Space-X Falcon Heavy launching Aussie weather satellites today

 

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  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
Cool stuff and we should as a country think about how to build a spaceport in the NT and offer Spacex and others access to the site at reduced rates.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Great launch.  Best bit was the center core missing its target (the barge) and crashing into the sea in a ball of flames....
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
Great launch.  Best bit was the center core missing its target (the barge) and crashing into the sea in a ball of flames....
Carnot

Thanks now I have to watch it.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
Great launch.  Best bit was the center core missing its target (the barge) and crashing into the sea in a ball of flames....
Carnot
Yes the whole launch was spectacular. Best part for me was the successful landing of the side cores.


Lest anyone think the worst, recovery of the center core is a secondary mission and does not affect the primary mission of satellite insertion.

cheers
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Lest anyone think the worst, recovery of the center core is a secondary mission and does not affect the primary mission of satellite insertion.
arctic
I do wonder, though, whether the future of the Falcon Heavy will see most launches using the hybrid configuration of an expendable first stage with recoverable boosters.

A Falcon Heavy in full reusable configuration can lift less payload to GTO (geostationary transfer orbit) than a Falcon 9 expendable launch, but at a much higher cost to the customer. Most of that penalty of the payload comes from having the recoverable first stage, therefore the hybrid configuration would avoid most of that penalty.

Cool stuff and we should as a country think about how to build a spaceport in the NT and offer Spacex and others access to the site at reduced rates.
8077
Leaving aside the issues of economics, a launch site in the NT would not offer a suitable range for either polar or equatorial orbits.

Redevelopment of the RAAF facilities in the Woomera Prohibited Area would be good for both polar and equatorial orbits. Transport options would be quite good as well, since ships could bring in boosters to a port at Point Lowly (potential deep water port location north of Whyalla) or within the Cultana Defence Area for transfer to rail for the trip north to Woomera.

Somewhere on the coast of Queensland would offer an ideal location for equatorial orbits, but the high humidity (reduces performance) and high exposure to tropical cyclones (lots of scrubbed launches, expensive weather proofing of facilities) would rule it out for a new build commercial launch site. Cape Canaveral has similar problems, and would almost certainly be passed over as a prospective launch site if it were being built today without the ability to make use of existing facilities.

I'm not sure that Australia could possibly offer enough advantages to either of the two major US-based commercial launchers (United Launch Alliance and SpaceX) to offset the cost of reworking their entire supply chains which are currently focused on convenient rail and sea access to launch sites at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB. These two companies also derive a lot of their business from various US national security agencies (the US Air Force was the primary customer of today's Falcon Heavy launch) who would insist on keeping things in the USA.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Great launch.  Best bit was the center core missing its target (the barge) and crashing into the sea in a ball of flames....
Carnot
Recovery of the centre core is proving to be a bit of a pain for them, even when they got it successfully in STP1, it fell off in rough seas on the way back.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Great launch.  Best bit was the center core missing its target (the barge) and crashing into the sea in a ball of flames....
Recovery of the centre core is proving to be a bit of a pain for them, even when they got it successfully in STP1, it fell off in rough seas on the way back.
RTT_Rules
I wonder if better sea conditions for downrange recovery of the first stage (i.e. in the Gulf of Mexico, not the Atlantic Ocean) was part of the reasoning for SpaceX selecting the South Texas option for their private launch site?
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
Great launch.  Best bit was the center core missing its target (the barge) and crashing into the sea in a ball of flames....
Recovery of the centre core is proving to be a bit of a pain for them, even when they got it successfully in STP1, it fell off in rough seas on the way back.
RTT_Rules
This most recent launch was STP-2, Spacex had nothing to do with STP-1 (if there was one). I think you mean Arabsat 6A where the landing was good but the core fell over later in rough sees. This risk is mitigated now by modification of the holddown device ("octograbber")which was not available for Arabsat 6A.

So the summary of Falcon Heavy center core landings is:
- Demo: Failed to light engines for landing burn. Ran out of starter fuel.
- Arabsat 6A: successfully landed but because "octograbber" was unavailable, rough seas got it.
- STP2: Landing burn obviously started but then aborted or failed for so far publicly unknown reasons.

Cheers
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

This most recent launch was STP-2, Spacex had nothing to do with STP-1 (if there was one).
arctic
Correct. It would seem logical that STP-2 would follow on from STP-1, but remember that these payload names are selected by the primary customer of the launch rather than indicating the sequence of launches.

From a SpaceX perspective, this was launch FH 3 (Falcon Heavy 3).

There was a STP-1 mission, launched by United Launch Alliance in 2007. STP is the Space Test Program, the coordinating program for US Department of Defence scientific research satellites.

A quick look online would reveal that there have been a lot more than just two STP satellites launched, but this is only the second time that STP has been the primary customer for a multi-satellite launch given a 'STP-x' payload name. The next one will be STP-3, scheduled to be launched on an Atlas V by ULA later this year.

I think you mean Arabsat 6A where the landing was good but the core fell over later in rough sees. This risk is mitigated now by modification of the holddown device ("octograbber")which was not available for Arabsat 6A.

So the summary of Falcon Heavy center core landings is:
- Demo: Failed to light engines for landing burn. Ran out of starter fuel.
- Arabsat 6A: successfully landed but because "octograbber" was unavailable, rough seas got it.
- STP2: Landing burn obviously started but then aborted or failed for so far publicly unknown reasons.
arctic
The aborted recovery of the FH 3 first stage has now been confirmed as being due to one of the engines having its thrust vector control fail due to the high G-force and heat in the re-entry.


The impact was very close to the landing ship. I expect that the review of this failure will include looking at whether their abort options are safe enough to avoid the Falcon Heavy setting a record as the most expensive anti-ship missile in the world.

There was one minor new success for them this time around as they finally managed to catch one of the payload fairings in a net, where previously the best result had been fishing them out of the sea.

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