SpaceX To Land Several Falcon-9 Launches On Offshore Barge Due To Environmental Approvals

Posted: Jan 14 2016, 9:39pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Space launches
Photo credit: SpaceX

On Sunday, January 17, SpaceX will commence on preparing a number of space launch manifest for 2016 on behalf of the US, and it will be launching a Jason-3 satellite from the Vandenberg AFB in Southern California on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and France - America Space reported.

To this end, the Earth-observing satellite is being mated atop SpaceX’s Falcon-9 v1.1 rocket today, already sealed within its bullet-like protective payload fairing as operations continue towards a Sunday launch attempt from Space Launch Complex 4 East, currently targeting a 30-second launch window at 10:42 a.m. PST (1:42 p.m. EST).

Based on this coming mission, SpaceX will try a booster landing that will not take place on any floating barge on the ocean, but rather on solid ground at its Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS). Attempting to land on solid ground will be tried for the next few launches to provide an alternative way of landing flights on their return to Earth.

Mission and launch managers gave SpaceX the go-ahead to proceed with the launch after a successful approval on their Flight Readiness Review, and the space company then proceeded to run a standard static test fire by firing its nine engines for a few seconds on Monday, January 11 without any problems reported.

“The plan is to do a static fire on the launch pad there to confirm that all systems are good and that we’re able to do a full-thrust hold-down firing of the rocket,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had said, adding that the that its next few missions will be drone ships.

The company disclosed no environmental approval was received in time to land Jason-3 on land, and this is what informed SpaceX’s decision to land it on the drone ship ASDS. And then, the initiative will be good for future high velocity launches without the requisite delta velocity budget to return it to the launch site.

“A decision for drone ship vs. land is based on a number of things (payload weight, orbit, performance requirements, environmental concerns and Falcon-9 1.1 versus the new upgraded version),” SpaceX wrote in a statement. “The big thing with our recovering of boosters is the acceleration—not the altitude. Because most payloads need to reach orbital velocity (and different orbits such as LEO or GEO), fuel requirements are the big thing (which stems from payload and trajectory of each particular mission).”     

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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