Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : March 18, 2018 : Vandenberg  (Read 3246 times)

Online gongora

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DISCUSSION THREAD for Flight 5 of the Iridium NEXT missions.

Flight 5 is expected NET March 18, 2018 on a reused Falcon 9 from SLC-4 at Vandenberg.

   Flight 5 will send all of its satellites into plane 1.

   NSF Threads for Iridium NEXT Flight 5: Discussion / Updates / L2 Coverage / ASDS / Party
   NSF Articles for Iridium NEXT Flight 5: 



See the Flight 1 Discussion Thread for more information and links to other Iridium Next threads and articles.

General information for Iridium flights 1-5 & 7-8
   Payload Mass: 8600kg for 10 satellites + 1000kg for dispenser = 9600kg
   Launch orbit: 625km, 86.66 degrees
   Operational orbit: 778km, 86.4 degrees

81 Satellites will be built for Iridium NEXT, with 66 being needed for a fully operational constellation.  All of the satellites will carry ADS-B aviation tracking hosted payloads for Aireon, and 60 of the satellites will carry AIS maritime tracking hosted payloads for exactEarth.



Other SpaceX resources on NASASpaceflight:
   SpaceX News Articles (Recent)  /   SpaceX News Articles from 2006 (Including numerous exclusive Elon interviews)
   SpaceX Dragon Articles  /  SpaceX Missions Section (with Launch Manifest and info on past and future missions)
   L2 SpaceX Section
« Last Edit: Today at 03:42 PM by gongora »

Offline Inoeth

Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #1 on: 01/09/2018 03:44 AM »
Re-used core again... so will they attempt to land this time- either on the drone ship or RTLS?

Online gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #2 on: 01/09/2018 04:21 AM »
Re-used core again... so will they attempt to land this time- either on the drone ship or RTLS?

We have no idea yet.

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #3 on: 01/09/2018 04:24 AM »
Re-used core again... so will they attempt to land this time- either on the drone ship or RTLS?
None of the Iridium launches will likely RTLS, even with Block 5 boosters which may be capable they aren't currently planning to do so.  Don't know about ASDS recovery plans. 
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline cppetrie

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #4 on: 01/09/2018 04:50 AM »
Re-used core again... so will they attempt to land this time- either on the drone ship or RTLS?
None of the Iridium launches will likely RTLS, even with Block 5 boosters which may be capable they aren't currently planning to do so.  Don't know about ASDS recovery plans.
They had originally planned to RTLS for the 4th launch before switching from Block 4 to reuse Block 3. I see no reason that the next Iridium flight to use a new core wouldn’t RTLS.

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #5 on: 01/09/2018 10:36 AM »
Re-used core again... so will they attempt to land this time- either on the drone ship or RTLS?
None of the Iridium launches will likely RTLS, even with Block 5 boosters which may be capable they aren't currently planning to do so.  Don't know about ASDS recovery plans.
They had originally planned to RTLS for the 4th launch before switching from Block 4 to reuse Block 3. I see no reason that the next Iridium flight to use a new core wouldn’t RTLS.
1. Their FAA launch license for Iridium launches hasn't been revised to allow for it yet.  It only allows expended or ASDS recovery missions.  This isn't definitive as such revisions can happen "last minute" and the FAA sucks at updating their online licenses.  So, at best suggestive that they hadn't finalized the necessary paperwork to allow it for Iridium 4 irrespective of the core swap. 

2. More to the point however, here's their VAFB launch schedule as of mid October.  Dates are off but IMO the operations plan is still relevant.
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline scr00chy

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #6 on: 01/09/2018 11:46 AM »
2. More to the point however, here's their VAFB launch schedule as of mid October.  Dates are off but IMO the operations plan is still relevant.
Is that some kind of official USAF list?

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #7 on: 01/09/2018 11:55 AM »
It's an official SpaceX one from their filing for permission for RTLS to VAFB.
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Online gongora

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #8 on: 01/09/2018 04:12 PM »
It's an official SpaceX one from their filing for permission for RTLS to VAFB.

Was that documentation posted somewhere, or do you have a link?

Offline Norm38

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #9 on: 01/09/2018 04:21 PM »
What is an "Iridium Landing Area" and why is it unique to Iridium?

Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #10 on: 01/09/2018 04:25 PM »
What is an "Iridium Landing Area" and why is it unique to Iridium?
It is likely a zone in the Pacific where the landing platform is positioned.  They even put the first stage down in this spot on the latest mission when the platform was not sent out to catch the stage.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline AnalogMan

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« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 06:08 PM by AnalogMan »

Offline crandles57

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #12 on: 01/18/2018 03:10 PM »
Shortest gaps between Vandenberg launches has been about 6 weeks for SpaceX

Paz Feb 10
Iridium 5  ???
Iridium 6/Grace April 14

Odd to have April 14th date but not date for earlier flight?

Gap is 9 weeks. So presumably they think they can get gaps down to 4.5 weeks?
Needs to be mid March at latest?

Online Roy_H

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #13 on: 01/18/2018 03:22 PM »
What is an "Iridium Landing Area" and why is it unique to Iridium?
It's just a name of an area, no reason to think that it is unique to Iridium flights.
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Online Lar

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 : Iridium NEXT Flight 5 : Q1 2018
« Reply #14 on: 01/18/2018 05:49 PM »
What is an "Iridium Landing Area" and why is it unique to Iridium?
It's just a name of an area, no reason to think that it is unique to Iridium flights.

Different inclination (and energy?) missions will have different areas where we would expect the ASDS to be. There might be overlaps between such different areas, but I'd expect the landing area for Iridium to differ from that of some other classes of missions. So the label does have some possible uniqueness and explicatory power.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline crandles57

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