Update: Despite no plans for a pre-eminent static fire, SpaceX is still on track to try its final release and land in 2020 as early as 9 am EST (14:00 UTC), Thursday, December 17th.
After prediction preflight normal wet dressing (WDR) and elevation static fire prior to each launch from September 2016, SpaceX has begun phasing out the requirement for flight-tested rockets in 2020. Instead, if flight or post-flight monitoring reveals issues, static fires serve more as a data-based analysis tool. . For flight-proven boosters with a clean bill of health, so to speak, SpaceX seems to be bold enough to skip the approach on a few in-house Starlink shows and a weird customer mission.
Now, despite the NROL-108 embarking on NRO’s first direct launch deal with SpaceX and the first flight on a Falcon 9 rocket of any kind, not to mention the four-speed upgrade -sets designed to support it, the espionage group seems to have the same confidence in SpaceX. Falcon 9 B1059, a new high-end and payload, and unannounced NROL-108 payload went vertically at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) 39A on Dec. 16 – far too late for WDR or fire test Any static before launch attempt in early December 17 December.
The mission is the 26th SpaceX and the final event of 2020 and – stopping a big surprise – the last U.S. orbital launch of the year. SpaceX usually broadcasts the release live, with coverage starting approximately 15 minutes before it is picked up (8:45 am EST / UTC-5).
The National Survey Office (NRO) says SpaceX is still on track to try to launch their last Falcon 9 and land in the year after a delay of nearly two months.
Originally expected to launch as early as October, the secret espionage agency’s NROL-108 launch plans were quietly revealed in standard communications license applications filed by SpaceX with the FCC. Unfortunately, these plans came around the same time as the Falcon 9 booster engine case that canceled the SpaceX launch at the last second and forced the company to conduct a quick but extensive anomaly investigation. . As it turned out, the Falcon 9 upgrade specified to support NROL-108 (B1059) was largely a sister to the three new boosters affected by the study.
SpaceX may have to turn some of the nine Merlin 1D engines on B1059, although a much more promising result came as B1059 had successfully launched four shows at that time. Ultimately, while not known with certainty, NROL-108 satellite payload issues (s) are the most likely cause for most of the eight-week delay that followed. Now, confirmed by the NRO on December 14, SpaceX plans to launch its second mission for the spy group earlier than (NET) 9 am to 12 pm EST (14: 00-17: 00 UTC) on Thursday, December 17th.
For SpaceX, this is the third time in a month that a customer has effectively jumped on several Falcon 9 upgrade reuse milestones, once again reflecting real confidence in the company’s experience with flight-proven rockets. On December 6, the Falcon 9 upgrade lifted the B1058 for the fourth time in support of SpaceX’s CRX-21 spacecraft restart mission to NASA, marking the space agency’s first two-time launch no three-leaf elevation.
On December 13, carrying a large communications satellite for Sirius XM, another Falcon 9 upgrade lifted off for the seventh time, becoming the first private buyer to launch a SpaceX rocket five -flies or six-planes.
As little as four days after SXM-7, SpaceX now plans to launch a secret mission NROL-108. This is the first time the NRO will have launched a payload on a commercial rocket of any kind, as well as the first announcement of a two-fly, three-fly, or four-fly boost – the number most are long. a SpaceX customer has never jumped. NRO’s first and only SpaceX launch – technically contracted by spacecraft provider Bell Aerospace, not NRO itself – was completed in May 2017.
While not as important, NROL-108 will also be the first U.S. government announcement at SpaceX of the four-flight Falcon 9 upgrade, but another sign that even its most conservative messengers have fully bought into value. and the reusability of rockets.
After launch, the Falcon 9 B1059 will move around and head back towards the Florida coast for landing at one of the two East Coast Landing Zones. Using a minute or so after an escalation split, the two Falcon 9 payloads are expected to shower down some 330 km (~ 205 mi) downhill, where the SpaceX GO Search and GO recovery vessels will be Ms Tree will try to get past him.