SpaceX successfully launches ten Iridium satellites into orbit


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Capitalism in space: SpaceX this morning successfully placed ten Iridium satellites into orbit using its Falcon 9 rocket.

They did maneuver and landing tests with the first stage, which was making its second flight, but did not try to recover it. They did attempt to catch one half of the rocket’s fairing with their fast-moving ship and its giant net. No word yet on whether that attempt worked. Fairing recovery failed. See comments below.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

9 China
6 SpaceX
4 Russia
3 Japan
3 ULA
2 Europe
2 India

The U.S. and China remain tied at nine for the lead in the national rankings.

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7 comments

  • Kirk

    Elon Musk: GPS guided parafoil twisted, so fairing impacted water at high speed. Air wake from fairing messing w parafoil steering. Doing helo drop tests in next few weeks to solve.

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/979764513233715200

  • Kirk

    * 22 December 2015 — 1st recovery: SpaceX lands first Falcon 9 booster, RTLS LZ1 at Cape Canaveral. That booster, #1019, is now on display outside their Hawthorne headquarters.
    * 8 April 2016 — 2nd recovery: Booster from CRS-8 flight lands on ASDS in Atlantic. That booster, #1021, was subsequently refurbished, and just under a year later, …
    * 30 March 2017 — 1st reuse: Booster #1021 is reflown, lofting SES-10, and landing (again) on ASDS in Atlantic.

    Over the 1 year period 30 March 2017 – 30 March 2018, SpaceX has had 21 launches involving 23 cores (the +2 from Falcon Heavy), with 13 of those cores making their first flight and 10 being reflown.

    (SES-10 was an afternoon launch, so we get to count both it and today’s Iridium NEXT 5 by properly defining our year.)

  • Willi

    Anyone know why NOAA forced SpaceX to cut off its reporting on the launch?

  • Kirk

    @Willi, NOAA, via its Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office, licenses all US based private remote sensing space systems, and someone (details here are not clear) recently decided that a rocketcam transmitting imagery from orbit showing the Earth in the background counted as such a system. (There is speculation that this might be in reaction to the “Starman” video.) SpaceX has a license in works which will cover future flights, but for this flight they had to terminate public rebroadcasting of the video just prior to achieving orbit.

    Quick answer: Stupid bureaucracy, but they are in the process of working around it.

    https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/979748665479876609

  • wayne

    Kirk–
    thanks for those tidbits!

  • Richard M

    How far the Russians have fallen.

    It should sadden us all a little. However much I loathed the USSR and what it stood for, its space program managed some truly extraordinary achievements in space despite difficult circumstances (and considerable human sacrifice). Today, its Roscosmos successor is a shell of its former self.

  • Edward

    Kirk wrote: “NOAA, via its Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office, licenses all US based private remote sensing space systems, and someone (details here are not clear) recently decided that a rocketcam transmitting imagery from orbit showing the Earth in the background counted as such a system.

    Yet another freedom taken from us. Can’t take pictures of the Earth from space without permission? What are the space tourists supposed to do to show everyone back home about their trip to space?

    I am pretty sure that the rocketcam imagery and tourist photographs were not intended by Congress to be the kind of commercial imagery needing regulation. They hardly fall under the base definition of remote sensing: the acquisition of information.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remote_sensing

    Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object and thus in contrast to on-site observation.

    Or am I being too cynical, today, about our increasingly tyrannical government?

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