Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 4 : December 22/23, 2017  (Read 23556 times)

Offline woods170

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There is something sneaky hidden behind the third one ;)
It appears to be a commercial crew block 5 Falcon 9. It has a Dragon 2 capsule and service module, a black interstage and landing legs, and titanium grid fins. Very nice!
Well spotted.
I think it is a safe bet that SpaceX actually commissioned Oli to do those customer-relations models. There is simply too much stuff on those models to have been made without SpaceX input. Particularly the block 5 model given that the information about the black interstage and black landing legs for block 5 only became public information very recently.

Offline MATTBLAK

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I think SpaceX is really missing an opportunity for marketing - they should be selling spacecraft and rocket models that both kids and adult collectors (me) can get their teeth into. I'd love to see kids whooshing and flying around the house and their yards with Dragons, Falcons and BFRs, instead of X-Wings and TIE fighters all the time! ;)

They could also have launch pad and recovery barge models. There could be two price points: play toys for kids and higher fidelity models for people's display cabinets (such as mine):
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Online cppetrie

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We’re off-topic but I second that. Partner with LEGO and Estes for a line of buildable block toys and a line of flyable model rockets. Perhaps even design the thing in such a fashion that the landing legs open upon decent and it has a decent chance of landing upright. Estes rockets are already reusable. Could be part of the fun seeing if it does land. Probably would prompt more launches and use more Estes motors. Win win win.

Online cscott

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They've already made and sold two different versions of a flying estes-style model F9: one with dragon capsule on top, and one with fairing.  A number of us rocket modelers have used the F9 kits to bash together flying FH models.

Offline kdhilliard

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Do we know whether or not the same fairing concerns which have delayed Zuma also apply to this Iridium launch?

Edit: Apparently Matt Desch answered just this question yesterday, tweeting:
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Uwe Häntsch‏ @uwelinchen 1 Nov 25

@IridiumBoss Good afternoon, Mr. Desch. Is the date on December 22nd for the next Iridium flight still up to date? SpaceX has problems with payload fairing. Thanks for the information.
Matt Desch‏ @IridiumBoss 8:11 AM - 26 Nov 2017

Yes, Dec 22nd is still our date.
« Last Edit: 11/28/2017 12:13 AM by kdhilliard »

Offline mn

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Fairing not an issue for this flight...

Iridium NEXT-4 on track for December launch from Vandenberg -
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/11/iridium-next-4-december-launch-vandenberg/

- By Chris Gebhardt

Does this mean it was  never an issue? or that there was enough time to fix/replace and encapsulate and still meet the schedule?

It's not clear to me from the tweet that it was not an issue, he sort of sidestepped the question about the fairing, just confirmed the date.

Online gongora

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The Iridium Press Release:
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Iridium Nears Launch Campaign Midway Point as All 10 Satellites Arrive at Vandenberg Air Force Base
Iridium-4 to create historic moment, making Iridium the first company to re-use the same rocket booster

MCLEAN, Va., Nov. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that all 10 Iridium® NEXT satellites for its fourth launch are now in processing at SpaceX's west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This launch will mark the midway point of Iridium's launch campaign with SpaceX, and is the first of two Iridium NEXT launches utilizing "flight-proven" SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. Iridium-4 is currently scheduled for December 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm PST, with a backup date of December 23rd.

Noteworthy for the fourth launch, the same Falcon 9 rocket first stage that carried 10 Iridium NEXT satellites for the company's second launch in June of 2017, will also carry this payload of 10 satellites. This will make Iridium the first company in history to reuse the same rocket. Upon arrival at the launch site, each Iridium NEXT satellite began a number of pre-launch processing steps, including mating to the dispenser, fueling and encapsulation within the fairing.  The satellites were shipped two at a time, in specially-designed motion and temperature-controlled containers designed to maintain optimal environmental conditions.

"We're approaching our halfway point on this journey, and with each launch, we gain more momentum," said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. "This launch will bring us to 40 Iridium NEXT satellites in space, which is more than half the number required for a full Iridium NEXT operational constellation.  It has been remarkable to witness the increased speed, capacity and throughput of our network as we continue to replace our original satellites with new Iridium NEXT satellites."

The operational Iridium constellation is comprised of 66 satellites divided into six polar orbiting planes with 11 satellites in each plane. Destined for Iridium orbital plane two, nine of the 10 Iridium NEXT satellites deployed during this launch will immediately go into service following rigorous testing and validation. The remaining satellite will undertake a nearly year-long journey to orbital plane one, where it will serve as a spare satellite.  To date, three Iridium NEXT launches carrying 10 satellites each have been completed. The fourth launch will bump the total number of new Iridium NEXT satellites in orbit to 40. Iridium has contracted with SpaceX to deliver 75 Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit, 66 operational and nine on-orbit spares, through a series of eight launches.

Iridium NEXT is the company's $3 billion next-generation mobile, global satellite network scheduled for completion in 2018. Iridium NEXT will replace the Company's existing global constellation in one of the largest technology upgrades ever completed in space.  It represents the evolution of critical communications infrastructure that governments and organizations worldwide rely upon to drive business, enable connectivity, empower disaster relief efforts and more. Iridium NEXT will enable and introduce new services like the Company's next-generation communications platform, Iridium CertusSM, and the AireonSM space-based ADS-B aircraft surveillance and flight tracking network. 

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Kevin Fetter posted about this FCC Public Notice, Report No. SAT-01286, on Seesat-l at http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Dec-2017/0004.html .

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db1201/DOC-348023A1.pdf
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Iridium Constellation LLC requests modification of its license for a non-geostationary, mobile-satellite service constellation. Iridium seeks an extension of the license term for its first-generation satellites until July 31, 2019, and authority to maintain up to 18 first-generation satellites as in-orbit spares during the transition to its second-generation satellite system.

(I didn't find a thread discussing the final dispositions of the first generation Iridium satellites.  If there's a better thread to post this to, please make a suggestion.)
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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Will launch processing be suspended if there is a government shutdown when the current funding legislation expires at 12 am December 9?

Parallel questions have been asked on the CRS-13 discussion thread and the NROL-47 thread.
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Online deruch

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Will launch processing be suspended if there is a government shutdown when the current funding legislation expires at 12 am December 9?

Parallel questions have been asked on the CRS-13 discussion thread and the NROL-47 thread.

Why would processing be suspended?  The only government interaction for this part of the flow is safety and base security.  Those shouldn't be affected.  Iridium is doing the payload processing and SpaceX the F9 processing in SpaceX's facilities,  SpaceX already has a launch license for this mission, so no regulatory interactions yet.  The only thing I'm not sure about is static fire and launching, where SpaceX will need range support and interaction with other federal agencies.  But, as their involvement should all be classified as ensuring public safety, even if they are initially affected I imagine they'd get waivers pretty quick.
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