Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Iridium NEXT 6 with GRACE-FO : NET May 22, 2018 - DISCUSSION  (Read 76995 times)

Offline eweilow

Interestingly, SpaceTrack lists also eighth object on orbit, cataloged as object H, identified as FALCON 9 DEBRIS - separated on similar orbit as GRACE-FO 1&2.

2018-047H 2018-05-26 17:44 UTC - 479/498km/89.04°
Quote
0 FALCON 9 DEB
1 43483U 18047H   18146.73897838  .00064663  00000-0  25203-2 0  9994
2 43483  89.0445 238.5947 0013792 240.1102 119.8751 15.25615106   468
Dispenser, mass or something??
Whatever it is, it's got ~531x the BSTAR drag term compared to GRACE-FO 1 and is already in a 502 x 483 km orbit (compared to the GRACE-FO satellites both in 509 x 489 km)

Offline Lar

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So that was one of two remotes he had set up OUTSIDE the safety perimeter, it being the farthest away. Doesn’t seem too safe to me...

I think it would have been fine except for the grass fire breaking out?
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Offline Jdeshetler

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So that was one of two remotes he had set up OUTSIDE the safety perimeter, it being the farthest away. Doesn’t seem too safe to me...

I think it would have been fine except for the grass fire breaking out?

Yes, it's fine, it's just that Bill selected this spot across from the blast duct for maximum visual effect which it is and somehow lost the gamble.  According to my remote video camera up the hill, the burning debris traveled 800' from the flame duct to this remote spot across the mini-valley.

Offline Targeteer

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https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/grace-fo-satellite-switching-to-backup-instrument-processing-unit


The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission team plans to switch to a backup system in the Microwave Instrument (MWI) on one of the twin spacecraft this month. Following the switch-over, GRACE-FO is expected to quickly resume science data collection.

A month after launching this past May, GRACE-FO produced its first preliminary gravity field map. The mission has not acquired science data since mid-July due to an anomaly with a component of the Microwave Instrument on one of the GRACE-FO spacecraft. The mission team is completing its investigation into the cause of the anomaly.

The primary science objective of GRACE-FO -- like its predecessor GRACE, which operated from 2002 to 2017 -- is to track how water is redistributed on Earth, by producing highly accurate, monthly gravity field maps. Measurements of changes in Earth's gravity field provide measurements of mass change and enable unique insights into Earth's changing climate, Earth system processes like droughts and sea level changes, and the impacts of human activities on water resources.

The two GRACE-FO spacecraft were launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 22. The mission's launch and early operations phases were completed within five days, and the science instruments were activated a few days later. Analysis of the initial data indicated that both the Microwave Instrument and the Laser Ranging Interferometer were producing highly precise measurements of the gravity-induced change in distance between the two GRACE-FO satellites -- as good as or better than the original GRACE mission.

On July 19, the primary MWI Instrument Processing Unit (IPU) on the GRACE-FO 2 satellite powered down in response to autonomous commands from an instrument fault monitor indicating that the IPU was using less current than expected. The IPU provides various timing references for the satellite as well as onboard digital signal-processing functions for the Microwave Instrument and GPS signals. Each of the two GRACE-FO satellites is equipped with a pair of IPUs -- a primary unit and a redundant one -- to provide backup in case one unit malfunctions.

Following several unsuccessful attempts to reactivate the IPU, mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, established an anomaly response team on Aug. 6 to investigate the issue. The team is working with the engineers who developed the Microwave Instrument, attempting to reproduce the abnormal behavior in the laboratory to understand the cause of the problem.

Following completion of the remaining instrument calibrations, the performance and stability of the redundant IPU will be monitored for at least 30 days. Once the instrument’s stable operation has been confirmed, the mission will be on track to enter its science operations phase, beginning with a four-month data-validation period as previously planned.

GRACE-FO is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ). Both spacecraft are being operated from the German Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, under a GFZ contract with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)). JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

For more information about GRACE-FO, see:

https://www.nasa.gov/gracefo

https://gracefo.jpl.nasa.gov/

Esprit Smith
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
818-354-4269
[email protected]
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Offline gongora

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Don't remember if this was posted before, from Iridium corporate filings:
Quote
SpaceX
In March 2010, the Company entered into an agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (“SpaceX”) to secure SpaceX as the primary launch services provider for Iridium NEXT (as amended to date, the “SpaceX Agreement”). The total price under the SpaceX Agreement for seven launches and a reflight option in the event of a launch failure is $453.1 million. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is configured to carry ten Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit for each of these seven launches. In November 2016, the Company entered into an agreement for an eighth launch with SpaceX to launch five additional satellites and share the launch with GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (“GFZ”). This launch took place in May 2018. The total price under the SpaceX Agreement for the eighth launch was $61.9 million. GFZ paid Iridium $29.8 million to include in the launch NASA’s two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On satellites. As of June 30, 2018, the Company had made aggregate payments of $486.4 million to SpaceX, which were capitalized as construction in progress within property and equipment, net in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheet.

Offline envy887

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Don't remember if this was posted before, from Iridium corporate filings:
Quote
SpaceX
In March 2010, the Company entered into an agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (“SpaceX”) to secure SpaceX as the primary launch services provider for Iridium NEXT (as amended to date, the “SpaceX Agreement”). The total price under the SpaceX Agreement for seven launches and a reflight option in the event of a launch failure is $453.1 million. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is configured to carry ten Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit for each of these seven launches. In November 2016, the Company entered into an agreement for an eighth launch with SpaceX to launch five additional satellites and share the launch with GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (“GFZ”). This launch took place in May 2018. The total price under the SpaceX Agreement for the eighth launch was $61.9 million. GFZ paid Iridium $29.8 million to include in the launch NASA’s two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On satellites. As of June 30, 2018, the Company had made aggregate payments of $486.4 million to SpaceX, which were capitalized as construction in progress within property and equipment, net in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheet.

So the 7 flights with the reflight option were $64.7 million each, or a 4.6% markup over the $61.9 million 8th flight. That 4.6% is remarkably similar to the cost of insurance on Falcon (reportedly 4-5%), so I wonder if they paid extra for that option.

There's no mention of the cost of the dispensers, which were provided by SpaceX. If they are included in the launch cost, then it appears Iridium negotiated a small discount below list price for the actual launches.

Offline gongora

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There's no mention of the cost of the dispensers, which were provided by SpaceX. If they are included in the launch cost, then it appears Iridium negotiated a small discount below list price for the actual launches.

That price was supposed to include the dispensers.

Online smoliarm

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It's interesting how the contract value changed through time:
The original press-release (June 10, 2010):
Quote
Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) are pleased to announce that the Falcon 9 will be a major provider of launch services for Iridium NEXT, Iridium’s next-generation satellite constellation. The $492 million contract, while being the largest single commercial launch deal ever signed, nonetheless represents a new benchmark in cost-effective satellite delivery to space.
https://www.spacex.com/press/2012/12/19/iridium-and-spacex-sign-major-commercial-launch-contract

Later, in April 2016, Peter B. de Selding gave lower figure:
Quote
The Iridium contract with ... SpaceX, valued at $468.1 million, includes the possibility of an eighth launch if one of the seven committed flights fails.
...
As of March 31, Iridium had paid SpaceX $315.3 million for the seven launches.
https://spacenews.com/iridium-says-2nd-generation-constellation-ready-to-launch-with-spacex-starting-in-july/

And now the third figure, from Iridium corporate filings:
Quote
The total price under the SpaceX Agreement for seven launches and a reflight option in the event of a launch failure is $453.1 million.

With respect to the difference between the last two figures ($468.1 M vs $453.1 M), I'd attribute these $15 M to discount for used boosters (flights 4 and 5)


Offline gongora

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With respect to the difference between the last two figures ($468.1 M vs $453.1 M), I'd attribute these $15 M to discount for used boosters (flights 4 and 5)

That would be my guess.

Offline deruch

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With respect to the difference between the last two figures ($468.1 M vs $453.1 M), I'd attribute these $15 M to discount for used boosters (flights 4 and 5)

That would be my guess.

Could also include some discount penalties for delayed launches.  IIRC, other SpaceX launch contracts that we have seen have included escalating discounts up to a max of 10% of the contract value for the launch being delayed (longer delay=higher discount).  The final amount isn't too far off from that (~8% actual). 
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Offline gongora

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Matt Desch said they received a discount for reusing those boosters.  If there were any discounts for delays they probably happened for the earlier flights.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2018 06:47 PM by gongora »

Online abaddon

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Matt Desch said they received a discount for reusing those boosters.  If there were any discounts for delays they probably happened for the earlier flights.
IIRC he also said the discount wasn't "substantial" and that the primary motivating factor was schedule.  Didn't find the exact quote I was looking for but this is close: https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/10/20/iridium-swaps-two-new-falcon-9-rockets-for-flight-proven-boosters/.

So yes, there definitely was a discount, but $15 million per flight (a 25% reduction in price) seems possible but maybe a bit high.

Offline gongora

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They reused 2 boosters.  $15M for two reuses seems to be in the right ballpark.

Offline ZachS09

They reused 2 boosters.  $15M for two reuses seems to be in the right ballpark.

I thought they reused three including the one with the rideshare.
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Online smoliarm

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They reused 2 boosters.  $15M for two reuses seems to be in the right ballpark.

I thought they reused three including the one with the rideshare.

Right, but - the text in filing states:
Quote
The total price under the SpaceX Agreement for seven launches and a reflight option in the event of a launch failure is $453.1 million. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is configured to carry ten Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit for each of these seven launches. In November 2016, the Company entered into an agreement for an eighth launch with SpaceX to launch five additional satellites and share the launch with GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (“GFZ”). This launch took place in May 2018. The total price under the SpaceX Agreement for the eighth launch was $61.9 million. GFZ paid Iridium $29.8 million to include in the launch NASA’s two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On satellites.

here I highlighted fragments which mean (as I understand) that the "total price" ($453.1 million) is for seven launches (of which two were with re-used boosters). The eight launch (with GRACE-FO) is listed there separately, with its price ($61.9 million) shown separately, and it is NOT included in "total price".

By the way, the  figure for GRACE-FO also seems quite reasonable:

The price for single flight (10x Iridiums) with NEW booster: 453.1 / 7 = $66.9M <--- "453.1" is a mistype, correct figure is $468.1
Discount for flight with used booster: 15 / 2 = $7.5M
So the price for single flight with USED booster: 66.9 - 7.50 = $59.4M

For GRACE-FO filing says the price was $61.9M, slightly higher (by $2.5M).
My guess, it's because of TWO target orbits and hence more complex flight profile.
But again here is a considerable discount compared to the "new booster" price.

Edit: corrected mistype.
« Last Edit: 09/28/2018 10:24 AM by smoliarm »

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