Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION  (Read 530803 times)

Online vaporcobra

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 979
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Liked: 1616
  • Likes Given: 2108
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #160 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.

Offline shuttle_buff

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 116
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #161 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.

Offline hartspace

  • Member
  • Posts: 96
  • Liked: 50
  • Likes Given: 69
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #162 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.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

  • Assistant Managing Editor
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6551
  • ad astra scientia
  • ~1 AU
  • Liked: 4834
  • Likes Given: 564
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #163 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.

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9188
  • UK
  • Liked: 1600
  • Likes Given: 168
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #164 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.

Offline Skyrocket

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2135
  • Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • Liked: 308
  • Likes Given: 81
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #165 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.

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9188
  • UK
  • Liked: 1600
  • Likes Given: 168
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #166 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.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2017 09:56 AM by Star One »

Offline foragefarmer

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
  • Virginia
  • Liked: 10
  • Likes Given: 47
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #167 on: 10/19/2017 10:54 AM »
Possible Payload?

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.

Offline .Scott

  • Member
  • Posts: 26
  • NH
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 17
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #168 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.

Offline darkenfast

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 801
  • Liked: 450
  • Likes Given: 1077
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #169 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.

Online gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3244
  • US
  • Liked: 2627
  • Likes Given: 1575
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #170 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.

Online vaporcobra

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 979
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Liked: 1616
  • Likes Given: 2108
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #171 on: 10/19/2017 04:39 PM »
FWIW, Eric Berger mentioned last night that [[[Zuma]]] is an NRO mission.

Offline Marslauncher

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 323
  • Liked: 748
  • Likes Given: 267
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #172 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

Online gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3244
  • US
  • Liked: 2627
  • Likes Given: 1575
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #173 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.

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8643
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1112
  • Likes Given: 242
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #174 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.
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline psionedge

  • Member
  • Posts: 86
  • Liked: 59
  • Likes Given: 9
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #175 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?

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9188
  • UK
  • Liked: 1600
  • Likes Given: 168
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #176 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.

Offline Skyrocket

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2135
  • Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • Liked: 308
  • Likes Given: 81
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #177 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)

Offline psionedge

  • Member
  • Posts: 86
  • Liked: 59
  • Likes Given: 9
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #178 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.

Offline russianhalo117

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4350
  • AR USA / Berlin, DE / Moscow, RF
  • Liked: 982
  • Likes Given: 557
Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #179 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

Tags: