Technology: SpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites - PressFrom - US

TechnologySpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites

18:30  11 january  2019
18:30  11 january  2019 Source:

SpaceX wins approval to deploy more than 7,500 satellites

SpaceX wins approval to deploy more than 7,500 satellites Elon Musk’s SpaceX won permission to deploy more than 7,000 satellites, far more than all operating spacecraft currently aloft, from U.S. regulators who also moved to reduce a growing risk from space debris as skies grow more crowded. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has two test satellites aloft, and it earlier won permission for a separate set of 4,425 satellites -- which like the 7,518 satellites authorized Thursday are designed to provide broadband communications. It has said it plans to begin launches next year.

SpaceX rocket launches 10 Iridium NEXT satellites . SpaceX plans to launch the fourth set in late November. With a successful launch Monday "We're 10 for 10, a clean sweep of Iridium NEXT satellite deployments in the desired final orbit," said SpaceX mission commentator John Insprucker.

Iridium is replacing its existing constellation by sending 75 Iridium NEXT satellites into space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket over 8 different launches . The launch of Iridium ’s second generation global satellite constellation is one of the most significant commercial space ventures ever.

SpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites© SpaceX 011119-iridium1.jpg

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a final set of 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites blasted off from California early Friday to complete a $3 billion 75-satellite upgrade that will add long-awaited broadband and aircraft tracking services to Iridium's globe-spanning satellite telephone network.

SpaceX planned to recover the booster's previously flown first stage with a landing on an off-shore droneship named "Just Read The Instructions." It was the company's first landing try since a wayward booster returned to an off-target splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Canaveral on Dec. 5.

Rocket carrying 64 satellites takes off from California

Rocket carrying 64 satellites takes off from California A SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small satellites has lifted off from California with a first stage that has been used twice before. The Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:34 a.m. Monday, arcing over the Pacific west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space. If all goes well, the rocket's first stage will perform a so-called boost back maneuver and land on an unmanned ship in the Pacific. The first stage was previously launched and recovered during missions in May and August. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has made reusability a major goal.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Monday, before succcessfully deploying the third batch of ten Iridium -NEXT communications satellites into Iridium uses a large constellation of spacecraft in low Earth orbit to provide mobile satellite communications worldwide.

9, launching ten more Iridium Next satellites on a Falcon 9 from California. The SpaceX Falcon 9, on the 14th mission of the year for the company European manufacturer Thales Alenia Space is building the Iridium Next constellation of 81 satellites and integrating them at partner Orbital ATK’s satellite

Assuming Friday's launch goes well, SpaceX will turn its attention to readying another Falcon 9 for launch early next month from the Kennedy Space Center on a critical test flight of the company's commercially-built Crew Dragon astronaut ferry ship.

If the unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station goes smoothly, SpaceX and NASA hope to launch the first two-man crew to the lab complex later this summer, the first piloted launch aboard an American-made rocket since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.

For Iridium, the launching Friday marked a major milestone in its own right, the eighth and final flight in a complex satellite-by-satellite replacement of the company's aging first-generation relay stations with more powerful spacecraft offering more faster communications and new services.

Reused rocket takes off carrying 64 satellites

Reused rocket takes off carrying 64 satellites A SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small satellites lifted off from California on Monday, marking the first time the same Falcon 9 rocket has been used in three space missions.The rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, arcing over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space. Minutes later, the rocket's first stage performed a so-called boost back maneuver and landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific. The landing marked the first time SpaceX had flown a first stage three times.

A used SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 10 new communications satellites into orbit from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base today (March 30) The Falcon 9 rocket, which first flew in October 2017, launched the fifth set of Iridium Next satellites for Iridium Communications at 10:13 a.m. EDT

This was the seventh set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium ’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium ® NEXT. The satellites began deployment about an hour after launch . Following stage separation, SpaceX successfully landed

"The ending (of the launch campaign) doesn't seem as big of a deal as the beginning," said Matt Desch, Iridium's CEO. "Well, for Iridium it's a huge deal. ... There was a lot of excitement when our first launch finally occurred two years ago on Jan. 14, 2017, which was amazing and very important. But our final launch ... is by far the most important milestone of all."

He said the completion of the $3 billion network refresh will open the door to new services and revenue streams, "but to me, this launch symbolizes something even more important."

"It means finally realizing the dream the founders of this system had more than 30 years ago," he said. "It means our network will finally achieve the financial independence and the security that make the satellite network operator mature and successful and creates a lot of opportunities for us that we've never had before.

"This is a big deal for our customers, our partners and frankly, for the industry itself."

Moldy mouse food postpones SpaceX launch

Moldy mouse food postpones SpaceX launch SpaceX has postponed its cargo launch to the International Space Station until Wednesday after mold was found on food bars for a mouse experiment bound for the orbiting outpost, NASA said. The launch was initially set for Tuesday. The new time is 1:16 pm (1816 GMT) Wednesday. "The launch was moved to Wednesday after mold was found on food bars for a rodent investigation prior to handover to SpaceX," NASA said in a statement late Monday. "Teams will use the extra day to replace the food bars." Some 40 mice are part of the experiment aimed at studying the effects of microgravity in the immune system.

SpaceX 's sixth Iridium NEXT launch , carrying satellites 51 through 55, is targeted for around mid May, using another previously flown booster for a flight shared by a NASA payload. Two more Falcon 9/ Iridium NEXT flights are expected later this year. The new spacecraft feature a phased-array

Just three days after launching a heavyweight communications satellite from Cape Canaveral, SpaceX fired off another Falcon 9 rocket from California early Wednesday carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites , the latest additions to a nearly complete billion network of satellite telephone relay

The Falcon 9, using a first stage that helped launch a satellite from Cape Canaveral last September, thundered to life at 10:31:33 a.m. EDT (GMT-5) and climbed away from complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.

With its nine first stage engines generating a combined 1.7 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon 9 quickly arced away to the south over the Pacific Ocean as it consumed propellants, lost weight and smoothly accelerated toward a 483-mile-high polar orbit tilted 86.4 degrees to the equator.

Two-and-a-half minutes after launch, the first stage fell away and re-oriented itself for re-entry and landing. The second stage, meanwhile, fired up its single engine for the first of two planned burns to reach the target altitude.

Once in position about an hour after launch, the Iridium NEXT satellites were expected to be released, one at a time, from a dispenser atop the second stage.

The first stage was programmed to fire three of its engines in a "boostback" burn to reverse course, then again to slow down for the tail-first plunge back into the thick lower atmosphere. Using titanium "grid fins" to maintain its orientation, the rocket was expected to re-ignite a single engine for landing on the droneship "Just Read The Instructions" about seven minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX to launch U.S. spy satellite in first national security mission

SpaceX to launch U.S. spy satellite in first national security mission Elon Musk's SpaceX was poised on Tuesday to launch a new spy satellite for the U.S. military, marking what the space transportation company said was its first designated national security mission for the United States. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a roughly $500 million GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin Corp , was scheduled for lift off from Florida's Cape Canaveral shortly after 9 a.m. (1700 GMT) local time, the U.S. Air Force said.

SpaceX successfully delivered 10 additional Iridium Next satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) approximately one hour after its Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 9. With two successful launches already completed this year, this third batch of 10 satellites

This is the second set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium ’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium ® NEXT. Following stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 successfully landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship stationed in

SpaceX's recovery record going into Friday's flight stood at 32 successful landings, 20 on droneships, 11 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and one at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Six landing attempts were unsuccessful.

While a key part of SpaceX's drive to lower launch costs, booster recoveries are a secondary objective. The primary goal of Friday's flight was putting the 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into the intended orbit.

The Iridium constellation requires 66 satellites, 11 in each of six orbital planes, putting users within line of sight from anywhere in the world. The 10 launched Friday were bound for plane No. 3, the only one still using older-generation block 1 satellites. Those six older relay stations will be replaced by six of the new spacecraft with the remaining four serving as orbital spares.

After Friday's launch, Iridium will have the full suite of 66 NEXT satellites in orbit with nine space-based spares and another six held in reserve on the ground.

SpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Iridium NEXT satellites being prepared for launch in a clean room at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

"The new satellites are a lot more powerful, a lot more processing power, they've got a lot more memory, a lot more capacity, they actually expand our ability to support customers," Desch said in an earlier interview. And, he added, "they're easier to operate."

SpaceX halts launch of U.S. military satellite due to winds

SpaceX halts launch of U.S. military satellite due to winds Elon Musk's SpaceX scrapped Saturday's launch of a long-delayed navigation satellite for the U.S. military due to strong upper level winds. The next launch attempt will be on Sunday at 8:51 a.m. EST/ 13:51 UTC, according to SpaceX officials. The launch, SpaceX's fourth attempt in a week after technical and weather delays, would have been the rocket firm's first national security space mission for the United States. Musk's rocket company has spent years trying to break into the lucrative market for military space launches long dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co. SpaceX sued the U.S.

SpaceX successfully launched 10 communications satellites into low-Earth orbit today (Oct. The private spaceflight company SpaceX successfully launched 10 communications satellites into low-Earth Insprucker said. "A clean sweep of Iridium Next satellite deployment in the desired final orbit."

SpaceX had made a steady launch cadence, a failure-free year and initial Falcon 9 re-flight missions their goals Also set for 2018 is the debut of SpaceX ’s crewed Dragon spacecraft, set for Iridium – hoping to have all 75 NEXT satellites in orbit by the end of August 2018 – therefore decided to book

The 1,896-pound solar-powered satellites, designed by Thales Alenia Space and mass produced assembly-line fashion by Northrop Grumman in Arizona, each feature a phased-array antenna that can generate 48 beams over a footprint 3,000 miles across.

Each satellite can communicate with up to four others -- one ahead, one behind and one to either side in adjacent orbital planes -- to provide a global communications network that includes hand-held phones, machine-to-machine devices and ship- and aircraft-born data transmitters.

The Iridium Certus payload will provide L-band communications at up to 1.4 megabits per second for ships, aircraft and other mobile users. While relatively slow by smartphone standards, it's a major boost given the 128-kilobit-per-second speed of Iridium's block 1 satellites.

"When you're in the middle of nowhere, or the cockpit of an airplane or you're on a ship, that's going to be a whole lot more performance," Desch said.

The new spacecraft also carry a payload provided by a multi-agency consortium known as Aireon that will track aircraft anywhere in the world. The result, Desch said, will be improved safety and efficiency.

"Airplanes are going to be able to take off that otherwise would be held on the ground because the air traffic controllers know they'll be able to see them," Desch told reporters last week. "There's this east coast thing, for example, when storms come through where they hold airplanes at JFK going to the Caribbean because they don't want to fly them out over the ocean where they can't see them. Now, they'll be able to see them.

"There'll be routes that'll be shorter and time taken out because they're more direct, they'll be faster airplanes they can route around slower airplanes, they're going to be able to save fuel. All of these things add up to a lot of improvement in the air traffic control (system). I think it's inevitable that everybody will be deploying it."

Ariane rocket puts telecoms satellites into orbit for India.
Two communications satellites -- for India and a consortium from Saudi Arabia, Greece and Cyprus -- were successfully put into orbit by the European aerospace firm ArianeGroup, the company announced.Competition by commercial operators in the lucrative rocket industry has intensified in the past few years, particularly since the launch of Elon Musk's re-usable SpaceX. An Ariane 5 rocket with a payload of nine tonnes lifted off from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana late Tuesday, the first of five launches scheduled for this year, ArianeGroup said.

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