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Falcon 9 launch timeline with Orbcomm satellites

Track the progress of the launch and landing of SpaceX’s upgraded Falcon 9 rocket carrying 11 Orbcomm message relay satellites with this timeline of major events in the flight sequence.

The 229-foot-tall rocket is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 8:29 p.m. EST Monday (0129 GMT Tuesday) on its 20th flight, and the first in a new configuration with uprated engines, colder, densified propellant and a modified staging system.

The rocket is targeting deployment of the 11 Orbcomm satellites, each weighing about 380 pounds (172 kilograms), in the first 20 minutes of the mission. The flight is shooting for a nearly circular orbit with a high point of 410 miles (660 kilometers), a low point of 385 miles (620 kilometers), and an inclination of 47 degrees.

The first stage booster will aim for landing back at Cape Canaveral near the launch pad about 10 minutes after liftoff in an experimental maneuver SpaceX intends to advance its reusability research and development program.

Data source: SpaceX and Orbcomm

NOTE: Times are approximate. Unlike most commercial launch operators, SpaceX does not release exact times of some flight events.

T-0:00:00: Liftoff

After the rocket's nine Merlin engines pass an automated health check, four hold-down clamps will release the Falcon 9 booster for liftoff from Complex 40.

After the rocket’s nine Merlin engines pass an automated health check, four hold-down clamps will release the Falcon 9 booster for liftoff from Complex 40.

T+0:01:13: Mach 1

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Mach 1, the speed of sound.

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Mach 1, the speed of sound.

T+0:01:24: Max Q

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.

T+0:02:20: MECO

The Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1D engines cut off.

The Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines cut off.

T+0:02:24: Stage 1 Separation

The Falcon 9's first stage separates from the second stage four seconds after MECO. The spent stage will descend back to Earth for an attempted landing on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Falcon 9’s first stage separates from the second stage moments after MECO.

T+0:02:35: Stage 2 Ignition

The second stage Merlin 1D vacuum engine ignites for an approximately 6-minute burn.

The second stage Merlin 1D vacuum engine ignites for an approximately 8-minute burn.

T+0:02:55: Fairing Jettison

The 5.2-meter (17.1-foot) diameter payload fairing jettisons once the Falcon 9 rocket ascends through the dense lower atmosphere. The 43-foot-tall fairing is made of two clamshell-like halves composed of carbon fiber with an aluminum honeycomb core. SpaceX has not disclosed the exact time of fairing jettison.

The 5.2-meter (17.1-foot) diameter payload fairing jettisons once the Falcon 9 rocket ascends through the dense lower atmosphere. The 43-foot-tall fairing is made of two clamshell-like halves composed of carbon fiber with an aluminum honeycomb core. This is an approximate time. SpaceX has not disclosed the exact time of fairing jettison.

T+0:04:XX: Boostback Burn

The Falcon 9's first stage booster ignites its engines for a "boostback" burn after using cold gas thrusters to flip around and head back to the Florida coast.

The Falcon 9’s first stage booster ignites its engines for a “boostback” burn after using cold gas thrusters to flip around and head back to the Florida coast.

T+0:8:XX: Re-Entry Burn

Another firing of the first stage engines further slows down the falling booster to set up for touchdown at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.

Another firing of the first stage engines further slows down the falling booster to set up for touchdown at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.

T+0:10:XX: Booster Landing

A final landing burn with one of the first stage's Merlin engines guides the 156-foot-tall booster to a touchdown at Landing Zone 1, about 6 miles south of the Falcon 9's launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

A final landing burn with one of the first stage’s Merlin engines guides the 156-foot-tall booster to a touchdown at Landing Zone 1, about 6 miles south of the Falcon 9’s launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

T+0:10:XX: SECO 1

The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after completing the first of two burns to inject the Deep Space Climate Observatory on an escape trajectory.

The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after reaching an orbit with an apogee of 410 miles (660 kilometers), a perigee of 385 miles (620 kilometers) and an inclination of 47 degrees. SpaceX has not disclosed the exact time of second stage engine cutoff.

 

T+0:15:XX: Begin Orbcomm Separations

The 11 Orbcomm satellites, mated to three dispenser rings on top of the Falcon 9 second stage, begin deploying at set intervals. The separation sequence should be complete at T+plus 20 minutes.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

Source: Space Flight

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Falcon 9 launch timeline with Orbcomm satellites

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