can't be disproven because no one can speak on the record about the payload.

We probably won't know more unless (a) there was a real problem, traced to SpaceX, and the failure investigation has visible effects, (b) the amateur satellite watchers not only find the bird, but observe it actively change orbit (assuming it's designed to manuveur and not designed to deliberately re-enter), or (c) the capabilities of the new satellite get leaked or publicly announced (for deterrence?). 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 01/08/2018 09:15 PM
Quote
Adding to the intrigue surrounding Zuma: Reports that Musk has told his team that this is the company's most important/expensive payload ever launched.
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950490705507569666
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 01/08/2018 09:17 PM
NG used their own payload processing facilities as well as their own designed stage/bus adapter. I wonder if that was something SpaceX advised against? Or was uncomfortable with for any reason?

The payload processing part shouldn't be that big of a deal, plenty of experienced alternative providers at the Cape. Where is the source of NG using their own adapter?

Ultimately we won't know what happened until NG releases a statement.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 09:18 PM
I suppose we have to wait to see if any new orbital objects get reported over the next few weeks. Then we'll have more data as to whether the spacecraft reached orbit.

One scenario I can think of is that Zuma suffered a MMOD collision at some point post-PLF separation and was disabled. As there is no link between the Falcon 9 and its payload in these types of missions, unless properly-cleared technicians at Hawthorne were monitoring footage from the prow camera on the upper stage, there would not necessarily any data SpaceX would have regarding the problem. All NG would know is that the spacecraft never signalled them post-separation.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AncientU on 01/08/2018 09:20 PM
I suppose we have to wait to see if any new orbital objects get reported over the next few weeks. Then we'll have more data as to whether the spacecraft reached orbit.

One scenario I can think of is that Zuma suffered a MMOD collision at some point post-PLF separation and was disabled. As there is no link between the Falcon 9 and its payload in these types of missions, unless properly-cleared technicians at Hawthorne were monitoring footage from the prow camera on the upper stage, there would not necessarily any data SpaceX would have regarding the problem. All NG would know is that the spacecraft never signalled them post-separation.

Just before stage separation, the camera control was handed off to someone... never heard that call before, so probably associated with payload secrecy.  SpaceX may not have had (or still doesn't have) any indication of what happened after spacecraft release.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kevin-rf on 01/08/2018 09:21 PM
I suppose we have to wait to see if any new orbital objects get reported over the next few weeks. Then we'll have more data as to whether the spacecraft reached orbit.

One scenario I can think of is that Zuma suffered a MMOD collision at some point post-PLF separation and was disabled. As there is no link between the Falcon 9 and its payload in these types of missions, unless properly-cleared technicians at Hawthorne were monitoring footage from the prow camera on the upper stage, there would not necessarily any data SpaceX would have regarding the problem. All NG would know is that the spacecraft never signalled them post-separation.
Assuming a decoy wasn't used and the actual payload is cataloged as DEBRIS... (aka Misty 2)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dmgaba on 01/08/2018 09:22 PM
Is it at all possible that because of the nature of the payload its separation mechanism was provided by the payload manufacturer rather than by SpaceX, and that ZUMA remained attached to S2 even though all electronic or mechanical actions by SpaceX's S2 are KNOWN via telemetry/video to have worked properly?  If that were the case then SpaceX could be confident of no anomaly of Falcon 9 yet it could still be the case that ZUMA re-entered with S2 after it's deorbit burn...???   In the absence of solid info. everything we speculate is... purely conjecture...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 09:24 PM
If the mass of the payload were still attached SpaceX would have noted the inertial and CoG difference when the upper stage manoeuvred to de-orbit burn attitude.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 01/08/2018 09:25 PM
Quote
Adding to the intrigue surrounding Zuma: Reports that Musk has told his team that this is the company's most important/expensive payload ever launched.
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950490705507569666
This what I was referring to when I posted "Personally, I would be cautious using words like “obviously” in L2, especially with such a  mysterious and apparently insanely valuable payload like Zuma."

Not meaning that the payload was specifically so expensive (who knows?), but that it was of extreme importance to Musk.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43994.msg1767345#msg1767345

To further that, it's also my assumption that Zuma was what Elon was referring to in the Rolling Stone article when he said, ""If you say anything about what you're about to see, it would cost us billions," he says, rising from his desk. "And you would be put in jail."

Of course - it could have nothing to do with SpaceX and everything to do with Tesla (new Roadster / Semi / ...), but nothing on the Tesla side struck me as that secret, nor that sensitive.

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/elon-musk-inventors-plans-for-outer-space-cars-finding-love-w511747

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 01/08/2018 09:26 PM
Quote
Adding to the intrigue surrounding Zuma: Reports that Musk has told his team that this is the company's most important/expensive payload ever launched.
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/950490705507569666
Just to put some cold water on this: that's a "report" sourced from Reddit, some months ago.

Now, it may be accurate, who knows.  But it's not new information or heavily sourced.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: 0x32 on 01/08/2018 09:35 PM
Could the payload have been a hypersonic reentry vehicle?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Falcon_Project
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 01/08/2018 09:38 PM
Hypersonic tests have a history of being short and not-entirely-successful.

But previously they've been smaller scale payloads on smaller rockets, often air-launched, and not nearly as secretive as Zuma.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 09:39 PM
Could the payload have been a hypersonic reentry vehicle?

It could explain many things.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ames on 01/08/2018 09:41 PM
A Zoomer!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: andrewsdanj on 01/08/2018 09:47 PM
Hypersonic tests have a history of being short and not-entirely-successful.

But previously they've been smaller scale payloads on smaller rockets, often air-launched, and not nearly as secretive as Zuma.

NG are involved in the XS-1. And to add a true conspiracy twist, 'Zuma' is a song by the band 'Hypersonic'...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biTmszuYyWo
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureMartian97 on 01/08/2018 09:52 PM
Hypersonic tests have a history of being short and not-entirely-successful.

But previously they've been smaller scale payloads on smaller rockets, often air-launched, and not nearly as secretive as Zuma.

NG are involved in the XS-1. And to add a true conspiracy twist, 'Zuma' is a song by the band 'Hypersonic'...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biTmszuYyWo

It could make sense that it really is a test vehicle. USLaunchReport saw SECO at t+7:15, that's to short of a burn to achieve orbit, but get quite a bit of speed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK4dELV4b9Q&t=10s
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/08/2018 09:57 PM
Or is this doing a Misty.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077830/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/spy-satellites-rise-faked-fall/

If there’s one thing NG know a lot about it’s stealth.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Comga on 01/08/2018 10:03 PM
If I may speculate,.....

No
Please don’t
With what part of “secret” are people having difficulty?

We have photographic evidence of launch, staging, second stage ignition, even fairing separation. (Look for it)
We see the second stage flying until it goes behind clouds way down range.
SpaceX said there was no problem with the rocket.
We have a sighting of what could be the second stage deorbit burn.
An object in orbit has been catalogued.

The unidentified secret customer has failed to PM you. 😉
People have said that people have said stuff.
That does not constitute evidence.
We have no good basis for speculation.
Please give it a rest.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: russianhalo117 on 01/08/2018 10:08 PM
If this speculation continues out of control like a derailed train mods may have to lock this and the update thread until people calm down..
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: QuantumG on 01/08/2018 10:09 PM
SpaceX will be paid in full and the customer will be back for more, that's all that matters.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/08/2018 10:15 PM
If this speculation continues out of control like a derailed train mods may have to lock this and the update thread until people calm down..

Speculation is the inevitable response of the enthusiast in the absence of official news. Frankly, I haven't seen anything that is unreasonable or unwarranted; there is certainly no silly hand-waving. In any case, given the nature of the payload, speculation is likely all we'll ever have.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Surfdaddy on 01/08/2018 10:29 PM
If I may speculate,.....

No
Please don’t
With what part of “secret” are people having difficulty?

We have photographic evidence of launch, staging, second stage ignition, even fairing separation. (Look for it)
We see the second stage flying until it goes behind clouds way down range.
SpaceX said there was no problem with the rocket.
We have a sighting of what could be the second stage deorbit burn.
An object in orbit has been catalogued.

The unidentified secret customer has failed to PM you. 😉
People have said that people have said stuff.
That does not constitute evidence.
We have no good basis for speculation.
Please give it a rest.



I agree with everything but the bolded statements.
That's what we do, we're curious, and we float ideas. It's a discussion forum.
However that doesn't mean we're ever going to know, either.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Sam Ho on 01/08/2018 10:30 PM
To further that, it's also my assumption that Zuma was what Elon was referring to in the Rolling Stone article when he said, ""If you say anything about what you're about to see, it would cost us billions," he says, rising from his desk. "And you would be put in jail."

Of course - it could have nothing to do with SpaceX and everything to do with Tesla (new Roadster / Semi / ...), but nothing on the Tesla side struck me as that secret, nor that sensitive.

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/elon-musk-inventors-plans-for-outer-space-cars-finding-love-w511747
The Rolling Stone article specifically says it was the Tesla Semi.  Besides which, Elon doesn't have the authority to show classified material to a reporter, threats of jail time or not.
Quote
For the next 20 minutes, Musk examines the Tesla Truck. He comments first on the technical details, even ones as granular as the drawbacks and advantages of different types of welding. He then moves on to the design, specifically a driver-comfort feature that cannot be specified here, due to said threatened jail time.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: aero on 01/08/2018 10:33 PM
I don't know who started the rumor but it may have been started as a method to "disappear" the Zuma spacecraft. Even if so, and true or false, I doubt the rumor will ever be officially confirmed.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 01/08/2018 10:33 PM
If this speculation continues out of control like a derailed train mods may have to lock this and the update thread until people calm down..
We appreciate self modding. But handicapping what we are going to do? Not so much.

My personal view: (not vetted with other mods yet...)

Go ahead and speculate if your speculations are well founded, within the realm of physical possibility, and are not repeats of stuff already said, that is, they add value.

Go ahead and deconstruct speculations if you can do so collegially and can add value and learnings by doing so.

"Aliens abducted it" probably goes in the party thread.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rocket Science on 01/08/2018 10:50 PM
Did the USAF comment about the deployment of X-37B? I don't recall so (please correct me) so my assumption is the spacecraft functioned/is functioning as required until proven otherwise. (I usually stay way from reddit)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lee Jay on 01/08/2018 11:00 PM
Go ahead and speculate if your speculations are well founded, within the realm of physical possibility, and are not repeats of stuff already said, that is, they add value.

My (I believe) well-founded speculation is that those in-the-know aren't talking and everyone else is, by definition, not in-the-know.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: quagmire on 01/08/2018 11:10 PM
If the Falcon 9 was the cause of this rumored loss of Zuma, we wouldn't be seeing continued preparations for the Falcon Heavy WDR, static fire, and launch campaign.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: pb2000 on 01/08/2018 11:50 PM
If the Falcon 9 was the cause of this rumored loss of Zuma, we wouldn't be seeing continued preparations for the Falcon Heavy WDR, static fire, and launch campaign.
Unless the mission is so highly classified that SpaceX is contractually obligated to continue on as if nothing ever happened, even if the second stage turned into a sperm whale and the payload into a bowl of petunias.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/08/2018 11:51 PM
From the start this one has been an intentional enigma. With a high touch, highly pampered payload. Historically they are the worst to get a straight answer on.

Yet many are used to, if not obsessed with, every last dribble of rumor, as if they can get blood from a stone. Humorous.

The moment the video was cut post stage sep you could tell that was the point at which you'd not know. Clearly the customer did not want you to know anything further. (And suggest that you should distrust everything anyone says past that point, even in the future. Because it's a guarantee that things will be missing in the supposed "full telling".)

To those who it mattered it is certain they know what they need to know at this time.

For SX is is an accomplished mission and they are on to the next. (The customer clearly, intimately knew all aspect's of the mission's launch, even requiring extensive payload / launcher interventions.)

As to payload separation, Falcon has the most benign separation mechanism possible. If they got neurotic over fairing sep, its hard to imagine they'd not also go over details of that as well. Flat out don't buy anything launch vehicle related here.

Also, payloads get considerable scrutiny long before they ever see the LV. And hidden issues communicate themselves a bit later in the timeline.

Note that the disposal went much like expected. So likely did the rest of the mission. End of credible story.

As for what might be, the amateur sat sleuths might/might not inform more. Every now and then they surprise.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: quagmire on 01/08/2018 11:56 PM
If the Falcon 9 was the cause of this rumored loss of Zuma, we wouldn't be seeing continued preparations for the Falcon Heavy WDR, static fire, and launch campaign.
Unless the mission is so highly classified that SpaceX is contractually obligated to continue on as if nothing ever happened, even if the second stage turned into a sperm whale and the payload into a bowl of petunias.

That would be one absurd contract to not allow a company to stand down to investigate a failure.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 01/09/2018 12:12 AM
Speaking of historical precedence, does anyone remember how the fact of the loss of USA-193/NROL-21 was gradually called out and eventually officially acknowledged back then?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Stan-1967 on 01/09/2018 12:15 AM
If the Falcon 9 was the cause of this rumored loss of Zuma, we wouldn't be seeing continued preparations for the Falcon Heavy WDR, static fire, and launch campaign.
Unless the mission is so highly classified that SpaceX is contractually obligated to continue on as if nothing ever happened, even if the second stage turned into a sperm whale and the payload into a bowl of petunias.

This line of reasoning get beat down regularly in the "General SETI Thread".
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: paolozamparutti on 01/09/2018 12:22 AM
well, after the rumors, Spacex publishes photos on flickr. This seems to me to be a confirmation that the mission is ok.

this mission is so heavly classified, that the exit of rumors seems to me to be unreliable
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 01/09/2018 12:24 AM
Unless the mission is so highly classified that SpaceX is contractually obligated to continue on as if nothing ever happened, even if the second stage turned into a sperm whale and the payload into a bowl of petunias.

It's much more likely that a classified problem would have a cover story for the stand down, rather than have to refuse to permit a stand down.

For example, the fairing problem that requires the Zuma delay.  That's the sort of thinly-sourced story I'd expect --- we never got any more detailed info other than "it was a fairing issue with some pre-production fairing" and "Iridium is not affected".  Convenient that the problem was off in some vague pre-production facility, not something that could be directly verified---if in fact you did have access to a preflight fairing to check, one could easily be told the problem was in some *other* pre-production fairing.  Plausible cover stories are much easier to maintain than total information blackouts.  Think Glomar Explorer, etc.

If I were to wear my tinfoil hat, in fact, I'd say that the November "fairing issue" was much more likely to be a classified issue with the Zuma payload.  If there was a problem with Zuma's F9, I'd expect to shortly hear of some vague but plausible issue on the test stand in McGregor which necessitates a stand down, or something like that.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanH84 on 01/09/2018 12:36 AM
Why would faking a fairing issue be better than simply saying the customer requested that the launch date be moved back for unspecified reasons?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: speedevil on 01/09/2018 12:40 AM
Why would faking a fairing issue be better than simply saying the customer requested that the launch date be moved back for unspecified reasons?

Because that is an information release when they don't have to release information.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:43 AM
could the second stage "hover" instead of entering orbit?

Tentative yes.

It's got a high T/W ratio for a second stage. So in theory it could do a lofting 'boostback'. 2000+ km apogee would bring it down around T+25min, close as you like to the coast.

Maybe a launch was the ultimate cover for a readiness review mission  8).

no.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 12:43 AM

If I were to wear my tinfoil hat, in fact, I'd say that the November "fairing issue" was much more likely to be a classified issue with the Zuma payload.

Except that launch vehicle providers typically do not like to be blamed publicly (or privately, for that matter) for the payload's pre-launch issues, even if it is a classified mission. SpaceX has other commercial customers who don't have insight into classified missions and who SpaceX probably would not want to rattle with rumors of more potential fairing issues, especially if it's an untrue cover story for someone else's (ie payload's) screw-up.

If it were in fact a payload issue, the customer could simply have said nothing. It's a classified mission with no need to invent cover stories that in effect unfairly blame your launch vehicle provider for a launch slip he didn't cause.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: lonestriker on 01/09/2018 12:44 AM
Occam's Razor: SpaceX posted pictures of the launch and landing on Flickr; Elon posted John Kraus' picture on Instagram/Twitter; SpaceX replied saying "F9 was nomimal".  All these signs point to the most likely scenario of a properly functioning launch vehicle and delivery to contracted orbit.  So, regardless of what happened with the payload itself, SpaceX appears to have fulfilled their obligations.

As Space Ghost 1962 says, those in the know are keeping quiet.  So all the other noise you hear is just rumor and speculation.

Although as a US citizen and taxpayer I would be disappointed that a very valuable payload may have been lost, the space and SpaceX fan in me is happy that by all accounts, SpaceX is continuing their steamroller.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:49 AM
NG used their own payload processing facilities

They have none
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Andy Bandy on 01/09/2018 01:11 AM
If the Falcon 9 was the cause of this rumored loss of Zuma, we wouldn't be seeing continued preparations for the Falcon Heavy WDR, static fire, and launch campaign.
Unless the mission is so highly classified that SpaceX is contractually obligated to continue on as if nothing ever happened, even if the second stage turned into a sperm whale and the payload into a bowl of petunias.

That would be one absurd contract to not allow a company to stand down to investigate a failure.

What exactly has SpaceX done since the launch. Rolled out the Falcon Heavy for a static fire. They have to do that anyway. And it involves the first stage engines. By all appearances there were no problems with the first stage. So, even if there was a problem with the upper stage (which I am NOT assuming based on SpaceX's statement), there would be no reason to delay the test. 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Chris Bergin on 01/09/2018 01:14 AM
I know this spacecraft is attracting new people with wacky theories, but they won't stand here. Go on Twitter and make your claims, not here. Thanks :)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 01/09/2018 01:25 AM
If it were in fact a payload issue, the customer could simply have said nothing. It's a classified mission with no need to invent cover stories that in effect unfairly blame your launch vehicle provider for a launch slip he didn't cause.

Sure. I'm just saying that a plausible cover story which can't be easily checked is much more likely than forcing-someone-to-carry-on-and-keep-quiet.  As you point out, there's a hierarchy of plausibilty for these scenarios.  Saying "weather issue" is not so good, since lots of independent meteorologists could fact check that essentially public info.  Some plausible explanation that doesn't put blame on SpaceX is best; one which points the finger at experimental hardware that's not yet on any commercial customer's rocket (which is essentially the story we were told about the Zuma fairing and "fairing 2.0") is not quite as good but could be acceptable; one which makes Elon look like a stud (in the way the Glomar Explorer cover story played up Howard Hughes) would be win-win for both sides.

I don't think it's worth trying too hard to defend any particular scenario, in the known absence of direct information, but at least we can evaluate plausibilty and confine our fruitless speculation to ideas which are not outright crazy. ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 01/09/2018 01:28 AM
China has actually launched several satellites demonstrating quantum encryption:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/china-s-quantum-satellite-achieves-spooky-action-record-distance

But the research here has been academic and open; no need for zuma-level secrecy.  The secret is in the bits that are communicated, not in how that is done. (That's the point of encryption: it's secure even if everyone knows the algorithms, so long as they don't know the key.)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Inoeth on 01/09/2018 01:42 AM
So i'm a little confused as to whether or not SpaceX is at fault, and what happened. the WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-lost-after-spacex-mission-fails-1515462479 repeat the "zuma failed to detach and fell" line, while others have said that it reach the correct orbit and that S2 worked just fine, but that Zuma was dead/nonresponsive... So much conflicting information... 

SpaceX tweeting out and posting launch photos literally at the same time as we get these new articles about the failed launch and saying that the launch was 'nominal' and continuing on with FH prep, but no details is weird- and does point to SpaceX being not at fault, tho the articles coming out are hitting SpaceX pretty hard. 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AirmanPika on 01/09/2018 01:48 AM
If the Falcon 9 was the cause of this rumored loss of Zuma, we wouldn't be seeing continued preparations for the Falcon Heavy WDR, static fire, and launch campaign.
Unless the mission is so highly classified that SpaceX is contractually obligated to continue on as if nothing ever happened, even if the second stage turned into a sperm whale and the payload into a bowl of petunias.

Oh no...not again...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Flying Beaver on 01/09/2018 01:49 AM
tho the articles coming out are hitting SpaceX pretty hard.

This part is completely wrong:

Quote
Notably, the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, which keeps track of all commercial, scientific and national-security satellites along with space debris, hadn’t updated its catalog of objects to reflect a new satellite circling the planet.

ZUMA is cataloged as USA 280, S2 deorbited.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Johnnyhinbos on 01/09/2018 01:51 AM
Well, if this launch was so valuable for SpaceX - as has been bandied about quite a bit - and if SpaceX fully delivered on its contracted requirement, then tho it sucks to get bad press, even more so if it’s inaccurately placed, ultimately it’s a huge win for SpaceX.

So on that vein, congratulations to SpaceX!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: CJ on 01/09/2018 01:55 AM
My personal view: (not vetted with other mods yet...)

Go ahead and speculate if your speculations are well founded, within the realm of physical possibility, and are not repeats of stuff already said, that is, they add value.

Go ahead and deconstruct speculations if you can do so collegially and can add value and learnings by doing so.

My personal hunch is that these failure rumors are incredibly convenient if the sat is some sort of recon or SIGINT bird. They might even go so far as to slow-tumble it in orbit to simulate a failure - or mimic that effect (short period repeating luminosity change). Or, it might even completely vanish if it's some sort of stealthed bird, as have been rumored for a long time (such as "Misty").

I find the initial orbital inclination of about 51 degrees (if true) to be interesting. It's very close to ISS orbital inclination, just like NROL-76. That's not all that useful an orbit for a photo-recon bird though; too many places of interest would be beyond its ground path. (such as most of Russia). Same goes for SIGINT in LEO.

My SWAG as to what it is is a technology testbed of some sort, and I think we may well learn more from the satellite-watchers over time.
 
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: ArbitraryConstant on 01/09/2018 02:00 AM
Seems like SpaceX could justify a stand down even with a completely successful mission, as it is easily possible for anomalies to require investigation even if they didn't cause a failure.

I don't see any real point second guessing this. If there's no stand down it's because the likelihood of subsequent missions succeeding would not be importantly improved by a stand down.

tho the articles coming out are hitting SpaceX pretty hard.

It's the Wall Street Journal, aka the Bezo's News Service.
No, that's the Washington Post.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: JimO on 01/09/2018 02:08 AM
When we worked DoD shuttle payloads [if I told you which I'd have to... you know the rest], the key concealment issue was advance knowledge of  WHERE/WHEN the orbit raise burns would occur, since an accurate measurement of burn time could, with ground tracking of delta-V observed, give insight into payload mass.  The narrower an observing focus by a Russian missile-watching satellite [programmed pre-launch to stare at the expected burn location], the crisper the timing of burn start/stop that could be achieved. The wider [in time and space] the necessary search field-of-view, the less frequent the area scan, and thus the lower the precise timing of the engine burn duration. Concealment was focused on increasing the area and time an adversary would have to program his missile-watch payloads to observe, thus degrading the achievable precision of burn durations. At least, that was how it was explained to me.   
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 01/09/2018 02:18 AM
The WSJ/Dow Jones story was by Andy Pasztor, and CNBC seems to have run with it.

Pardon me while I go buy 5 lbs of salt.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 02:40 AM
So i'm a little confused as to whether or not SpaceX is at fault, and what happened. the WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-lost-after-spacex-mission-fails-1515462479 repeat the "zuma failed to detach and fell" line, while others have said that it reach the correct orbit and that S2 worked just fine, but that Zuma was dead/nonresponsive... So much conflicting information... 

Given Andy Pasztor's anti-SpaceX agenda, I look forward to him being proved wrong about the purported failure to separate, which would be SpaceX's fault since payload sep is the responsibility of the LV. Unfortunately, SpaceX is constrained by what they can say publicly, while people like Pasztor can peddle whatever rumors they choose to believe until some definitive truth comes out. Which I expect will vindicate SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Nomadd on 01/09/2018 02:41 AM
 Gettin a little reddity in here.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: OnWithTheShow on 01/09/2018 02:51 AM
There are also several other reasons to simulate/leak a failure:

To try to get the owner/operator to reveal themselves by saying the satellite is healthy

To find a suspected leaker

To test the security in place around this mission
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: old_sellsword on 01/09/2018 02:51 AM
...which would be SpaceX's fault since payload sep is the responsibility of the LV.

It wouldn’t actually, since NG provided the payload adapter.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: cscott on 01/09/2018 02:52 AM
"Didn't separate and burned up with S2" doesn't quite compute for me.  S2 should be in a stable orbit before the separation attempt.  If the payload didn't separate, wouldn't they leave the S2 in orbit, at least until they had a chance to debug, diagnose, and attempt a fix?

The fact that S2 deorbited seems to indicate that separation was achieved.

Perhaps the leaked statement is explained by some problem during separation which succeeded in detaching the payload but left it tumbling or damaged in some way.  Makes sense for S2 to deorbit afterwards.  But again... why would the payload then deorbit and "burn up"?

The given statement only really makes sense if the fairing failed to separate.  That would prevent the payload from separating and cause underperformance which would lead to not achieving stable orbit.  Perhaps you'd also vent the S2 propellant tanks before the inevitable re-entry in this scenario, which would explain the S2 observations over Sudan.  But this explanation is directly contradicted by the SpaceX statement. They can't talk about the payload, but they could presumably talk about the performance of their fairing if that was at issue.

Something about all this doesn't add up.

It seems plausible that the delay in confirming fairing separation (perhaps caused by the fact that S2 operations were classified and firewalled from the public broadcast, or an uncorrelated telemetry dropout from S2) was spun into a rumor of fairing failure.  Someone's explanation of what would happen *if* the fairing failed to separate got turned into a whisper that that's what actually happened.  Such a whisper found its way to ready ears.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 02:55 AM
...which would be SpaceX's fault since payload sep is the responsibility of the LV.

It wouldn’t actually, since NG provided the payload adapter.

Thanks, did not know that. Usually the launch vehicle provides the PLA. If NG provided it, then SpaceX would only be responsible for issuing the sep command.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanH84 on 01/09/2018 02:57 AM
My personal hunch is that these failure rumors are incredibly convenient if the sat is some sort of recon or SIGINT bird.
I don't buy into conspiracy theories, but I think that there are cases where military and intelligence agencies have encouraged them to keep more realistic guesses from catching on and becoming the accepted explanation. With a few weeks until we should be able to see visible passes in the northern hemisphere if it's in the predicted orbit, that's plenty of time for rumors to run wild and make it more difficult to be certain of what "facts" originated where.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 01/09/2018 03:13 AM
...which would be SpaceX's fault since payload sep is the responsibility of the LV.

It wouldn’t actually, since NG provided the payload adapter.

Thanks, did not know that. Usually the launch vehicle provides the PLA. If NG provided it, then SpaceX would only be responsible for issuing the sep command.

Here's confirmation from Wired, November 2017

https://www.wired.com/story/spacexs-top-secret-zuma-mission-launches-today/

Quote
>
Veteran aerospace manufacturer Northrop Grumman built the payload, according to a document obtained by WIRED and later confirmed by the company. The company says it built Zuma for the US government, and its also providing an adapter to mate Zuma with SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket. But thats where information starts tapering off.
>
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: sewebster on 01/09/2018 03:19 AM
The fact that S2 deorbited seems to indicate that separation was achieved.

Isn't that pre-programmed?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MaxPower on 01/09/2018 03:21 AM
"didn't separate and burned up with S2" doesn't quite compute for me.  S2 should be in a stable orbit before the separation attempt.  If the payload didn't separate, wouldn't they leave the S2 in orbit, at least until they had a chance to debug, diagnose, and attempt a fix?

The fact that S2 deorbited seems to indicate that separation was achieved.

Something about this doesn't add up.

I was just about to use my first post to ask that very question. I'm not an expert but I was under the impression S2 achieves the desired orbit, lets go of the payload and then fires its engine to deorbit. If that's the case, I fail to see why S2 would be deorbited as planned if the payload failed to detach as WSJ reported.

As for the theory this is some sort of "cover up" to hide that the payload was successfully deployed... perhaps its just me but I can't see SpaceX or NG agreeing to participate in such a scheme. Right now, it looks like one of them is responsible for losing an extremely expensive and very sensitive government satellite. That doesn't look good and could have a direct impact on the company responsible or both companies if nothing more concrete comes out about what exactly happened. Not to mention, wouldn't it be strange when neither company stands down or launches an investigation if we're being told one of them lost a really expensive taxpayer funded payload? That theory just seems a little tinfoil hat-ish to me.   

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jcm on 01/09/2018 03:21 AM
If the mass of the payload were still attached SpaceX would have noted the inertial and CoG difference when the upper stage manoeuvred to de-orbit burn attitude.

Ben, do we know if the S2 deorbit burn is always done with live telemetry, as opposed to just happening under
onboard computer control while out of tracking range?
Also, even if they did note the issue, possible their ability to command at that stage is limited
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: lcs on 01/09/2018 03:22 AM
https://twitter.com/Marco_Langbroek/status/950509102970621957

https://twitter.com/NecromanceRaven/status/950500422032265216
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 03:24 AM
The fact that S2 deorbited seems to indicate that separation was achieved.

Isn't that pre-programmed?

Yes, but on a typical launch vehicle the flight computer waits for confirmation of successful sep from microswitches on the payload adapter before doing a collision/contamination avoidance maneuver and then de-orbiting. If it doesn't get confirmation of sep, it wouldn't continue the sequence.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dansoton on 01/09/2018 03:27 AM
Quote
A U.S. official and two congressional aides, all familiar with the launch, said on condition of anonymity that the second-stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster rocket failed. The satellite was lost, one of the congressional aides said, and the other said both the satellite and the second-stage satellite fell into the ocean after the failure.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-09/spacex-launched-satellite-isn-t-seen-in-orbit-pentagon-says (emphasis above added).

I thought this was worth posting, even though I agree about speculating in an echo chamber, because this new article is quite specific about the sources the article's author has for this. For the articles posted at least, it doesn't appear to be one article simply repeating claims from another.

Now as to the highlighted part, I tend to think this is ambiguous wording and as if there was a failure of payload separation for example, it's highly likely a fault with the payload adapter (which SpaceX did not provide, or likely mount??) as I can't recall a similar payload separation failure for SpaceX.

If that was the case SpaceX wouldn't be at fault which lines up with SpaceX's statement. That's the only failure I can think of that lines up with that quote, SpaceX's statement and other reports of sightings in its intended location.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 03:33 AM
If it was a separation failure, a congressional aide isn't necessarily going to know that the payload adapter in this case was NG's responsibility, not SpaceX's. So I'd still believe SpaceX's statement that F9 performed nominally. In that case, SpaceX is only responsible for providing the separation signal. If the payload adapter failed to separate properly after receiving the sep command, that's on NG.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 01/09/2018 03:34 AM
Quote
A U.S. official and two congressional aides, all familiar with the launch, said on condition of anonymity that the second-stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster rocket failed. The satellite was lost, one of the congressional aides said, and the other said both the satellite and the second-stage satellite fell into the ocean after the failure.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-09/spacex-launched-satellite-isn-t-seen-in-orbit-pentagon-says

I thought this was worth posting, even though I agree with speculating in an echo chamber, because this new article is quite specific about the sources the article's author has for this. For the articles posted at least it doesn't appear to be one article repeating claims from another.

Now as to the highlighted part, I tend to think this is ambiguous wording and as if there was a failure of payload separation for example, it's highly likely a fault with the payload adapter (which SpaceX did not provide, or likely mount??) as I can't recall a similar payload separation failure for SpaceX.

If that was the case SpaceX wouldn't be at fault which lines up with SpaceX's statement. That's the only failure I can think of that lines up with that quote, SpaceX's statement and other reports of sightings in its intended location.
The Bloomberg article also has a named source from Space Command stating that they in fact don't have another satellite to track. If that is the case, what is USA 280 mentioned upthread?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dansoton on 01/09/2018 03:38 AM
If it was a separation failure, a congressional aide isn't going to know that the payload adapter in this case was NG's responsibility, not SpaceX's. So I'd still believe SpaceX's statement that F9 performed nominally. In that case, SpaceX is only responsible for providing the separation signal. If the payload adapter failed to separate properly after receiving the sep command, that's on NG.

Exactly, and that's my current thinking of what's happened based on trying to triangulate all the reported and sourced information to date, and not just our discussions here. New reports can easily change things however.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 03:41 AM
The Bloomberg article also has a named source from Space Command stating that they in fact don't have another satellite to track. If that is the case, what is USA 280 mentioned upthread?

It was a typical non-answer. He said, "We have nothing to add to the satellite catalog at this time," which isn't what was asked. It allows the possibility that USA 280 was added to the catalog earlier, (then deleted ?), and thus "there is nothing to add at this time."
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 01/09/2018 03:47 AM
>The Bloomberg article also has a named source from Space Command stating that they in fact don't have another satellite to track. If that is the case, what is USA 280 mentioned upthread?

Well - this guy is an astronomer at Harvard-Smithsonian, so FWIW....

https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/950559247959494657

Jonathan McDowell ✔ @planet4589
Space-Track has cataloged the Zuma payload as USA 280, international designation 2018-001A. Catalog number 43098.
No orbit details given. No reentry date given, but for a secret payload it might not be. Implication is Space-Track thinks it completed at least one orbit
9:45 PM - Jan 8, 2018
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Bubbinski on 01/09/2018 03:50 AM
Congratulations to SpaceX for the Zuma launch and first stage landing. Let’s see if any further sightings or TLE’s show up of USA 280 before we bury this mission. If there were indeed a serious issue that happened with the Falcon 9 rocket itself I’d think we’d be hearing about a stand down or delay in subsequent missions, haven’t seen that so far.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: TripD on 01/09/2018 03:51 AM
All of this brings up a question.  Allowing for this worst case scenario, how in the world would a 2nd stage burn even manage to guide the 'satelite' and 2nd stage into the atmosphere?  Wouldn't the rocket just spin about the new center of gravity?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: aero on 01/09/2018 03:51 AM
I don't know who started the rumor but it may have been started as a method to "disappear" the Zuma spacecraft. Even if so, and true or false, I doubt the rumor will ever be officially confirmed.

Looks like I was wrong, in part, or maybe the confirmations of loss don't count as official. Still, the spacecraft is fast disappearing as though it were never launched. That is very close to being the same as the blanket of secrecy that has wrapped Zuma since it first appeared on the manifest. Conspiracy, sure. Or maybe disinformation, or maybe the truth. Whatever, it seems that Zuma is no longer on the table.

If it is hiding somewhere in space how will we ever know? A maneuvering spacecraft with an unknown fuel supply could go to a lot of places.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dansoton on 01/09/2018 03:54 AM
Well - this guy is an astronomer at Harvard-Smithsonian, so FWIW....

Well in that case if he's got good standing, he posted these interesting further tweets:

Quote
To recap: Normally when you buy a rocket launch, you've paid for "the payload adapter on the rocket final stage pops the satellite off at the end". But on this mission the customer provided its own payload adapter, so separation may be its problem and not SpaceX's problem

Source: https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/950574302910402561

Quote
Recap 2: Assume satellite catalog entry is not an error. Still doesn't mean USA 280 is still in orbit, or that it separated from stage 2. Suggests that payload/stage 2 remained attached and completed 1.5 orbits (winning it a catalog entry), then performed deorbit

Source: https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/950574866020884480

Quote
Recap 3: Stage 2 was going to deorbit after 1.5 orbits anyway. Probably it had no way of knowing that the payload was still attached!

Source: https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/950575244099670016

Edit: Tweets seem pretty speculative to me, but he seems to know what he's talking about, and he happens to come to the same conclusion as me ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: psionedge on 01/09/2018 03:55 AM
All of this brings up a question.  Allowing for this worst case scenario, how in the world would a 2nd stage burn even manage to guide the 'satelite' and 2nd stage into the atmosphere?  Wouldn't the rocket just spin about the new center of gravity?
The same way it does any other de-orbit burn.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 03:57 AM
All of this brings up a question.  Allowing for this worst case scenario, how in the world would a 2nd stage burn even manage to guide the 'satelite' and 2nd stage into the atmosphere?  Wouldn't the rocket just spin about the new center of gravity?

What" new" center of gravity?. If the spacecraft never separated, then the CG never changed
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 01/09/2018 03:59 AM
How would stage separation fail? What are the common methods for separating payloads? Which might NG have used?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/09/2018 04:00 AM
Well - this guy is an astronomer at Harvard-Smithsonian, so FWIW....

Well in that case if he's got good standing, he posted these interesting further tweets:...
...he's an astronomer, not an expert in classified missions.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: TripD on 01/09/2018 04:01 AM
All of this brings up a question.  Allowing for this worst case scenario, how in the world would a 2nd stage burn even manage to guide the 'satelite' and 2nd stage into the atmosphere?  Wouldn't the rocket just spin about the new center of gravity?

What" new" center of gravity?. If the spacecraft never separated, then the CG never changed

That is the point though.  The 2nd stage was meant to de-orbit itself.  Is navigation with a payload still attached even possible?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 04:01 AM
How would stage separation fail? What are the common methods for separating payloads? Which might NG have used?

Miswired, bad ordnance, bad command, etc
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: quagmire on 01/09/2018 04:03 AM
If the Falcon 9 was the cause of this rumored loss of Zuma, we wouldn't be seeing continued preparations for the Falcon Heavy WDR, static fire, and launch campaign.
Unless the mission is so highly classified that SpaceX is contractually obligated to continue on as if nothing ever happened, even if the second stage turned into a sperm whale and the payload into a bowl of petunias.

That would be one absurd contract to not allow a company to stand down to investigate a failure.

What exactly has SpaceX done since the launch. Rolled out the Falcon Heavy for a static fire. They have to do that anyway. And it involves the first stage engines. By all appearances there were no problems with the first stage. So, even if there was a problem with the upper stage (which I am NOT assuming based on SpaceX's statement), there would be no reason to delay the test.

 Even though the 2nd stage isn't fired in a static fire test( and likely a WDR), it is still fueled and prepped like it was an actual launch. SpaceX would not risk 39A/vehicle itself if the failure point that supposedly occurred is present during launch preparations. If a failure occurred, there would be a stand down and FH would still be in the HIF.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dnavas on 01/09/2018 04:04 AM
I'm pretty sure someone stated here that you don't realize how fast the first stage is coming in until you see it in person.  I'm sorry I can't find it amidst the ... uhh ... "speculation".  I just wanted to say that, maybe that's true, but I'm absolutely terrified every time I watch the altitude and speed numbers as the 1st stage comes in.  Remember how the shuttle was the flying brick... ?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dansoton on 01/09/2018 04:05 AM
Well - this guy is an astronomer at Harvard-Smithsonian, so FWIW....

Well in that case if he's got good standing, he posted these interesting further tweets:...
...he's an astronomer, not an expert in classified missions.

Sure. The interesting part to me at least was his statement that the satellite can fail to deploy correctly and still be cataloged if it orbits 1.5 times. So again that would line up with the earlier cataloging even if it did fail.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: rockets4life97 on 01/09/2018 04:06 AM
How would stage separation fail? What are the common methods for separating payloads? Which might NG have used?

Miswired, bad ordnance, bad command, etc

Thanks. How often do customers use their own payload adaptor as NG is reported to have done?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/09/2018 04:08 AM
All of this brings up a question.  Allowing for this worst case scenario, how in the world would a 2nd stage burn even manage to guide the 'satelite' and 2nd stage into the atmosphere?  Wouldn't the rocket just spin about the new center of gravity?

What" new" center of gravity?. If the spacecraft never separated, then the CG never changed

That is the point though.  The 2nd stage was meant to de-orbit itself.  Is navigation with a payload still attached even possible?

Yes, why not? The upper stage can still turn itself with the attitude thrusters, it just takes a bit more effort. The deorbit burn is done with the big engine, which already is in line with the CG, with or without payload. There would be no problem for it to deorbit with a payload, if that is what happened.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 04:08 AM
How would stage separation fail? What are the common methods for separating payloads? Which might NG have used?

Miswired, bad ordnance, bad command, etc

Unfortunately, it's common that failures happen at the physical/electrical interface of two components supplied by different contractors...in this case (potentially) the payload adapter supplied by NG and (presumably) the separation command electrical harness by Space X. When one contractor supplies, say, the ordnance on the payload adapter, and the other contractor supplies the electrical connector that interfaces with it, a design error on one side won't necessarily be caught on the ground.

Such a case happened on TOS/ACTS mission on the Shuttle, where Lockheed Martin miswired the electrical connectors to the separation system supplied by a subcontractor, with the result that the sep system fired incorrectly on orbit, despite numerous preflight  fit checks, tests, etc, on the ground.

This is why launch vehicle providers prefer to furnish their own payload adapters, because they have full control of the hardware and can do end-to-end verification testing without relying on the payload.

Launch vehicles typically use a Marman clamp (or ring) for payload separation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marman_clamp
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/09/2018 04:17 AM
It could be that SpaceX *insisted* on a Northrop Grumman payload adapter if they wouldn't be able to confirm successful separation due to it being classified.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: gongora on 01/09/2018 04:19 AM
For those who haven't noticed, the oft-mentioned astronomer Jonathan McDowell is user jcm here  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Michael Baylor on 01/09/2018 04:19 AM
According to TechCrunch SpaceX is at fault for the failure.

However, this is TechCrunch. Do they have a source to backup their claim? No. Of course they don't.

I get it, journalists can make mistakes. However, this is really inexcusable. A complete disregard of the facts. Doesn't even mention the SpaceX statement which was sent to numerous publications. Really unfortunate how misinformed the general public end up after events like this.

I am not linking the article because they don't deserve the clicks.

Edit: Oh and apparently AMOS-6 was worth over a billion as well. Pretty sure it was ~$200 million, but whatever floats their boat.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Inoeth on 01/09/2018 04:21 AM
How would stage separation fail? What are the common methods for separating payloads? Which might NG have used?

Miswired, bad ordnance, bad command, etc

Unfortunately, it's common that failures happen at the physical/electrical interface of two components supplied by different contractors...in this case (potentially) the payload adapter supplied by NG and (presumably) the separation command electrical harness by Space X. When one contractor supplies, say, the ordnance on the payload adapter, and the other contractor supplies the electrical connector that interfaces with it, a design error on one side won't necessarily be caught on the ground.

Such a case happened on TOS/ACTS mission on the Shuttle, where Lockheed Martin miswired the electrical connectors to the separation system supplied by a subcontractor, with the result that the sep system fired incorrectly in space, despite numerous preflight  fit checks, tests, etc, on the ground.
Which makes it all the more possible that the issue was precisely that-  we know that SpaceX conducted multiple wet dress rehearsals, plus the full static fire back in November... That being said, the wet dress rehearsals were all done without the payload/fairing attached, so that separation couldn't have been tested then... Makes me truly think that NG is at fault here... I just hope we get a little more clarification in the coming hours and days- tho my hopes of SpaceX not getting dragged through the mud in the media is a fools errand at best. Hopefully SpaceX is at least allowed to explain in some way to their actual customers that they're not at fault and that they did the job they were paid to do...

I truly wonder however if this will hurt or even destroy SpaceX's chances for future missions of this nature... especially when politics could possibly muck things up even further


On the Tech Crunch thing- they're owned by AOL... so it's probably down to quick lazy journalism...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 04:22 AM
It could be that SpaceX *insisted* on a Northrop Grumman payload adapter if they wouldn't be able to confirm successful separation due to it being classified.

That could explain why S2 could re-enter with the payload still attached. On the upper stage I'm familiar with (TOS), IIRC we had microswitches at the sep plane to confirm successful payload sep, without which the flight computer would not continue with C/CAM, etc.

I don't know how classified payloads work, but if the rule is that the LV cannot get confirmation of separation of a classified payload, then that would explain why S2 would go ahead and deorbit even with the payload attached.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lar on 01/09/2018 04:24 AM
So i'm a little confused as to whether or not SpaceX is at fault, and what happened. the WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-lost-after-spacex-mission-fails-1515462479 repeat the "zuma failed to detach and fell" line, while others have said that it reach the correct orbit and that S2 worked just fine, but that Zuma was dead/nonresponsive... So much conflicting information... 

Given Andy Pasztor's anti-SpaceX agenda, I look forward to him being proved wrong about the purported failure to separate, which would be SpaceX's fault since payload sep is the responsibility of the LV. Unfortunately, SpaceX is constrained by what they can say publicly, while people like Pasztor can peddle whatever rumors they choose to believe until some definitive truth comes out. Which I expect will vindicate SpaceX.

You might be waiting a while for any admission on his part that he was mistaken. My read of his journalistic integrity is zero. Admitting he's wrong about anything SpaceX? Highly unlikely.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: the_other_Doug on 01/09/2018 04:26 AM
Hmmmm...  I wonder if there is any behind-the-scenes finger pointing going on between SpaceX and NG over this?

I can imagine, just knowing what we do know (or at least have been told), for example, the following set of confidential statements back and forth:

SpaceX:  It was your payload adapter and separation mechanism.  If it failed, we had nothing to do with it.

NG:  You made us un-encapsulate and re-encapsulate the payload when you had to make changes to the payload fairing.  We think you damaged our payload adapter in the process.

It would explain why people at NG might be telling Congress that SpaceX messed up, and SpaceX is going about its business as if every aspect of their systems worked perfectly on this launch.

Also, hey, you never know -- maybe the fairing issue had something to do with some kind of intermittent reception of the separation signal by the PAM from the Falcon S2, and NG insisted it had to have been a problem with the interface wiring harness -- perhaps, they thought, associated with fairing recovery equipment that had been added to the fairing system after the payload and PAM had been designed and developed.

Instead of going into such details, I could see SpaceX just offering to replace the fairing and S2 harness.  Maybe it tested out fine, but, despite NG's confidence, the problem ended up being in their PAM and not in SpaceX's fairing or harness, and it ultimately failed on-orbit.

It could be an amusing and/or entertaining "dialogue" to follow in the Twittersphere on a non-secret payload.  But, if such a thing is happening, I'm pretty confident we'll never be told.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/09/2018 04:27 AM
I have seen zero evidence of finger pointing. SpaceX can't even say if there WAS a problem with the payload, as that part is classified. Same for NG!
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 04:30 AM
Hmmmm...  I wonder if there is any behind-the-scenes finger pointing going on between SpaceX and NG over this?

I can imagine, just knowing what we do know (or at least have been told), for example, the following set of confidential statements back and forth:

SpaceX:  It was your payload adapter and separation mechanism.  If it failed, we had nothing to do with it.

NG:  You made us un-encapsulate and re-encapsulate the payload when you had to make changes to the payload fairing.  We think you damaged our payload adapter in the process.

It would explain why people at NG might be telling Congress that SpaceX messed up, and SpaceX is going about its business as if every aspect of their systems worked perfectly on this launch.

Also, hey, you never know -- maybe the fairing issue had something to do with some kind of intermittent reception of the separation signal by the PAM from the Falcon S2, and NG insisted it had to have been a problem with the interface wiring harness -- perhaps, they thought, associated with fairing recovery equipment that had been added to the fairing system after the payload and PAM had been designed and developed.

Instead of going into such details, I could see SpaceX just offering to replace the fairing and S2 harness.  Maybe it tested out fine, but, despite NG's confidence, the problem ended up being in their PAM and not in SpaceX's fairing or harness, and it ultimately failed on-orbit.

It could be an amusing and/or entertaining "dialogue" to follow in the Twittersphere on a non-secret payload.  But, if such a thing is happening, I'm pretty confident we'll never be told.

Actually, it may be fairly easy for SpaceX to demonstrate F9 was not at fault. Since NG reportedly supplied the payload adapter/sep system, all SpaceX would be required to do is provide a separation command, which is easily verified by telemetry.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that SpaceX did an end-to-end preflight test showing that they got 12 volts (or whatever) at the separation ordnance connector before it mated to NG's hardware.

So it may be as simple as SpaceX showing their telemetry stream with a good separation command. Anything downstream of that is the payload's responsibility.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 04:37 AM
So i'm a little confused as to whether or not SpaceX is at fault, and what happened. the WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-lost-after-spacex-mission-fails-1515462479 repeat the "zuma failed to detach and fell" line, while others have said that it reach the correct orbit and that S2 worked just fine, but that Zuma was dead/nonresponsive... So much conflicting information... 

Given Andy Pasztor's anti-SpaceX agenda, I look forward to him being proved wrong about the purported failure to separate, which would be SpaceX's fault since payload sep is the responsibility of the LV. Unfortunately, SpaceX is constrained by what they can say publicly, while people like Pasztor can peddle whatever rumors they choose to believe until some definitive truth comes out. Which I expect will vindicate SpaceX.

You might be waiting a while for any admission on his part that he was mistaken. My read of his journalistic integrity is zero. Admitting he's wrong about anything SpaceX? Highly unlikely.

Note that I didn't say I expected him to admit he was wrong. I only expect him to be *proved* wrong.  ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: kdhilliard on 01/09/2018 04:38 AM
What do we make of the pretty pictures from Sudan?  (See here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768947#msg1768947) and here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768955#msg1768955).)  Is this expected F9 S2 behavior?  Has it been seen before?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RonM on 01/09/2018 04:40 AM
I've read several pages of this and I'm still wondering where's the evidence that there was a problem with the payload? All seems like rumors to me.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dansoton on 01/09/2018 04:45 AM
I've read several pages of this and I'm still wondering where's the evidence that there was a problem with the payload? All seems like rumors to me.

Triangulating several independent and sourced reports of a failure - here's another one from Reuters (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-satellite/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-destroyed-after-failing-to-reach-orbit-officials-idUSKBN1EY087) indicating:

Quote
The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

(emphasis added)

Along with SpaceX stating "As of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally."

Is there currently any other plausable explanation?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: the_other_Doug on 01/09/2018 04:47 AM
I have seen zero evidence of finger pointing. SpaceX can't even say if there WAS a problem with the payload, as that part is classified. Same for NG!

I get what you're saying.  But there are obviously at least two different versions of the failed-sep story being leaked, one blaming NG's PAM and the other blaming SpaceX's Falcon second stage.  That leads me to believe the story can't be coming from just one source (like NRO or CIA or DoD or whoever was actually supposed to use the thing).

That's what makes me wonder if NG might be, at least initially, trying to put the responsibility onto SpaceX by getting "not-NG's-fault" stories out there into the leaked mess of partial information.  Since nothing will likely ever be officially stated about it, maybe they figure their bluff can't be called publicly...?

I'd love it if SpaceX went ahead and released the telemetry data, just to prove their systems did their part correctly.  After all, that one piece of telemetry would say nothing meaningful about the payload or mission, right?  But would put to rest any public questions about it.  At the very least, I bet everyone with payloads on their manifest would be shown that data, even if we never get to see any confirmation of it.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RotoSequence on 01/09/2018 04:50 AM
I have seen zero evidence of finger pointing. SpaceX can't even say if there WAS a problem with the payload, as that part is classified. Same for NG!

I get what you're saying.  But there are obviously at least two different versions of the failed-sep story being leaked, one blaming NG's PAM and the other blaming SpaceX's Falcon second stage.  That leads me to believe the story can't be coming from just one source (like NRO or CIA or DoD or whoever was actually supposed to use the thing).

That's what makes me wonder if NG might be, at least initially, trying to put the responsibility onto SpaceX by getting "not-NG's-fault" stories out there into the leaked mess of partial information.  Since nothing will likely ever be officially stated about it, maybe they figure their bluff can't be called publicly...?

I'd love it if SpaceX went ahead and released the telemetry data, just to prove their systems did their part correctly.  After all, that one piece of telemetry would say nothing meaningful about the payload or mission, right?  But would put to rest any public questions about it.  At the very least, I bet everyone with payloads on their manifest would be shown that data, even if we never get to see any confirmation of it.

Too likely to spill some of the beans on the mass of the payload.

All told, if the goal was to lead the press and public into thinking this mission has failed, they've pulled it off spectacularly, and even if we call them out on it, we'll probably go the rest of our lives being none the wiser.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 04:52 AM
It could be that SpaceX *insisted* on a Northrop Grumman payload adapter if they wouldn't be able to confirm successful separation due to it being classified.

I don't know what the standard practice is with classified payloads. Seems to me if you're the classified payload, you would want the upper stage to be able to confirm separation (via contact switches at the sep plane) as a pre-condition before doing C/CAM and de-orbit, otherwise you risk splashing the payload prematurely in case of failed separation.

You don't have to release any information publicly about separation, but wouldn't you at least want the upper stage to be able to detect proper separation and not de-orbit prematurely in case separation failed?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/09/2018 04:54 AM
I've read several pages of this and I'm still wondering where's the evidence that there was a problem with the payload? All seems like rumors to me.

Triangulating several independent and sourced reports of a failure - here's another one from Reuters (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-satellite/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-destroyed-after-failing-to-reach-orbit-officials-idUSKBN1EY087) indicating:

Quote
The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

(emphasis added)

Along with SpaceX stating "As of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally."

Is there currently any other plausable explanation?
What I want to know is what officials would intentionally leak classified information like that and risk jail time. The only plausible explanations I know is that they weren't actually given classified information (and thus are perhaps making a guess) or that they're deliberately being misleading, therefore not leaking classified information.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dansoton on 01/09/2018 04:56 AM
For those not wanting to read through all the recent comments, and even for those who have, Loren Grush just wrote up what I think is a pretty good summary of current understanding:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/9/16866806/spacex-zuma-mission-failure-northrop-grumman-classified-falcon-9-rocket
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: QuantumG on 01/09/2018 04:59 AM
Completely pointless... carry on.  ::)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: darkenfast on 01/09/2018 05:00 AM
Remember that there are cameras on SpaceX vehicles taking video that we never get to see.  If this vehicle failed to separate, there is video IN ADDITION TO the telemetry.  Everybody within the classified loop would know very quickly that something had happened.  Meanwhile, we have the C.O. of the 45th Space Wing congratulating SpaceX and his people for a successful launch.  The classified nature of this mission makes it a magnet for those with an agenda.  The people being attacked cannot defend themselves.

Edit: for typo.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 05:03 AM
For those not wanting to read through all the recent comments, and even for those who have, Loren Grush just wrote up what I think is a pretty good summary of current understanding:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/9/16866806/spacex-zuma-mission-failure-northrop-grumman-classified-falcon-9-rocket

Kudos to Loren Grush for clearly explaining the payload adapter issue, which could explain why SpaceX could claim F9 functioned nominally even if the payload failed to separate:

Quote
Typically, SpaceX uses its own hardware on top of its rocket to send a satellite into orbit, what is known as a payload adapter. It’s an apparatus that physically separates the satellite from the upper part of the rocket and sends it into orbit. However, a previous report from Wired noted that Northrop Grumman provided its own payload adapter for this mission. And if that payload adapter failed, it would have left the satellite still attached to the upper portion of the rocket. That’s certainly a mission failure, but it wouldn’t necessarily be the fault of the Falcon 9.

Quote
a payload adapter failure would explain a lot: it would mean the spacecraft and the rocket’s upper stage made it to orbit still attached, where they were picked up by Strategic Command’s tracking. Then the two somehow de-orbited,
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 01/09/2018 05:08 AM
Classified means no public information. Thus infinite parade of nonsense.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/09/2018 05:08 AM
I'd love it if SpaceX went ahead and released the telemetry data, just to prove their systems did their part correctly.  After all, that one piece of telemetry would say nothing meaningful about the payload or mission, right?  But would put to rest any public questions about it.  At the very least, I bet everyone with payloads on their manifest would be shown that data, even if we never get to see any confirmation of it.

That would be a terrible idea. Say goodbye to any future classified payloads if that happens.

No, whomever ordered this (and is a possible future customer) certainly has a lot more insight and can place the proper blame.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: the_other_Doug on 01/09/2018 05:09 AM
It could be that SpaceX *insisted* on a Northrop Grumman payload adapter if they wouldn't be able to confirm successful separation due to it being classified.

I don't know what the standard practice is with classified payloads. Seems to me if you're the classified payload, you would want the upper stage to be able to confirm separation (via contact switches at the sep plane) as a pre-condition before doing C/CAM and de-orbit, otherwise you risk splashing the payload prematurely in case of failed separation.

You don't have to release any information publicly about separation, but wouldn't you at least want the upper stage to be able to detect proper separation and not de-orbit prematurely in case separation failed?

Sure.  But since we've been told on many, many occasions that SpaceX does not *ever* send control inputs to the Falcons in-flight, *and* since they (supposedly) had no telemetry from the other side of the PAM for any confirmations of anything, seeing as SpaceX was not allowed to see any of the payload's telemetry (again per a lot of speculation here), then it's at least possible that the S2 literally could not be told to alter its pre-programmed sequence.

And, if all SpaceX could see on their telemetry was that the sep signal had been sent, they may not even have had a clue that the payload had not, in fact, separated.  Especially if they were not allowed to access any payload-viewing cameras -- which, to be honest, since SpaceX didn't build the PAM, there might not even have been one.  Or, if there were, it could have been something that could not communicate in any way back to SpaceX.

One last minor nit -- fairing separation confirmation on the SpaceX webcast came something like three minutes after the fact.  Any possibility that this could have been somehow related to the reported separation failure?  After all, the fairing is electrically connected to S2 through the PAM, right?  So, if the PAM was not relaying signals properly, maybe the fairing sep indicators acting up could be related to the failure of the sep signal to reach the payload?

Or maybe the Black Control Center that took over monitoring S2 after MECO and staging just didn't have good communications lines back to the webcast people... there's just no way to know.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: dansoton on 01/09/2018 05:15 AM
Classified means no public information. Thus infinite parade of nonsense.

It doesn't though. Controlled and intentional leaks - for propaganda or other purposes - or uncontrolled leaks (less likely IMHO) can, and according to multiple sources of different journalists, have, gone into the public domain adding new information.

The only thing that's kept my attention tbh is more and more accredited sources providing information, rather than speculation here.

My curiosity is trying to fit the jigsaw together from credible reports, but I take your point that we've likely reached a dead end for now. But most current analysis lead to the conclusion of a payload separation issue that's not SpaceX's fault - all summarized quite excellently by Loren using different sources. So I think it's been a worthwhile exercise.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 05:15 AM
Quote
One last minor nit -- fairing separation confirmation on the SpaceX webcast came something like three minutes after the fact.  Any possibility that this could have been somehow related to the reported separation failure?  After all, the fairing is electrically connected to S2 through the PAM, right?  So, if the PAM was not relaying signals properly, maybe the fairing sep indicators acting up could be related to the failure of the sep signal to reach the payload?

Fairing sep and payload sep are typically wired independently to prevent any such failure cascade.

More likely is that, as someone else suggested, the webcast report of fairing sep was made well after the fact in order not to give away exact timing cues that would help narrow down potential payload orbits.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 05:19 AM
What do we make of the pretty pictures from Sudan?  (See here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768947#msg1768947) and here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768955#msg1768955).)  Is this expected F9 S2 behavior?  Has it been seen before?
This seems like a key question.  I was surprised to see spinning, but others claimed this was normal.  I'm skeptical.  The only time I recall seeing a second stage spin like this (viewed from the ground) was during the very first Falcon 9 launch, when the second stage lost roll control.

 - Ed kyle

Wouldn't the LOX venting naturally result in spinning?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Lars-J on 01/09/2018 05:25 AM
What do we make of the pretty pictures from Sudan?  (See here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768947#msg1768947) and here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768955#msg1768955).)  Is this expected F9 S2 behavior?  Has it been seen before?
This seems like a key question.  I was surprised to see spinning, but others claimed this was normal.  I'm skeptical.  The only time I recall seeing a second stage spin like this (viewed from the ground) was during the very first Falcon 9 launch, when the second stage lost roll control.

 - Ed kyle

Wouldn't the LOX venting naturally result in spinning?
No.  Typically, venting is done symmetrically to prevent unwanted rolls, yaws, etc.  On the other hand, they might purposefully put the stage into a spin for reentries. 

 - Ed Kyle

Yes, and this is post re-entry burn, so there is no longer any need for maintaining a proper attitude.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: RoboGoofers on 01/09/2018 05:26 AM
Even if symmetric, they might spin a bit to even out variances.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: the_other_Doug on 01/09/2018 05:30 AM
What do we make of the pretty pictures from Sudan?  (See here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768947#msg1768947) and here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768955#msg1768955).)  Is this expected F9 S2 behavior?  Has it been seen before?
This seems like a key question.  I was surprised to see spinning, but others claimed this was normal.  I'm skeptical.  The only time I recall seeing a second stage spin like this (viewed from the ground) was during the very first Falcon 9 launch, when the second stage lost roll control.

 - Ed kyle

Wouldn't the LOX venting naturally result in spinning?
No.  Typically, venting is done symmetrically to prevent unwanted rolls, yaws, etc.  On the other hand, they might purposefully put the stage into a spin for reentries. 

 - Ed Kyle

Yes, and this is post re-entry burn, so there is no longer any need for maintaining a proper attitude.

I'm assuming that, seeing as the S2 seems to have de-orbited successfully, that it would not have been able to get into the proper attitude for its de-orbit burn if it had lost roll control before payload sep had been attempted...?

Of course, that would have been glaringly obvious to SpaceX's "first look at the data" which led them to announce that the Falcon operated nominally.  And since one of SpaceX's virtues is that they always own up to their failures, one way or another, I can't see them lying about that kind of thing...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AC in NC on 01/09/2018 05:32 AM
What I want to know is what officials would intentionally leak classified information like that and risk jail time. The only plausible explanations I know is that they weren't actually given classified information (and thus are perhaps making a guess) or that they're deliberately being misleading, therefore not leaking classified information.

Leaking classified information is practically a job requirement for "officials".  Risking jail time is only for some low-level submariner with some stray photographs they forgot about.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: the_other_Doug on 01/09/2018 05:34 AM
What I want to know is what officials would intentionally leak classified information like that and risk jail time. The only plausible explanations I know is that they weren't actually given classified information (and thus are perhaps making a guess) or that they're deliberately being misleading, therefore not leaking classified information.

Leaking classified information is practically a job requirement for "officials".  Risking jail time is only for some low-level submariner with some stray photographs they forgot about.

Everyone knows the fastest way to get classified information leaked is to brief the Congressional leadership about it.  Party makes no difference, it's been this way for at least the 62 years I've been on the planet, and probably for a good century before that...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: meekGee on 01/09/2018 05:48 AM
Notice that all of the reports about failure to separate use the anonymous-passive "is assumed" phrasing.

"Assumed"?  By whom?  Who assumed?  The reporter?  A Reddit poster?

I'd like to see a report that says "XXX is assuming that the payload failed to separate from S2", for some credible value of XXX - before I even consider the report worth more than exactly zero.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: IanH84 on 01/09/2018 05:49 AM
It could be that SpaceX *insisted* on a Northrop Grumman payload adapter if they wouldn't be able to confirm successful separation due to it being classified.

I don't know what the standard practice is with classified payloads. Seems to me if you're the classified payload, you would want the upper stage to be able to confirm separation (via contact switches at the sep plane) as a pre-condition before doing C/CAM and de-orbit, otherwise you risk splashing the payload prematurely in case of failed separation.

You don't have to release any information publicly about separation, but wouldn't you at least want the upper stage to be able to detect proper separation and not de-orbit prematurely in case separation failed?

Sure.  But since we've been told on many, many occasions that SpaceX does not *ever* send control inputs to the Falcons in-flight, *and* since they (supposedly) had no telemetry from the other side of the PAM for any confirmations of anything, seeing as SpaceX was not allowed to see any of the payload's telemetry (again per a lot of speculation here), then it's at least possible that the S2 literally could not be told to alter its pre-programmed sequence.

And, if all SpaceX could see on their telemetry was that the sep signal had been sent, they may not even have had a clue that the payload had not, in fact, separated.  Especially if they were not allowed to access any payload-viewing cameras -- which, to be honest, since SpaceX didn't build the PAM, there might not even have been one.  Or, if there were, it could have been something that could not communicate in any way back to SpaceX.

One last minor nit -- fairing separation confirmation on the SpaceX webcast came something like three minutes after the fact.  Any possibility that this could have been somehow related to the reported separation failure?  After all, the fairing is electrically connected to S2 through the PAM, right?  So, if the PAM was not relaying signals properly, maybe the fairing sep indicators acting up could be related to the failure of the sep signal to reach the payload?

Or maybe the Black Control Center that took over monitoring S2 after MECO and staging just didn't have good communications lines back to the webcast people... there's just no way to know.
On the US Launch Report video, fairing separation is visible
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK4dELV4b9Q&t=198s
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 01/09/2018 06:06 AM
Marco Langbroek notes in New Zuma orbit estimates (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0068.html)
Quote
The sightings of the Falcon 9 upper stage from the Zuma launch venting fuel over East Africa some 2h 15m after launch, suggests that Zuma might be in a higher orbit than in my pre-launch estimate. Rather than ~400 km it might be ~900-1000 km.
<snip>
If correct, this means Zuma might become observable in the N hemisphere about a week from now.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 01/09/2018 06:16 AM
On the US Launch Report video, fairing separation is visible
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK4dELV4b9Q&t=198s

At 3:24?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rangertech1 on 01/09/2018 06:22 AM
I'm curious why there wasn't mention of a failed solar panel deployment. "Dead on orbit" is an indicator. Maybe I'm too old and forgot that some engineer invented the impossible to fail solar panel?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 06:29 AM
On the US Launch Report video, fairing separation is visible
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK4dELV4b9Q&t=198s

At 3:24?

Looks like 3:24 is indeed the time the fairing comes off. We can hear the announcer right then saying "fairing separation any second now..."
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/09/2018 06:43 AM
So, just throwing this out there: What if the speculation about a hypersonic re-entry test vehicle is true? If so, then the 'LEO target orbit' was misinformation and everything went as planned.

Zuma separated nominally after the upper stage completed putting it on its suborbital trajectory towards the Pacific Test Range (hence the independently-measured shorter-than-normal upper stage burn). The upper stage then fired a braking burn so it would come down well away from Zuma and not interfere with the vehicle tracking during EDL. The STRATCOM trace (USA 280?) was Zuma on its sub-orbital hop towards the area around Kwaljalein Atoll. Purely by coincidence, the faster Zuma reached its re-entry interface at the same time as the upper stage. Someone mentioned this to someone, hence the 're-entered with the upper stage' rumour.

DARPA would never tell anyone about the results of what would clearly have to be a large, expensive and sensitive bit of equipment so we'll never know whether this possibility is true.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FinalFrontier on 01/09/2018 07:01 AM
FWIW here. NBC is reporting spacecraft loss due to failure to separate from the second stage. They are also reporting the vehicle fell into the sea, which is making me question the entire report because I am not sure the second stage has even re entered yet. Do we know whether it has or not?

To me this is a critical point here. If the failure was separation related it could be the fault of SpaceX. If the spacecraft separated but then failed to work it's not their fault. Big distinction here.

NBC report: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-destroyed-after-launch-officials-say-n835976
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 01/09/2018 07:08 AM
FWIW here.
>
To me this is a critical point here. If the failure was separation related it could be the fault of SpaceX.
>
NBC report: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-destroyed-after-launch-officials-say-n835976

Not if the payload adapter failed. It  was provided by Northrop-Grumman,  not SpaceX.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FinalFrontier on 01/09/2018 07:19 AM
FWIW here.
>
To me this is a critical point here. If the failure was separation related it could be the fault of SpaceX.
>
NBC report: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-destroyed-after-launch-officials-say-n835976

Not if the payload adapter failed. It  was provided by Northrop-Grumman,  not SpaceX.

Was just about to post again regarding this. Here's the thing, I had heard prior to launch that SpaceX never even actually processed this spacecraft, they were just sent the vehicle and the payload adapter possibly with the fairing already on.

What extent did SpaceX have in processing, and is there any chance a problem with the adapter could be related to attachment to the second stage?

From what the most reliable sources have said the only thing we have is "Falcon 9 performed nominally" which would tend to suggest the failure was with the adapter or the spacecraft and SpaceX is not liable.

I know they probably won't comment about this but it's really a big deal. If this bird was really as expensive as rumor suggests then liability for the failure is huge because it determines who has to pay for it.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: yokem55 on 01/09/2018 07:23 AM
FWIW here.
>
To me this is a critical point here. If the failure was separation related it could be the fault of SpaceX.
>
NBC report: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-destroyed-after-launch-officials-say-n835976

Not if the payload adapter failed. It  was provided by Northrop-Grumman,  not SpaceX.

Was just about to post again regarding this. Here's the thing, I had heard prior to launch that SpaceX never even actually processed this spacecraft, they were just sent the vehicle and the payload adapter possibly with the fairing already on.

What extent did SpaceX have in processing, and is there any chance a problem with the adapter could be related to attachment to the second stage?

From what the most reliable sources have said the only thing we have is "Falcon 9 performed nominally" which would tend to suggest the failure was with the adapter or the spacecraft and SpaceX is not liable.

I know they probably won't comment about this but it's really a big deal. If this bird was really as expensive as rumor suggests then liability for the failure is huge because it determines who has to pay for it.
Liability for loss of the payload is strictly the customer's. That is why commercial folks buy insurance policies to cover launch mishaps. The government always self insures thier payloads, and NG, as large as they are, would likely have self insured it as well.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jimbowman on 01/09/2018 07:24 AM
I know they probably won't comment about this but it's really a big deal. If this bird was really as expensive as rumor suggests then liability for the failure is huge because it determines who has to pay for it.

U.S taxpayers
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 01/09/2018 07:29 AM
Here are screen grabs of the fairing separation. Note that the vehicle is moving to the right from the perspective of the viewer. We can clearly see a fairing separate from the top. However, the bottom fairing appears as a bright blob right next to the exhaust. Not sure if this is due to the viewing angle.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FinalFrontier on 01/09/2018 07:30 AM
FWIW here.
>
To me this is a critical point here. If the failure was separation related it could be the fault of SpaceX.
>
NBC report: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/u-s-spy-satellite-believed-destroyed-after-launch-officials-say-n835976

Not if the payload adapter failed. It  was provided by Northrop-Grumman,  not SpaceX.

Was just about to post again regarding this. Here's the thing, I had heard prior to launch that SpaceX never even actually processed this spacecraft, they were just sent the vehicle and the payload adapter possibly with the fairing already on.

What extent did SpaceX have in processing, and is there any chance a problem with the adapter could be related to attachment to the second stage?

From what the most reliable sources have said the only thing we have is "Falcon 9 performed nominally" which would tend to suggest the failure was with the adapter or the spacecraft and SpaceX is not liable.

I know they probably won't comment about this but it's really a big deal. If this bird was really as expensive as rumor suggests then liability for the failure is huge because it determines who has to pay for it.
Liability for loss of the payload is strictly the customer's. That is why commercial folks buy insurance policies to cover launch mishaps. The government always self insures thier payloads, and NG, as large as they are, would likely have self insured it as well.

Still a big deal because if it's the fault of SpaceX it will affect their ability to get future government payloads.

But, given the fact they have not stood down flows for other missions it doesn't seem like it was their hardware.

Interestingly, WSJ/bloomberg, two of the most ill repute publications around, are both contradicting everyone else and saying the second stage itself failed. That is where most of the conflicting rumors are coming from.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: docmordrid on 01/09/2018 07:39 AM
Most other such stories referenced Andy Pasztor's WSJ/Dow Jones story, so I'd give them a lower demerit count. Slightly.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FinalFrontier on 01/09/2018 07:42 AM
Most other stories referenced Andy Pasztor's WSJ/Dow Jones story, so I'd give them a lower demerit count.
Yea same here. The other thing here was that we know it made at least one orbit and the 45th Space Wing congratulated SpaceX on nominal performance uphill, so its clearly BS. WSJ is the source of the version of the story where it's SpaceX's fault, and its amazing to see how many other media outlits are parroting this line "SpaceX lost classified US Gov Payload".
From everything we have it really looks like the bird itself or the northrup adapter failed. Made one maybe two orbits and burned up with S2. Not SpaceX's fault.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 01/09/2018 07:43 AM
Here's confirmation from Wired, November 2017

https://www.wired.com/story/spacexs-top-secret-zuma-mission-launches-today/

Quote
Veteran aerospace manufacturer Northrop Grumman built the payload, according to a document obtained by WIRED and later confirmed by the company. The company says it built Zuma for the US government, and its also providing an adapter to mate Zuma with SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket. But thats where information starts tapering off.

A separately provided payload attach fitting (PAF) might explain why the fairing issue did not effect the Iridium launch in December. The fairing is attached to the PAF, which is then bolted to the second stage. An issue with a custom PAF and the fairing thus should not affect Iridium. Photo below showing SpaceX PAF and fairing.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Surfdaddy on 01/09/2018 07:44 AM
Just a thought. If I wanted to "lose" an important orbital payload, i would supply the payload sep adaptor so that there could be no blame on the launch contractor, and then I could claim mission failure although it actually successfully made it to orbit. And then I do some burns on the satellite to another orbit, and nobody finds my it...the press speculation is payload is gone, splashed. And the launch contractor is not at fault.

Speculation, but I wonder how likely that scenario is?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: saliva_sweet on 01/09/2018 07:46 AM
So, just throwing this out there: What if the speculation about a hypersonic re-entry test vehicle is true? If so, then the 'LEO target orbit' was misinformation and everything went as planned.

While it would be tempting to speculate that, it wouldn't explain why congresspeople are being told Zuma failed. I think this explains the multitude of confused and conflicting reports from sources that appear to not really know what they are talking about regarding a highly secret mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/09/2018 07:48 AM
The WSJ/Dow Jones story was by Andy Pasztor, and CNBC seems to have run with it.

Pardon me while I go buy 5 lbs of salt.

Ah, Andy Pasztor. Better known as the worst space journalist ever.

Five lbs of salt won't be enough when dealing with one of his "stories". Five metric tons of salt would be more fitting.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: nacnud on 01/09/2018 07:58 AM
Here are screen grabs of the fairing separation....

Thanks for doing that, I interpreted it the same way. Incase anyone wants to go through the video in youtube, pause it and you can move through frame by frame using , and .
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Rocket Science on 01/09/2018 08:01 AM
Any failure (if this were the case) would have to be reported to the Congressional Oversight Committee and due to the classified nature of the mission would be done behind closed doors...
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/09/2018 08:06 AM
What do we make of the pretty pictures from Sudan?  (See here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768947#msg1768947) and here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44175.msg1768955#msg1768955).)  Is this expected F9 S2 behavior?  Has it been seen before?
This seems like a key question.  I was surprised to see spinning, but others claimed this was normal.  I'm skeptical.  The only time I recall seeing a second stage spin like this (viewed from the ground) was during the very first Falcon 9 launch, when the second stage lost roll control.

 - Ed kyle

Wouldn't the LOX venting naturally result in spinning?
No.  Typically, venting is done symmetrically to prevent unwanted rolls, yaws, etc.  On the other hand, they might purposefully put the stage into a spin for reentries. 

 - Ed Kyle

Having you stage reenter while rotating will improve the chance of the stage falling apart early and thus result in a more complete burn-up of the stage. Less pieces will reach the surface and those pieces will be smaller.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/09/2018 08:16 AM
On the US Launch Report video, fairing separation is visible

At 3:24?

Yes, and it is right on time.

Press kit (http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/zumapresskit_2018.pdf) says "Fairing Deployment" at 3:08 mission elapsed time.
Launch occurs at 0:15 into the video.
Add 3:08 to that and you get 3:23 mission elapsed time.

At 3:24 (only a second later) we see the fairing fall past the S2. So, looks like fairing separation was right on time.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 01/09/2018 08:20 AM
So, just throwing this out there: What if the speculation about a hypersonic re-entry test vehicle is true? If so, then the 'LEO target orbit' was misinformation and everything went as planned.

While it would be tempting to speculate that, it wouldn't explain why congresspeople are being told Zuma failed. I think this explains the multitude of confused and conflicting reports from sources that appear to not really know what they are talking about regarding a highly secret mission.

That's something I've been thinking about. The Congresspersons aren't saying it failed, their staffers are. They heard part of a conversation about Zuma coincidentally reaching interface at the same time as the Falcon 9 upper stage did at a different location and, assuming without knowledge that Zuma was a satellite, they concluded that this meant the mission had failed.

In the fine tradition of Washington DC, this partial information has become accepted fact and has been repeated to Mr Pasztor from multiple persons all based on this initial single incorrectly-overheard conversation. As it is in DARPA and the DoD's best interests to have as much disinformation and uncertainty as possible in the air about the project, no-one is interested in correcting this beyond quiet assurances that Falcon-9 performed properly.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: DJPledger on 01/09/2018 08:28 AM
Please stop speculating about Zuma. No one is going to say anything about it. If SpaceX's upcoming launches are not put on hold then we will know it was not SpaceX's fault.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Semmel on 01/09/2018 08:51 AM
Marco Langbroek notes in New Zuma orbit estimates (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2018/0068.html)
Quote
The sightings of the Falcon 9 upper stage from the Zuma launch venting fuel over East Africa some 2h 15m after launch, suggests that Zuma might be in a higher orbit than in my pre-launch estimate. Rather than ~400 km it might be ~900-1000 km.
<snip>
If correct, this means Zuma might become observable in the N hemisphere about a week from now.

Amateur sat trackers are the only viable source of information beyond the launch and the confirmation by SpaceX that F9 performed nominally. There is no other independent source of information. Lets wait a week and see what we see.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vanoord on 01/09/2018 08:57 AM
That's something I've been thinking about. The Congresspersons aren't saying it failed, their staffers are. They heard part of a conversation about Zuma coincidentally reaching interface at the same time as the Falcon 9 upper stage did at a different location and, assuming without knowledge that Zuma was a satellite, they concluded that this meant the mission had failed.

In the fine tradition of Washington DC, this partial information has become accepted fact and has been repeated to Mr Pasztor from multiple persons all based on this initial single incorrectly-overheard conversation. As it is in DARPA and the DoD's best interests to have as much disinformation and uncertainty as possible in the air about the project, no-one is interested in correcting this beyond quiet assurances that Falcon-9 performed properly.

Quite possible for staffers to be purposefully misleading if their motivation is to improve the chances of SpaceX's competitors gaining future launch contracts.

And arguably more likely than deliberately leaking classified information, something that could result in severe sanctions.

Either way, given the nature of the mission, the full details are unlikely to be known - so the SpaceX statement that the rocket's performance was nominal is the most we're ever likely to have.

Unless, of course, the satellite gets observed.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jet Black on 01/09/2018 09:42 AM
As it is in DARPA and the DoD's best interests to have as much disinformation and uncertainty as possible in the air about the project, no-one is interested in correcting this beyond quiet assurances that Falcon-9 performed properly.

This is basically the summary of everything we need to know, to be honest. SpaceX did their job as contracted and at the end of the day, that is all the other customers care about. We aren't going to find out anything about that payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: vanoord on 01/09/2018 09:47 AM
This is basically the summary of everything we need to know, to be honest. SpaceX did their job as contracted and at the end of the day, that is all the other customers care about. We aren't going to find out anything about that payload.

Unless it's observed - or unless we see another fairing with a Northrop Grumman logo on it in 12 months' time or so, in which case we can probably go through this all over again ;)
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Katana on 01/09/2018 09:57 AM
I'm curious why there wasn't mention of a failed solar panel deployment. "Dead on orbit" is an indicator. Maybe I'm too old and forgot that some engineer invented the impossible to fail solar panel?
ZUMA is too confidental to have any insiders mention about details.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Star One on 01/09/2018 10:27 AM
Aviation Week’s take on the matter.

http://m.aviationweek.com/space/fate-classified-zuma-mission-unknown
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Katana on 01/09/2018 10:33 AM
Just a thought. If I wanted to "lose" an important orbital payload, i would supply the payload sep adaptor so that there could be no blame on the launch contractor, and then I could claim mission failure although it actually successfully made it to orbit. And then I do some burns on the satellite to another orbit, and nobody finds my it...the press speculation is payload is gone, splashed. And the launch contractor is not at fault.

Speculation, but I wonder how likely that scenario is?
How / why could the story of adaptor be disclassified immediately, while the mission is too confidental to be confirmed as success/ failure?

The source of information itself may be a big clue.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jaredgalen on 01/09/2018 11:01 AM
If the payload adapter did fail, and LEO was achieved, is there a procedure for delaying a deorbit burn to troubleshoot?
With payloads, you would think that failure to separate would be worth waiting and looking at.
Perhaps there are orbital dynamics that make this nonsense, I don't know enough to speculate further.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: jgoldader on 01/09/2018 11:26 AM
To preface, we could all be speculating needlessly due to a successful maskirovka.  And, I expect the details of a particular payload separation system could be mostly ITARred.  But, wouldn't you want 2-string redundancy for what seems to be a "one chance to get it right" mission critical event?  So, two wiring harnesses with separate commands sent through each, something like that?  I might've missed discussion on this upthread; if so, apologies.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: SimonFD on 01/09/2018 11:37 AM
If the payload adapter did fail, and LEO was achieved, is there a procedure for delaying a deorbit burn to troubleshoot?
With payloads, you would think that failure to separate would be worth waiting and looking at.
Perhaps there are orbital dynamics that make this nonsense, I don't know enough to speculate further.

I think the main limitation for on-orbit operations is the battery condition of the upper stage. I don't think it lasts very long (see discussion of FH demo mission).
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Norm38 on 01/09/2018 11:53 AM
I have a question for those with industry experience that I haven't seen asked, and I would like to speculate on.

Let's assume that the ONLY thing that went wrong, was separation failure.  Immediately after that, we have two functioning pre-programmed spacecraft that cannot communicate with each other, that think they are flying separately, but are still connected.

Zuma would begin firing thrusters to finalize its orbit.  Meanwhile S2 would fire its thrusters to target the de-orbit burn.  Two independent propulsion/guidance systems targeting two different orbits, connected together.

Who wins/loses that tug of war? Does that explain any of the observations we have, such as the "spiral"?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: FutureMartian97 on 01/09/2018 11:55 AM
All of this talk saying how the payload failed to separate really makes me think of how BFR could've saved the day by simply bringing Zuma back to Earth for repairs
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: tvg98 on 01/09/2018 11:58 AM
We know that NOTAMs are provided for areas where the second stage is supposed to brake up on re-entry. Does that mean that SpaceX must attempt re-entry at that specific space? Or could they choose to leave the second stage in orbit at that point?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Kabloona on 01/09/2018 12:19 PM
I have a question for those with industry experience that I haven't seen asked, and I would like to speculate on.

Let's assume that the ONLY thing that went wrong, was separation failure.  Immediately after that, we have two functioning pre-programmed spacecraft that cannot communicate with each other, that think they are flying separately, but are still connected.

Zuma would begin firing thrusters to finalize its orbit.  Meanwhile S2 would fire its thrusters to target the de-orbit burn.  Two independent propulsion/guidance systems targeting two different orbits, connected together.

Who wins/looses that tug of war? Does that explain any of the observations we have, such as the "spiral"?

Excellent question. Some of the answer depends on things we don't know. Usually the spacecraft has an electrical means of knowing it has separated (eg contact switch at the sep interface) which tells it to "wake up" and begin its mission. That is typically done in order to prevent the payload from mistakenly/prematurely trying to do its own thing while still attached to the upper stage.

But if separation doesn't occur and the contact switch at the sep plane doesn't open/close, the payload doesn't sense sep and doesn't "wake up" and try to begin on-orbit maneuvers. Assuming ZUMA is designed like a typical payload in that regard.

On the other side, the upper stage is typically pre-programmed to do a collision/contamination avoidance maneuver after payload sep, then deorbit itself. The only way this wouldn't happen is if the upper stage has its own (independent of payload's) separation indicator/sensor and a branch of flight computer instructions that gets chosen in case separation is not sensed. But that assumes there are any good alternative options available in case of failed separation. It's possible there aren't and that the upper stage is designed to issue a sep command and then continue on blindly with C/CAM and deorbit regardless.

In which case it's conceivable the payload remains attached and "dead" because it didn't receive its wake-up call from the separation indicator switch, while the upper stage continues its pre-programmed routine with the payload attached.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: sghill on 01/09/2018 12:26 PM
Lots of speculation that zuma was a satellite that failed and reentered around the same time as S2.

I'll add to the noise in a different direction by speculating that Zuma was a hypersonic vehicle, and that it functioned as planned.

Northrup Grumman has been in the hypersonic vehicle business for a long time, and indeed, they are hiring for hypersonic vehicle design engineers in Melbourne right now (check their HR site).

Just last spring, I saw one of their hypersonic cruise missile program trailers parked at a Busy Bee gas station on the way to the Cape with several security vehicle escorts.  When I saw it, I giggled to myself that their super secret program had its damn logo emblazoned all over the side of the trailer.

So, unless Zuma was really a satellite, everything else- including why no agency will own up to the launch- fits nicely with it being a vehicle test for NG.

Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:34 PM
How would stage separation fail? What are the common methods for separating payloads? Which might NG have used?

Miswired, bad ordnance, bad command, etc

Unfortunately, it's common that failures happen at the physical/electrical interface of two components supplied by different contractors...in this case (potentially) the payload adapter supplied by NG and (presumably) the separation command electrical harness by Space X. When one contractor supplies, say, the ordnance on the payload adapter, and the other contractor supplies the electrical connector that interfaces with it, a design error on one side won't necessarily be caught on the ground.

Such a case happened on TOS/ACTS mission on the Shuttle, where Lockheed Martin miswired the electrical connectors to the separation system supplied by a subcontractor, with the result that the sep system fired incorrectly in space, despite numerous preflight  fit checks, tests, etc, on the ground.
Which makes it all the more possible that the issue was precisely that-  we know that SpaceX conducted multiple wet dress rehearsals, plus the full static fire back in November... That being said, the wet dress rehearsals were all done without the payload/fairing attached, so that separation couldn't have been tested then... Makes me truly think that NG is at fault here... I just hope we get a little more clarification in the coming hours and days- tho my hopes of SpaceX not getting dragged through the mud in the media is a fools errand at best. Hopefully SpaceX is at least allowed to explain in some way to their actual customers that they're not at fault and that they did the job they were paid to do...

I truly wonder however if this will hurt or even destroy SpaceX's chances for future missions of this nature... especially when politics could possibly muck things up even further


On the Tech Crunch thing- they're owned by AOL... so it's probably down to quick lazy journalism...

Actual separation is never tested.  The signals to separate can be tested during WDR if there is something to record it.

Don't understand your point
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:37 PM
Remember that there are cameras on SpaceX vehicles taking video that we never get to see.  If this vehicle failed to separate, there is video IN ADDITION TO the telemetry.  Everybody within the classified loop would know very quickly that something had happened.  Meanwhile, we have the C.O. of the 45th Space Wing congratulating SpaceX and his people for a successful launch.  The classified nature of this mission makes it a magnet for those with an agenda.  The people being attacked cannot defend themselves.

Edit: for typo.

Those cameras would not be used on these missions
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/09/2018 12:40 PM
Lots of speculation that zuma was a satellite that failed and reentered around the same time as S2.

I'll add to the noise in a different direction by speculating that Zuma was a hypersonic vehicle, and that it functioned as planned.

Northrup Grumman has been in the hypersonic vehicle business for a long time, and indeed, they are hiring for hypersonic vehicle design engineers in Melbourne right now (check their HR site).

Just last spring, I saw one of their hypersonic cruise missile program trailers parked at a Busy Bee gas station on the way to the Cape with several security vehicle escorts.  When I saw it, I giggled to myself that their super secret program had its damn logo emblazoned all over the side of the trailer.

So, unless Zuma was really a satellite, everything else- including why no agency will own up to the launch- fits nicely with it being a vehicle test for NG.



Not that I go along with your suggestion but it would be one explanation why NG furnished the payload adapter.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:44 PM
Here's confirmation from Wired, November 2017

https://www.wired.com/story/spacexs-top-secret-zuma-mission-launches-today/

Quote
Veteran aerospace manufacturer Northrop Grumman built the payload, according to a document obtained by WIRED and later confirmed by the company. The company says it built Zuma for the US government, and its also providing an adapter to mate Zuma with SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket. But thats where information starts tapering off.

A separately provided payload attach fitting (PAF) might explain why the fairing issue did not effect the Iridium launch in December. The fairing is attached to the PAF, which is then bolted to the second stage. An issue with a custom PAF and the fairing thus should not affect Iridium. Photo below showing SpaceX PAF and fairing.

No, wrong takeaway. 
SpaceX will always provide the PAF, the black cone that interfaces with the fairing.  The Payload Adaptor ( the cone that goes between the PAF and spacecraft) can be provided by SpaceX or the payload.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: su27k on 01/09/2018 12:45 PM
Please stop speculating about Zuma. No one is going to say anything about it. If SpaceX's upcoming launches are not put on hold then we will know it was not SpaceX's fault.

Just for the sake of argument, could there be scenarios where SpaceX is at fault but can still pressing on with upcoming launches? For example what if the thing failed is unique to the Zuma mission, for example a special payload adapter just for Zuma (Yes I know there is a report saying NG provided the adapter, but given all the secrecy and confusion over this mission, it not inconceivable that that single report is in error), in which case all the missions not using this adapter can still go on?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:46 PM
I'm curious why there wasn't mention of a failed solar panel deployment. "Dead on orbit" is an indicator. Maybe I'm too old and forgot that some engineer invented the impossible to fail solar panel?

There might not be any deployable solar arrays
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:48 PM
All of this talk saying how the payload failed to separate really makes me think of how BFR could've saved the day by simply bringing Zuma back to Earth for repairs

can't say that
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Paul_G on 01/09/2018 12:48 PM
A good point on why NG came with their own payload adapter, but there was a callout at T+2.07 for someone to relinquish control of the camera(s). Was this referring to ground based cameras that would have shown stage sep, or rocket / payload adaptor based cameras that on other missions show the payload.

Paul
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Orbiter on 01/09/2018 12:49 PM
On the US Launch Report video, fairing separation is visible

At 3:24?

Yes, and it is right on time.

Press kit (http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/zumapresskit_2018.pdf) says "Fairing Deployment" at 3:08 mission elapsed time.
Launch occurs at 0:15 into the video.
Add 3:08 to that and you get 3:23 mission elapsed time.

At 3:24 (only a second later) we see the fairing fall past the S2. So, looks like fairing separation was right on time.

FWIW, I was tracking the launch in my 6" telescope in Tampa and I saw at least one fairing come off.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:49 PM
FYI, payload separation is usually detected by breakwires.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MaxTeranous on 01/09/2018 12:50 PM
Please stop speculating about Zuma. No one is going to say anything about it. If SpaceX's upcoming launches are not put on hold then we will know it was not SpaceX's fault.

Just for the sake of argument, could there be scenarios where SpaceX is at fault but can still pressing on with upcoming launches? For example what if the thing failed is unique to the Zuma mission, for example a special payload adapter just for Zuma (Yes I know there is a report saying NG provided the adapter, but given all the secrecy and confusion over this mission, it not inconceivable that that single report is in error), in which case all the missions not using this adapter can still go on?

No, because it calls into question the methods and processes which led to the use and installation of that special adaptor, methods and processes that are used on every flight regardless of payload.

Effectively if SpaceX carries on like nothing happened then the Zuma F9 performed correctly. There's no other explanation without full blown tinfoil hattery.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/09/2018 12:51 PM
we know that SpaceX conducted multiple wet dress rehearsals, plus the full static fire back in November... That being said, the wet dress rehearsals were all done without the payload/fairing attached, so that separation couldn't have been tested then... Makes me truly think that NG is at fault here...

Actual separation is never tested.  The signals to separate can be tested during WDR if there is something to record it.

To expand on Jim's usual terse post...
Spacecraft separation from a launch vehicle usually involves pyrotechnics.
You can't test pyrotechnics prior to launch. Testing them would set them off which would require replacement of the pyrotechnics.

It is the one reason why SpaceX primarily uses pneumatics for separation events, such as stage separation and fairing release.
However, the launcher-to-spacecraft separation plane is, per industry standard, usually equipped with a pyrotechnically-driven separation system.

But, failures of space-rated pyrotechnic devices are exceedingly rare.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: M.E.T. on 01/09/2018 12:51 PM
What would SpaceX's disclosure rights be in terms of communicating with other prospective customers about the results of this mission? Would they be allowed to confirm to justifiably worried clients that this was a successful mission as far as SpaceX's role was concerned?

And if pressed, would they be allowed to specify why they are confident of that assertion? Or is the potential reputational damage associated with the current speculation a price SpaceX has to pay in exchange for top secret government contracts?

Surely there is a right to protect the company's image that should be balanced with the classified nature of the mission?
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: woods170 on 01/09/2018 12:52 PM
What would be SpaceX's disclosure rights in terms of communicating with other prospective customers about the results of this mission? Would they be allowed to confirm to justifiably worried clients that this was a successful mission as far as SpaceX's role was concerned?

They already did that via their public statement.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MaxTeranous on 01/09/2018 12:54 PM
What would be SpaceX's disclosure rights in terms of communicating with other prospective customers about the results of this mission? Would they be allowed to confirm to justifiably worried clients that this was a successful mission as far as SpaceX's role was concerned?

They already did that via their public statement.

I'd expect there'll be more of a statement at some stage. A one off msg to an individual reporter doesn't have the impact a press conference for example would. Even if all you said in that press conference was "F9 was fine" and "you have to ask NG that" over and over again.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/09/2018 12:56 PM
Having a press conference about a classified mission sounds exactly like something you shouldn't do for a classified mission.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Jim on 01/09/2018 12:58 PM
Lots of speculation that zuma was a satellite that failed and reentered around the same time as S2.

I'll add to the noise in a different direction by speculating that Zuma was a hypersonic vehicle, and that it functioned as planned.

Northrup Grumman has been in the hypersonic vehicle business for a long time, and indeed, they are hiring for hypersonic vehicle design engineers in Melbourne right now (check their HR site).

Just last spring, I saw one of their hypersonic cruise missile program trailers parked at a Busy Bee gas station on the way to the Cape with several security vehicle escorts.  When I saw it, I giggled to myself that their super secret program had its damn logo emblazoned all over the side of the trailer.

So, unless Zuma was really a satellite, everything else- including why no agency will own up to the launch- fits nicely with it being a vehicle test for NG.

such a payload would have been tested on the west coast like the other similar vehicles
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: M.E.T. on 01/09/2018 12:59 PM
Having a press conference about a classified mission sounds exactly like something you shouldn't do for a classified mission.

I guess the question is, would for example the head of Iridium, or some other SpaceX client, be given more detail about the performance of the F9 on this mission than the general public would receive? Especially if the current speculation has such an individual reconsidering the risk associated with a planned launch contract with SpaceX?

Edited to add:

Even something as mundane as a quoted success percentage for historical F9 launches would be affected by whether this launch is considered a success or not. And that in itself would be more information than is currently confirmed.
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: MaxTeranous on 01/09/2018 01:01 PM
Having a press conference about a classified mission sounds exactly like something you shouldn't do for a classified mission.

The fact that there was a launch isn't classified, they can talk about that plenty. Hard to classify ~ 900kN of thrust in Florida  ;D
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: AbuSimbel on 01/09/2018 01:05 PM
We now have an official statement from Gwynne Shotwell:
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DTGrIxfUMAEJHbl.jpg:large)
https://twitter.com/nova_road/status/950729181897347073
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/09/2018 01:07 PM
The following statement is from Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX:
 
“For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible. 

“Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule. Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight. We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks.”
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: phantomdj on 01/09/2018 01:17 PM
According to AmericaSpace, ZUMA Presumed a 'Total Loss' After Falling Into Ocean, Say Officials.

http://www.americaspace.com/2018/01/09/zuma-presumed-a-total-loss-after-falling-into-ocean-say-officials/

"Two anonymous government officials familiar with the classified ZUMA mission, launched by SpaceX on Jan 7, declare the payload a “total loss” after falling into the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite, which reportedly cost upwards of $1 billion or more, is believed to have failed to reach orbit after not separating from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage. Northrop also reportedly made the payload adaptor for ZUMA, but will not comment on classified missions. SpaceX however says their rocket performed just as it was supposed to, with “data indicating Falcon 9 performed nominally”, said a spokesperson with the company. Suggesting anything that may have happened was the fault of Northrop."
Title: Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
Post by: Paul_G on 01/09/2018 01:24 PM
According to AmericaSpace, ZUMA Presumed a 'Total Loss' After Falling Into Ocean, Say Officials.

http://www.americaspace.com/2018/01/09/zuma-presumed