SpaceX launches heaviest payload on a Falcon 9 rocket – Spaceflight Now

1 in part: “Our work will allow SpaceX to begin deployment of Gen2 Starlink, which will bring the next generation of satellite broadband to Americans across the country, including those who live and work in Areas not reached by terrestrial systems or not normally reached by terrestrial systems. Starlink Gen2 constellation approval. Our work will also enable satellite broadband service around the world, helping to bridge the digital divide on a global scale.

“At the same time, this limited grant and associated terms will protect other satellite and ground operators from harmful interference, maintain a safe space environment, promote competition and protect orbital spectrum and resources for future use,” the FCC wrote. “We are delaying taking action on the remainder of the SpaceX application at this time.”

Specifically, the FCC has authorized SpaceX to launch the initial mass of 7,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites into orbits at 525, 530, and 535 kilometers, with inclinations of 53, 43, and 33 degrees, respectively, using Ku-band frequencies. and Ka-band. . The FCC has delayed a decision on SpaceX’s request to operate Starlink Gen2 satellites in higher and lower orbits.

Like the first Gen2 launch last month, Thursday’s Starlink 5-2 mission targeted the orbit, which is 530 kilometers (329 miles) high at an inclination of 43 degrees to the equator.

The Starlink 5-2 mission will add an additional 56 satellites to SpaceX’s Starlink Internet network. Credit: Spaceflight Now

SpaceX currently has approximately 3,400 Starlink satellites operating in space, with more than 3,100 operational and nearly 200 moving into operational orbits, According to tabular by Jonathan McDowellan expert in spaceflight activity tracking and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The first-generation Starlink network architecture includes satellites flying at an altitude of a few hundred miles, orbiting at inclinations of 97.6°, 70°, 53.2°, and 53.0° to the equator. Most of SpaceX’s recent Starlink launches have launched satellites in Shell 4, at an inclination of 53.2 degrees, after the company largely completed launches in its first 53-degree inclination structure last year.

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Starlink’s Shell 5 is widely believed to be one of the layers of the constellation’s polar orbits, at an inclination of 97.6 degrees. But the name of the first Gen2 missions – Starlink 5-1 and 5-2 – seems to indicate that SpaceX has changed the naming system for Starlink missiles.

The SpaceX launch team was stationed inside Launch Control Center south of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station preparing for the predawn countdown Thursday. SpaceX began loading ultra-cold condensed kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 vehicle in T-minus 35 minutes.

Helium pressure material also flowed into the rocket in the last half hour of the countdown. In the final seven minutes before liftoff, the Falcon 9 Merlin’s main engines are thermally conditioned for flight through a procedure known as a “chilldown”. The Falcon 9’s guidance and field safety systems are also configured for launch.

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket channeled 1.7 million pounds of thrust—produced by nine Merlin engines—to steer southeast into the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX resumed launches this winter using the southeast runway from Cape Canaveral, rather than runs to the northeast, to take advantage of better sea conditions for the first-stage landing of the Falcon 9 booster.

Over the summer and fall, SpaceX launched Starlink missions on trajectories northeast of Florida’s Space Coast.

The Falcon 9 rocket exceeded the speed of sound in about one minute, then shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after liftoff. The booster stage separated from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, then fired pulses from cold gas control thrusters and extended titanium grille fins to help guide the vehicle back into the atmosphere.

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A brake burn slowed the missile as it descended onto the drone ship. The reusable booster, designated B1067 in SpaceX inventory, completed its ninth flight into space Thursday.

The Falcon 9’s reusable payload fairing was discarded during the second stage burn. The salvage ship was also on station in the Atlantic to recover the nose cone halves after they had been sprayed under parachutes.

The landing of the first stage on Thursday’s mission occurred around the same time that the Falcon 9’s second stage engine to deliver the Starlink satellites into orbit failed.

The separation of the Starlink 56 spacecraft, built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, from the Falcon 9 rocket occurred 19 minutes after liftoff. The SpaceX ground team waited for confirmation of the spacecraft’s deployment milestone when the rocket passed within range of a tracking station in Australia about an hour after liftoff.

The Falcon 9’s guidance computer aims to deploy the satellites into an elliptical orbit at an inclination of 43 degrees to the equator, with an altitude of between 131 miles and 209 miles (212 by 337 kilometers). After separating from the rocket, the Starlink 56 spacecraft will unlock the solar arrays and run them through the steps of automated activation, then use the ion thrusters to maneuver into its operational orbit.

Rocket: Falcon 9 (B1067.9)

Payload: 56 Starlink satellites (Starlink 5-2)

Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida

Lunch date: January 26, 2023

launch time: 4:32:20 a.m. EST (0932:20 GMT)

weather forecast: 70% chance of fair weather; low to moderate risk of upper level winds; Reduced risk of conditions unfavorable to an enhanced recovery

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Recovery from boost: An unmanned ship with the “Just Read Instructions” logo, northeast of the Bahamas

AZIMUTH LAUNCH: southeast

target orbit: 131 miles by 209 miles (212 kilometers by 337 kilometers), 43.0 degrees

Launch timeline:

  • T+00:00: take off
  • T+01:12: Max Air Pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:28: Main Engine Cutoff Phase 1 (MICO)
  • T+02:31: Phase separation
  • T+02:38: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:42: Quiet off
  • T+06:42: first stage entry burner ignition (three engines)
  • T+07:00: First stage entry afterburner cut off
  • T+08:23: First stage burner ignition (single engine)
  • T+08:43: Second stage engine cut off (SECO 1)
  • T+08:44: First stage landing
  • T+18:49: Starlink satellite disconnected

Mission statistics:

  • The 199th launch of the Falcon 9 since 2010
  • 209th launch of the Falcon family since 2006
  • Ninth launch of Falcon 9 Booster B1067
  • The 171st Falcon 9 launch from Florida Space Coast
  • Falcon 9 launch #111 from pad 40
  • 166th launch overall from platform 40
  • Flight 141 of the repurposed Falcon 9 booster
  • The 69th Falcon 9 launch is primarily for the Starlink network
  • The fifth Falcon 9 launch in 2023
  • Sixth launch by SpaceX in 2023
  • Fifth orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2023

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