Launch News SpaceX F9 Paz & Microsat-2a, -2b (6:17 a.m. PST, 14:17 UTC, Thursday, February 22)

Nicholas Kang

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SpaceX F9 Paz & Microsat-2a, -2b (6:17 a.m. PST, 14:17 UTC, Thursday, February 22)

32308163845_d0c1acc1d9_k5.jpg

SpaceX is now targeting a Falcon 9 launch of the PAZ satellite to low-Earth orbit on Thursday, February 22 from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Feb. 21st attempt was scrubbed due to strong upper level winds. The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 6:17 a.m. PST, or 14:17 UTC. The satellite will be deployed approximately eleven minutes after launch.

Falcon 9’s first stage for the PAZ mission previously supported the FORMOSAT-5 mission from SLC-4E in August 2017. SpaceX will not attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage after launch.


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Launch date:​
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February 22, 2018​
Instantaneous Launch Window:​
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6:17 a.m. PST/14:17 UTC​
Launch site:​
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SLC-4E Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA​

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[highlight]L[eventtimer]2018-02-22 14:17:00;%c%%ddd%/%hh%:%mm%:%ss%[/eventtimer][/highlight]​
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Mission Patch​
index.php


Launch coverage:

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p-PToD2URA"]PAZ Mission - YouTube[/ame]


Payload:


Astrium España signed a contract with Hisdesat on 6 November 2008 to develop and build the first Spanish Earth radar observation satellite Paz (formerly called SEOSAR).

Paz is one component of the Spanish National Earth Observation Programme. The budget for the Paz satellite is estimated at €160 million, and covers the flight and ground segments, as well as the launch. The Spanish Ministry of Defence will provide €135 million of the funding, whilst the company Hisdesat will finance the rest.

Given that the satellite will be used for multiple applications in the field of security and defence, and could have potential civil applications, its image acquisition functions will be extremely diverse.

The industrial framework is as follows:

  • Astrium España is the prime contractor, responsible for developing and building the satellite within a period of 48 months.
  • The Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) will be responsible for the ground segment, which includes two control stations: one in Torrejón near Madrid and the other in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria.
  • Hisdesat will be the satellite’s operator, responsible for all commercial exploitation. The Spanish Ministry of Defence will be one of Hisdesat’s main customers, and one of the main beneficiaries of the satellite’s capabilities.

The satellite will be capable of providing images in any type of weather conditions, day and night, and will primarily fulfil the security and defence needs of the Spanish government.

paz__1.jpg
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PAZ_Auto1A.jpeg
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PAZ_Auto17.jpeg

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Specifications

Type / Application:|
  • SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar)

Operator:|
  • Hisdesat

Contractors:|
  • EADS CASA Espacio

Equipment:|
  • SAR X-band

Configuration:|
  • Astrobus

Dimensions:|
  • ?

Propulsion:|
  • ?

Power:|
  • Solar cells
  • Batteries

Lifetime:|
  • 5 years

Mass:|
  • 1200 kg

Orbit:|
  • Sun-synchronous dawn-dust orbit
  • Altitude = 514 km
  • Inclination = 97.44º
  • LTAN (Local Time of Ascending Node) at 18:00 hours
  • The nominal revisit period is 11 days (167 orbits within revisit period, 15 2/11 orbits per day).

For more more info about the satellite's radar, bus configuration and on-board instruments, please kindly visit here. This thread is too small to put in everything! :lol:

The MicroSat 2a and 2b are two identical satellites to test technologies for SpaceX's planned 4000-satellite Starlink constellation to provide broadband Internet access.

These satellites replace the MicroSat 1a and 1b microsatellites as the first test satellites for the SpaceX constellation. The first phase of testing will include two satellites: Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b.

Both of these satellites will be deployed in one mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon-9 v1.2 launch vehicle into an orbital plane of 514 km circular at 97.44 degrees inclination. After insertion, the satellite orbits will be raised to the desired mission altitude of 1125 km circular. The designed lifetime of each satellite is six months. If this lifetime is exceeded, SpaceX plans to continue operation until such time as the primary mission goals can no longer be met, at which point the spacecraft will be deorbited. Both Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b are identical in their construction and operation.

(No image available.)

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Specifications

Type / Application:|
  • Experimental Communication)

Operator:|
  • SpaceX

Contractors:|
  • SpaceX

Equipment:|
  • Ku-band transponder
  • Low-resolution imager

Dimensions:|
  • 1.1 m × 0.7 m × 0.7 m

Propulsion:|
  • ?

Power:|
  • Two 2 m x 8 m solar panels
  • Batteries

Lifetime:|
  • 1 year

Mass:|
  • ~400 kg

Orbit:|
  • 511 km × 511 km
  • 97.44°

The primary structure for the Microsat-2a and -2b test spacecraft will be a box design measuring 1.1 m × 0.7 m × 0.7 m and carries the spacecraft flight computer, power system components, attitude determination and control components, propulsion components, GPS receiver, and broadband, telemetry, and command receivers and transmitters. The primary bus is mounted on the payload truss system, which also carries communications panels, inter-satellite optical link transmitters and receivers, star trackers, and a telemetry antenna. There are two 2 m × 8 m solar panels. Each demonstration spacecraft has a total mass of approximately 400 kg. The attitude of each spacecraft is 3-axis stabilized, and is dynamically controlled over each orbit to maintain attitude position for two pointing modes of operation: broadband antenna (antennas to nadir for testing) and solar array (solar arrays facing sun for charging). Power is provided by solar panels designed to deliver sufficient power at the predicted end of spacecraft life to not impair any test objectives. The Thermal Control System ensures that components are kept within operational temperature ranges.

In addition to proving out the development of the satellite bus and related subsystems, the test program for the Microsat-2a and -2b spacecraft will also validate the design of a phased array broadband antenna communications platform (primary payload) that will be included in the final spacecraft design for the proposed NGSO constellation. SpaceX intends to test the Microsat-2a and -2b communication paths utilizing five broadband array test ground stations located in the western United States, as well as three transportable ground stations that will be deployed near the fixed ground station locations, all within the contiguous United States (“CONUS”). With the orbit profile provided, broadband array tests (Ku-band) will be conducted on average once every 0.9 days for less than 15 minutes. The primary Telemetry, Tracking, and Command (“TT&C”) ground station will be located near the primary test site in Redmond, WA to facilitate and control the broadband array testing. The testing will help to validate a number of design parameters.

Launch Vehicle:

Falcon 9 FT represents an evolved version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket incorporating a number of performance enhancements to enable the launch vehicle to lift heavy satellites to Geostationary Transfer Orbit while preserving the option of re-using the first stage. Operated by Space Exploration Technologies, the rocket represents the third evolutionary stage of the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9 Full Thrust (FT) vehicle is also known as ‘Falcon 9 Upgrade,’ ‘Enhanced Falcon 9,’ ‘Full Performance Falcon 9’ and ‘Falcon v1.2.’

The Falcon 9 FT launch vehicle is based on the Falcon 9 v1.1 (F9R) which in turn built on the original Falcon 9, retrospectively known as the v1.0 version of the rocket. Falcon 9 v1.0 was inaugurated in 2010 and flew successfully five times until 2013 when it was succeeded by the v1.1 version of the launcher. Falcon 9 v1.1 is retired after 15 missions, one of which was a failure. The v1.1 version itself was subject to a stepwise evolution, notably the implementation of reusability technologies on its first stage. These systems, among other changes, are standard on the Falcon 9 FT that premieres in late 2015 and is likely the final version of Falcon 9 with the maximum possible performance.

27294262015_caf6d1648c_o-683x1024.jpg

The Falcon 9 Full Thrust launch vehicle retains the overall design of the previous Falcon 9 rockets as a two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. Its first stage includes all systems necessary for an operational re-use of stages while the second stage is operated as an expendable rocket stage.

Falcon 9 FT stands 70 meters tall, is 3.66 meters in diameter and has a launch mass of 549,054 Kilograms. Both stages use sub-cooled Liquid Oxygen and chilled Rocket Propellant 1 as propellants consumed by Merlin 1D engines, nine of which are installed on the first stage while the second stage hosts a single Merlin 1D engine optimized for operation in vacuum.

SpaceX lists the payload capability of the Falcon 9 FT as 22,800 Kilograms to Low Earth Orbit and 8,300kg to Geostationary Transfer Orbit – these figures are for the fully expendable configuration of the vehicle. Leaving sufficient propellant margin for the return of the first stage to the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship for later re-use cuts the payload mass to GTO to around 5,500 Kilograms.

To achieve an operational re-usability of Falcon 9 first stages, all Falcon 9 FT rockets are outfitted with a reaction control system, four grid fins for steering and four deployable landing legs. Dropping the second stage off on its way to orbit, the first stage goes through a series of complex propulsive maneuvers before guiding itself through the atmosphere towards a target landing site for a soft touchdown under the power of one of its Merlin engines to be re-used on a future flight.

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Specifications

Height:|
  • 70m

Diameter:|
  • 3.66m

Launch Mass:|
  • 549,054kg

Stages:|
  • 2

Boosters:|
  • None

Mass to LEO:|
  • 22,800 kg

Mass to GTO:|
  • 8,300 kg

Mass to Mars:|
  • 4,020 kg

Launch Cost:|
  • $62M


Weather forecast for Vandenberg AFB

https://weather.com/weather/today/l/USCA0629:1:US

Unfortunately, I can't access Vandenberg AFB's webpage, but the launch day weather forecast should be available here.


Links:
 
Last edited:

BrianJ

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Looks like they are going for a single 2nd stage burn direct to a 514km orbit, so a steep ascent profile I would think.

The MicroSats have me pondering...two 8m x 2m solar arrays on a 0.7m x 0.7m x 1.1m satellite.......that's about the same area that Dawn has...10kW of power....just strikes me as a lot for a "MicroSat".
microsat1a.jpg
 

Nicholas Kang

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A successful launch!

Launch video:


Footages from the Californian coast.


[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E9H1-CaCpo"]SpaceX Falcon 9 PAZ Satellite Launch [Los Angeles,CA] - YouTube[/ame]

Good separation of Paz.

index.php


Microsat separation is outside of ground coverage. But they should be confirmed on social media platforms.

By the way, the microsats look huge.

index.php


Oh, they are trying to recover the fairings as well. Let's keep our fingers cross.

[ame="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/966682218411143169"]Elon Musk on Twitter: "Made it back from space and fairing parafoil just deployed. Now trying to catch it ..."[/ame]

Hmm... :hmm:

[ame="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/966692641533390848"]Elon Musk on Twitter: "Missed by a few hundred meters, but fairing landed intact in water. Should be able catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down descent."[/ame]

Never mind. Try next time.
 
Last edited:

Andy44

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That fairing looks like the thing James Bond was surfing around on in one of Pierce Brosnan's films.
 

Unstung

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ULA plans to recover Vulcan's engines in mid-air, but it might not be worth it to go after fairings with a helicopter.
 
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