Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Sentinel-6 (Jason-CS) : Nov. 2020 from Vandenberg  (Read 6772 times)

Offline gongora

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Discussion Thread for Sentinel-6 (Jason-CS) mission.

NSF Threads for Sentinel-6 (Jason-CS) : Discussion
NSF Articles for Sentinel-6 (Jason-CS) :

November 2020 on Falcon 9 from Vandenberg.



[Oct. 2017] NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Sentinel-6A Mission

NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the Sentinel-6A mission. Launch is currently targeted for November 2020, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The total cost for NASA to launch Sentinel-6A is approximately $97 million, which includes the launch service and other mission related costs.

The Sentinel-6A mission, also known as Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS), is a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Space Agency, and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). This mission provides operational ocean altimetry to provide continuity of ocean topography measurements and continues the long-term global sea surface height data record begun in 1992 by the Topography Experiment (TOPEX)/Poseidon and Jason 1, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 and Jason-3 missions. A secondary objective of the mission is to collect high-resolution vertical profiles of temperature, using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Radio-Occultation sounding technique, to assess temperature changes in the troposphere and stratosphere and to support numerical weather prediction.

NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the SpaceX launch service. The Sentinel-6 Project office is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.



Sentinel-6 Mission Pages at JPL / ESA / EUMETSAT / eoPortal / Gunter



MISSION PROFILE
> LEO, non sun-synchronous orbit at 1336 km mean altitude
> 10 days repeat cycle with 66o inclination
> 5.5 years (including 6 months commissioning). Consumables for an additional 2 years
> Falcon-9, Atlas-5 or Antares launcher (procured by NASA-JPL/KSC)

SATELLITE PLATFORM
Configuration based on CryoSat with most equipment mounted on nadir panel and increased solar array area using deployable flaps. Monopropellant propulsion system with 214kg fuel for orbit maintenance and perigee lowering at end of life (passive re-entry within 25 years).
> Dimensions (flight configuration) 5.30 m x 4.17 m x 2.35 m
> Mass 1440 kg
> Power 891 W average consumption
> Data volume: order of magnitude 1200 Gbit/day
> on-board storage by SSR 496 Gbits (beginning of life)
> X-band data downlink: 150 Mbps at 8.090 GHz
> S-band TTC link: 16 kbps uplink, 32 kbps downlink

SATELLITE PAYLOAD
Poseidon-4 (SAR Radar Altimeter):
> Interleaved mode providing conventional pulse-width limited and SAR altimetry simultaneously (only the pulse-width limited data recorded over land)
> Possibility of following a built-in digital elevation model for improved tracking over land;
AMR-C (Climate-quality microwave radiometer – NOAA/JPL contribution): 3 channels.
GNSS–POD Receiver provides GNSS measurements for Precise Orbit Determination using GPS and Galileo signals.
DORIS enables precise orbit determination, as well as providing on-orbit position to the altimeter for use with its built-in DEM.
Laser Retroreflector Array (NOAA/JPL contribution) enables tracking by ground-based lasers.
GNSS-RO (NOAA/JPL contribution) uses GNSS measurements for RO.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2018 06:38 PM by gongora »

Offline Mike Jones

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Falcon 9 launch prices for the government keeps getting higher ...
97 M$ for sentinel 6A a small Earth Observation satellite weighting less than 1,5 tons is not cheap. sentinel 5p was just launched on a Rockot for almost 3 times less.

Offline IanThePineapple

Falcon 9 launch prices for the government keeps getting higher ...
97 M$ for sentinel 6A a small Earth Observation satellite weighting less than 1,5 tons is not cheap. sentinel 5p was just launched on a Rockot for almost 3 times less.

Though it is an American company that NASA is fond of...

Offline gongora

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That entire amount isn't necessarily for SpaceX, it's what NASA is spending on the launch campaign.  (It's also quite a bit less than the SWOT launch.)

Online Flying Beaver

That entire amount isn't necessarily for SpaceX, it's what NASA is spending on the launch campaign.  (It's also quite a bit less than the SWOT launch.)

Exactly. It's a good idea to properly read the original release.

Quote
approximately $97 million, which includes the launch service and other mission related costs.
Emphasis mine.
Watched B1019 land in person 21/12/2015.

Offline envy887

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Were international vehicles even an option for NASA for this launch? Or are they required to use domestic services?

If domestic only, I don't think there were any cheaper options. SpaceX isn't in the business of giving away launches, especially if NASA required a new booster, which seems likely.

Online abaddon

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For a point of comparison, the JPSS-2 spacecraft was assigned an Atlas V 401 in March of this year for $170.6 million for launch and other related mission services.  Without knowing what those "other related services" are it's really hard to pin down how much of it is the cost of the rocket.

The second GPS-3 SpaceX launch contract was valued at $96.5m, virtually identical to this price, so it would be difficult to argue that SpaceX's price for government launches is going up based on that.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2017 09:21 PM by abaddon »

Online Coastal Ron

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Were international vehicles even an option for NASA for this launch? Or are they required to use domestic services?

If domestic only, I don't think there were any cheaper options. SpaceX isn't in the business of giving away launches, especially if NASA required a new booster, which seems likely.

NASA uses the NASA Launch Services Program for accessing commercial launch services. The current version of that program is NLS II, which currently only has American companies as options (see their website here).

NASA has launched payloads on non-U.S. launch providers, and no doubt that was because of partnership agreements. But if the payload is U.S.-only, then NLS II would be used.

And from what I've heard, standard launch prices have already been determined for NLS II providers, so it would just be the additional services that increase the prices - which can be significant depending on what the customer wants.

Based on that I would imagine SpaceX charges their standard price for their standard service ($62M), which means NASA wanted $35M in additional services.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online abaddon

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Here's a comparison of some other government launch contract awards.  As can be seen they vary quite widely:

Jason-2     Falcon 9    $82m
TESS        Falcon 9    $97m
SWOT        Falcon 9    $112m
GPS III-2   Falcon 9    $83m
GPS III-3   Falcon 9    $96.5m
JPSS-2      Atlas V 401 $170.6m
TDRS-M      Atlas V 401 $132.4m


Offline deruch

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Since this is the Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS) mission following on from the TOPEX/Poseidon and previous Jason missions, it would make sense to compare it to Jason-3 which also launched on F9, though originally contracted for launch on F9v1.0.  I'm assuming that the contracts are fairly similar, but this may not be the case in fact.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-207
Quote from: NASA Jason-3 LV announcement
The total value of the Jason-3 launch service is approximately $82 million. This estimated cost includes the task-ordered launch service for the Falcon 9 v1.0, plus additional services under other contracts for payload processing, launch vehicle integration, mission-unique launch site ground support and tracking, data and telemetry services. NASA is the procurement agent for NOAA.


edit: slightly ninja'd by abbadon
« Last Edit: 10/19/2017 09:42 PM by deruch »
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline envy887

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Were international vehicles even an option for NASA for this launch? Or are they required to use domestic services?

If domestic only, I don't think there were any cheaper options. SpaceX isn't in the business of giving away launches, especially if NASA required a new booster, which seems likely.

NASA uses the NASA Launch Services Program for accessing commercial launch services. The current version of that program is NLS II, which currently only has American companies as options (see their website here).

NASA has launched payloads on non-U.S. launch providers, and no doubt that was because of partnership agreements. But if the payload is U.S.-only, then NLS II would be used.

And from what I've heard, standard launch prices have already been determined for NLS II providers, so it would just be the additional services that increase the prices - which can be significant depending on what the customer wants.

Based on that I would imagine SpaceX charges their standard price for their standard service ($62M), which means NASA wanted $35M in additional services.

But has NASA actually paid for a non-US launch? AFAIK the only non-US launches for NASA missions are like JWST, where the partner supplies the launch as part of their contribution to the program, and at no cost to NASA.

Offline Joffan

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Falcon 9 launch prices for the government keeps getting higher ...
97 M$ for sentinel 6A a small Earth Observation satellite weighting less than 1,5 tons is not cheap. sentinel 5p was just launched on a Rockot for almost 3 times less.

Really? Do you have a source for the launch price charged for the Sentinel 5P?
Max Q for humanity becoming spacefaring

Offline joek

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...
And from what I've heard, standard launch prices have already been determined for NLS II providers, so it would just be the additional services that increase the prices - which can be significant depending on what the customer wants.

Based on that I would imagine SpaceX charges their standard price for their standard service ($62M), which means NASA wanted $35M in additional services.

NLS sets not-to-exceed (NTE) prices for basic launch services, for different vehicle/mission types, for each year of the NLS contract.  Those NTE prices are negotiated as part of the NLS on-boarding process.  Additional mission services--specified as part of individual task orders--are not part of the negotiated NTE price, although labor categories may also be rate capped.

Being a member of the NLS club means you can bid on missions--and are required to do so if you are  qualified for a given mission.  The bid may be lower, but may not be higher than the negotiated NTE.  Award is then based on whatever formula and weighting NASA uses to evaluate a particular task order, including extra services.

NLS is also indefinite quantity indefinite delivery (IDIQ)--no guarantee of an order, ever.  The provider thus takes all of the cost risk for the duration of the NLS contract.  I expect there is a non-trivial premium charged by all providers (including SpaceX) for carrying that risk.

Offline joek

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But has NASA actually paid for a non-US launch? ...

No, at least not if you mean paid USG budget $ (as opposed to barter), or possibly some low-$ research-SBIR type launch that was part of some other contract.  If the launch can be satisfied by NLS, it must be procured through NLS--and that means a US launch provider.

Online Coastal Ron

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Being a member of the NLS club means you can bid on missions--and are required to do so if you are  qualified for a given mission.  The bid may be lower, but may not be higher than the negotiated NTE.  Award is then based on whatever formula and weighting NASA uses to evaluate a particular task order, including extra services.

NLS is also indefinite quantity indefinite delivery (IDIQ)--no guarantee of an order, ever.  The provider thus takes all of the cost risk for the duration of the NLS contract.  I expect there is a non-trivial premium charged by all providers (including SpaceX) for carrying that risk.

So to be fair, it's possible that SpaceX set a price higher than their current $62m listed price for NLS II, although even if true they could have lowered that price for this launch contract.

And since we'll never likely see the contract details, we'll never know what the basic launch price was and what the added services were. Meaning we have to look at analogous payloads launched on other rockets in order to get a sense for the launch services price difference.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline woods170

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With all the felgercarb posts above about launch pricing one would almost forget that this thread is about Sentinel 6.

Some facts:
- Sentinel 6 is a cooperative agreement between ESA, NASA, Eumetsat, European Union (via the European Commission) and NOAA. The mission is flown as part of the EU's Copernicus programme with ESA and NOAA providing instruments.
- EUMETSAT is leading the system definition and is responsible for the ground segment development; operations preparation and operations of the satellite.
- ESA is responsible for the development of the satellite; the prototype processors; delivery of the LEOP services.
- NOAA provides U.S. ground stations for data down links.
- NASA provides the launch services for the Sentinel-6 satellite; US payload instruments and ground segment support, and will contribute to the operations and data processing.
- Satellite platform is based on the one developed for Cryosat.
- Satellite prime contractor is Airbus Defence & Space.
- Satellite is co-funded between the EC and Eumetsat.
« Last Edit: 10/20/2017 07:38 AM by woods170 »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Thanks Coastal Ron for explaining how the launch cost fall apart into launch service (SpX) and payload preparation /launch tracking service.
Jason-CS (Sentinel 6) {I prefer making clear it's a continuation of Jason*}, is A shared USA/EU project. Arianespace could also have launched it, on a Vega-C. That launch should have cost about 35mln Euro, but it would be one of the first launches of Vega-C.
So I agree that Falcon 9, although more expansive, is the best option.
(Soyuz from CSG would have been a lot more expansive.)

Edit: first read then write a post. Woods170 explained why Vega-C wouldn't be a option.
NASA provides the launch, so they have to use a US launcher. Options: Falcon 9, Antares or Atlas V

*The name "Sentinel 6" makes clear this mission is part of the EU Copernicus program, the data will be available all over the world free of charge.
« Last Edit: 10/20/2017 10:22 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline DreamyPickle

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Sentinel 5P is 900 kg at 824 km, this is 1440 kg at 1336 km. So there is quite a difference and there isn't a lot of competition in this range. Maybe a Minotaur IV could have done it?

But this is indeed expensive, it's something like $67K / kg.

For Falcon 9 this will be easy RTLS and very profitable.

Offline woods170

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Sentinel 5P is 900 kg at 824 km, this is 1440 kg at 1336 km. So there is quite a difference and there isn't a lot of competition in this range. Maybe a Minotaur IV could have done it?

But this is indeed expensive, it's something like $67K / kg.

For Falcon 9 this will be easy RTLS and very profitable.
Would have been a helluvalot more expensive had it been put on an Arianespace launcher.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Would have been a helluvalot more expensive had it been put on an Arianespace launcher.

No! It would have been less expansive.
Vega can NOT launch it, but Vega-C could. Both are estimated to cost ~35mln including some additional services.
But NASA arranges this launch, so they want a US launch vehicle. And it would be one of the first launches for Vega-C. Jason-CS (Sentinel 6) is to important to take a lot of risk for a ~20% cheaper launch.
Minautaur IV / C can't launch it. Atlas 401 - 421, Antares or Falcon 9 can, only Falcon 9 doesn't use Russian engines.

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