Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION  (Read 413250 times)

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #80 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
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 03:48 PM by Ronsmytheiii »
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Online Skyrocket

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #81 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.

Online Skyrocket

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #82 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.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

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.
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline saliva_sweet

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #84 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.

Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #85 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.

Itís 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.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 11:38 AM by Star One »

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #86 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/
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Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #87 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 donít why you think this is going to be a commercial satellite when it has a strong smell of a classified government launch.

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #88 on: 10/15/2017 11:52 AM »
I really donít 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?
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Online Nibb31

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #89 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.

« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 12:28 PM by Nibb31 »

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #90 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.

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Offline robert_d

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #91 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.

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #92 on: 10/15/2017 01:31 PM »
Sounds like itís poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so thatís my bet...
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Offline Craig_VG

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #93 on: 10/15/2017 01:50 PM »
Sounds like itís poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so thatís my bet...

Moon Express is set to launch on Electron, so I think Falcon 9 can handle it.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 01:51 PM by Craig_VG »

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #94 on: 10/15/2017 01:56 PM »
Sounds like itís poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so thatís 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?

Offline gth871r

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #95 on: 10/15/2017 02:06 PM »
Sounds like itís poll time. Is it even possible for a Block 4 (or 5) F9 to loft a Lunar XPrize to the moon? If so thatís 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.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 02:09 PM by gth871r »

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #96 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.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2017 02:42 PM by kevin-rf »
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Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #97 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.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

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.
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #99 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

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