Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 - Iridium NEXT Flight 1 DISCUSSION (Jan. 14 2017)  (Read 285700 times)

Offline docmordrid

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DISCUSSION THREAD for the Falcon 9 launches with Iridium NEXT sats.

Flight 1: Successful launch and first stage offshore landing, January 14, 2017 (9:54 PST/17:54 UTC) on Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg

   Flight 1 launched 10 satellites into Iridium plane 6.  Two of the satellites will move to Iridium plane 5.

   NSF Threads for Iridium NEXT Flight 1: Discussion / Updates / L2 Coverage (Flight 1) / ASDS / Party / Viewing the flight from Vandenberg
   NSF Articles for Iridium NEXT Flight 1:
      Booster Prep: SpaceX conducts Falcon 9 test; AMOS-6 investigation narrows (the booster being readied in that article was actually for Iridium)
      Booster Prep: SpaceX prime Falcon 9 rockets for December return
      Pre-Launch: SpaceX set to return to action with RTF Falcon 9 launch of Iridium spacecraft
      Launch: SpaceX Returns To Flight with Iridium NEXT launch – and landing
      Booster Recovery: Landed Falcon 9 booster sails into Los Angeles

Flight 2: Successful launch June 25 at 13:25:14 PDT (20:25:14 UTC) on Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.  Landing of first stage (new booster 1036) on ASDS Just Read the Instructions successful.

   Flight 2 launched 10 satellites into Iridium plane 3.  Four of those satellites will then be drifted to plane 2 and  one will be drifted to plane 4.

   NSF Threads for Iridium NEXT Flight 2: Discussion / Updates / L2 Coverage May-June
   NSF Articles for Iridium NEXT Flight 2:  SpaceX testing Vandy Falcon 9 amid schedule realignment
      SpaceX Doubleheader Part 2 – Falcon 9 set for Iridium NEXT-2 launch

Flight 3: Successful launch October 9, 2017 at 0537 PDT/1237 UTC on Falcon 9 (new booster 1041) from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.  Successful landing of first stage on ASDS.

   Flight 3 will launch into plane 4.  All ten satellites will stay in plane 4.

   NSF Threads for Iridium NEXT Flight 3: Discussion

Flight 4: December 22, 2017 on reused Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.  Landing of first stage on ASDS is expected.

   Flight 4 will launch into plane 2.  One of the satellites will then drift to plane 1.

   NSF Threads for Iridium NEXT Flight 4: Discussion

Flight 5: Q1 2018 on reused Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.

   Flight 5 will launch 10 satellites into plane 1.

Flight 6 (5 Iridium sats with GRACE-FO): March 2018 on Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.

   NSF Threads for Iridium NEXT 6/GRACE-FO: Discussion

   Flight 6 will launch 5 satellites into plane 6.

Flight 7: Q2 2018 on Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.

   Flight 7 will launch into plane 5.

Flight 8: mid 2018 on Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg.

   Flight 8 will launch into plane 3.  One satellite each will be drifted to planes 2 and 4.



General information for Iridium flights 1-5, 7-8
   Payload Mass: 8600kg for 10 satellites + 1000kg for dispenser = 9600kg
   Launch orbit: 625km, 86.66 degrees
   Operational orbit: 778km, 86.4 degrees

81 Satellites will be built for Iridium NEXT, with 66 being needed for a fully operational constellation.  All of the satellites will carry ADS-B aviation tracking hosted payloads for Aireon, and 65 of the satellites will carry AIS maritime tracking hosted payloads for exactEarth.



Quote
Iridium and SpaceX Successfully Complete Dispenser Qualification Tests

Trio of Tests Prove Structural Integrity and Durability of Launch Equipment


Iridium Communications Inc. IRDM +0.01%  and SpaceX today announced the successful completion of dispenser qualification testing for the Iridium NEXT constellation. The dispenser is the mission-unique assembly that holds the satellites during launch and manages the perfectly timed separation of each satellite from the rocket, placing each of the satellites into its proper orbit. The testing program, a key milestone in the Iridium NEXT constellation build, included four types of testing on the satellite dispenser: fit check, separation and shock testing, a modal survey, and static loads testing. Overall the tests ensure launch shock environment, mechanical form, fit and function, separation dynamics, fundamental frequency and structural integrity.

SpaceX is charged with delivering the majority of satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation into their low Earth orbit. At each launch, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry 10 satellites. In total, SpaceX will launch 70 satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation over a planned period of two years. Iridium is SpaceX's largest commercial customer, and, with an investment of $453.1 million, the Iridium deal represents the largest single commercial space launch contract in history.
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Other SpaceX resources on NASASpaceflight:
   SpaceX News Articles (Recent)  /   SpaceX News Articles from 2006 (Including numerous exclusive Elon interviews)
   SpaceX Dragon Articles  /  SpaceX Missions Section (with Launch Manifest and info on past and future missions)
   L2 SpaceX Section
« Last Edit: 10/27/2017 02:57 AM by gongora »
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Offline sghill

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Hmmm. I'm having trouble coming up with an acronym that spells out P E Z for this device. :)
Bring the thunder Elon!

Offline Chris Bergin

I think we can use this as the discussion thread for now.

Offline Barrie

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Hmmm. I'm having trouble coming up with an acronym that spells out P E Z for this device. :)

Phased Ejection ... something beginning with Z.

HTH  :)

Offline docmordrid

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Payload Ejection giZmo

Offline Burninate

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Is this distinct from the existing ESPA hex ring bus that looked like it might become a standard for 100-200kg payloads?

EDIT:
Yes it is.  This is another scale entirely, 800kg per unit * 10 units per launch * 7 launches.

WP:
Quote
70 satellites will be put in orbit by seven launches of 10 satellites each on the Falcon 9, plus two of the 800 kilograms (1,800 lb) Iridium NEXT satellites on a single launch[17] of the an ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket, beginning in 2015 and completing the refresh of the entire constellation by 2017, as of August 2012.[13]
« Last Edit: 07/04/2014 09:20 PM by Burninate »

Offline baldusi

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So, a 9.5 tonne payload to LEO. Probably the heaviest payload to LEO in a long time. Now I understand why if you saw a future with multiple LEO fleets you'd have developed something like the EELV.


Offline TrevorMonty

Booster recovery shouldn't be an issue on these launches. I wonder if Irdium get a discount on every flight where booster is recovered.

Offline SoulWager

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I wonder if Irdium get a discount on every flight where booster is recovered.
I doubt it, if there's a discount for anyone, it would be the people flying on a reused core. Only after reusability is demonstrated will it start to impact the prices of new cores.  It may be a matter of moving sacrificial f9 1.1 missions to reusable FH missions.

Offline Karloss12

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I wonder if Irdium get a discount on every flight where booster is recovered.
I doubt it, if there's a discount for anyone, it would be the people flying on a reused core. Only after reusability is demonstrated will it start to impact the prices of new cores.  It may be a matter of moving sacrificial f9 1.1 missions to reusable FH missions.

With a complex machine like a car, failure is most likely to occur during the first 1000 miles or after 150,000miles.

During the first 1000miles you are most likely to learn of flaws in the materials or fabrication errors.  After 1000miles the cars on average run well for years.  Until it reaches 150,000 miles and is just fatigued and worn out.

F9R will be no different.  First flight will be cheapest and carry inexpensive payloads, followed by say 10 serious expensive flights, followed by a few flights of unimportant fuel to orbiting fuel depots followed by retirement.

Offline Aerospace Dilettante

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"... manages the perfectly timed separation of each satellite from the rocket, placing each of the satellites into its proper orbit."

Can we infer from that, that each satellite is ejected while the second stage is under power?  Otherwise wouldn't the stage have to re-light (9 re-lights is a lot!) to put the individual satellites into different orbits?

Offline intrepidpursuit

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"... manages the perfectly timed separation of each satellite from the rocket, placing each of the satellites into its proper orbit."

Can we infer from that, that each satellite is ejected while the second stage is under power?  Otherwise wouldn't the stage have to re-light (9 re-lights is a lot!) to put the individual satellites into different orbits?

Ejecting anything you want to keep while under power seems like a bad idea since it would fall behind the rocket engine. Ejecting a payload fairing is hard enough and it is not designed to survive the event, much less with sensitive equipment on board. I think it is more likely that it gives them a nudge after just the right amount of glide time so they are evenly spaced. Either that or the timing sensitivity is overstated and they just release them as they approach the intended inclination and let an on board system adjust the trajectory. I'm no rocket scientist so correct me if I've flunked orbital dynamics class.

Offline douglas100

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Ejecting anything you want to keep while under power seems like a bad idea since it would fall behind the rocket engine. Ejecting a payload fairing is hard enough and it is not designed to survive the event, much less with sensitive equipment on board. I think it is more likely that it gives them a nudge after just the right amount of glide time so they are evenly spaced. Either that or the timing sensitivity is overstated and they just release them as they approach the intended inclination and let an on board system adjust the trajectory. I'm no rocket scientist so correct me if I've flunked orbital dynamics class.

Separating a satellite from a still operating stage was successfully done a long time ago http://www.nytimes.com/1964/01/31/soviet-lofts-2-satellites.html?_r=0.

But I think you've got it right: I think the timing is just to ensure even separation after the stage has shut down.
Douglas Clark

Offline kevin-rf

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It might be worth noting that the Trident II ejects it's MIRV's while still thrusting... But that's an SLBM reentry vehicle and not a spacecraft satellite ;)
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Offline garcianc

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It might be worth noting that the Trident II ejects it's MIRV's while still thrusting... But that's an SLBM reentry vehicle and not a spacecraft satellite ;)

The Trident third stage motor is ejected and the equipment section is in free ballistic flight and only making attitude and back-away adjustments at payload release (unclassified source here: http://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/slbm/d-5.htm). But you are right, this Programmed Elected Payload Ejection Zone (PEZ) dispenser could work similarly.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2014 06:48 PM by garcianc »

Offline kevin-rf

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https://twitter.com/IridiumComm/status/486534548965318657
Quote
@IridiumComm
We’ve completed the first successful end-to-end test call using #IridiumNEXT hardware: http://investor.iridium.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=858159 … #Milestone

http://investor.iridium.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=858159
Quote
July 8, 2014
First Successful Call Completed Over Iridium Next Hardware

MCLEAN, Va., July 8, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) and its prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, announced an important milestone in the development of the new Iridium NEXT constellation by completing the first successful end-to-end test call using Iridium NEXT hardware. The call provides initial validation of the L-band hardware and processing software that will be used in the Iridium NEXT constellation.

The test call was placed using an Iridium satellite phone. The call path was routed through Iridium NEXT satellite hardware components simulating the connection to a satellite, through Iridium's upgraded ground network, through the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and ultimately to a cell phone. This test marks a significant milestone in Iridium's system integration and testing efforts, and the first time a full end-to-end verification of the call flow has been accomplished.  This is also the first step in a comprehensive effort to fully validate service capability through the Iridium NEXT system, which is being readied for the first scheduled launch in 2015.

"Placing the first call through Iridium NEXT hardware is a big step for our team as they work to ensure high quality satellites will be ready for launch," said Scott Smith, chief operating officer. "The call quality we experienced was remarkable, and this achievement is a reflection of many long hours of design and development work by a very talented group of partners."

Iridium NEXT is the Company's next generation satellite constellation, offering improved bandwidth, improved data speeds and the global coverage Iridium is known for.  It will include a hosted payload for AireonSM, the first truly global aircraft tracking and surveillance capability, extending ADS-B coverage and benefits to every flight path across the planet. The Iridium NEXT satellite network will also serve as a platform for the company's Iridium PRIMESM offering, a turnkey solution for hosted payloads offering significant cost savings for civil, commercial and government payload customers.

For more information on Iridium NEXT, go to www.iridium.com.

About Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium® is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network — Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company has based these statements on its current expectations and the information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements in this presentation include statements regarding the development of the Iridium NEXT constellation; expected Iridium NEXT deployment and launch schedule; expected Iridium NEXT functionality; and the development and functionality of Aireon and Iridium PRIME satellites.   Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words "anticipates," "may," "can," "believes," "expects," "projects," "intends," "likely," "will," "to be" and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding overall Iridium NEXT development and functionality, potential delays in the Iridium NEXT deployment, the development of and market for Aireon and the Iridium PRIME hosted payloads and the company's ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its satellite constellation, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Company's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("the SEC") on May 1, 2014, as well as other filings Iridium makes with the SEC from time to time. There is no assurance that Iridium's expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium's underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium's forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.

CONTACT: Press Contact:

         Ashley Eames

         Iridium Communications Inc.

         +1 (703) 287-7476

         Ashley.eames@iridium.com
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Offline MTom

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Found this, should be placed to the beginning of the thread:

Quote
[Via Satellite 03-05-2014] Thales Alenia Space has delivered two complete Iridium high-fidelity satellite simulators and several low-fidelity simulators to SpaceX. The simulators have the same mechanical interface and mass properties of actual satellites, and will be used in a variety of launch tests to ensure structural integrity and functionality, vibration testing for durability, and deployment testing to confirm that the satellites will release from the dispenser correctly when in space.

Ten satellite simulators have been constructed and will be used in tests by launch partners Kosmotras, which will launch the first two satellites with its Dnepr rocket, and SpaceX, which will launch the remaining satellites on its Falcon 9 rocket. Iridium is SpaceX’s largest commercial customer, and its $453.1 million investment represents the largest single commercial launch contract in history.

...

Quote
“We continue to break space industry records with Iridium,” stated Jean-Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Typically, we produce one or two simulators per satellite program, but due to the size of the Iridium Next constellation and rigorous testing built into this launch plan, it requires 10 simulators to ensure full testing with the launch platform.”

http://www.satellitetoday.com/launch/2014/03/05/thales-alenia-space-delivers-iridium-simulators-to-spacex/
« Last Edit: 07/10/2014 10:54 PM by MTom »

Offline nadreck

Very interesting tidbit on SpaceX policy: "free reflight" in an article on Iridium Next.

Quote
Desch said the on-ground spares permit Iridium to take on part of the launch risk itself and reduce the amount of coverage it must purchase from insurance underwriters. In addition, he said, the insurance cover is only necessary for the satellites, as SpaceX is proving a reflight free of charge in the event of failure.


Link to full article: http://spacenews.com/iridiums-future-riding-on-7-spacex-launches-and-1-dnepr/
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Jarnis

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Very interesting tidbit on SpaceX policy: "free reflight" in an article on Iridium Next.

Quote
Desch said the on-ground spares permit Iridium to take on part of the launch risk itself and reduce the amount of coverage it must purchase from insurance underwriters. In addition, he said, the insurance cover is only necessary for the satellites, as SpaceX is proving a reflight free of charge in the event of failure.


Link to full article: http://spacenews.com/iridiums-future-riding-on-7-spacex-launches-and-1-dnepr/

I doubt that is a general rule, but if you make a half-a billion bulk buy... :)

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