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SpaceX’s Latest Timeline for Tonight’s Launch and Landing Attempt

SpaceX is currently aiming for a Dec. 21 launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 11 satellites for Orbcomm. SpaceX will also attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral. The landing of the first stage is a secondary test objective. Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX released a timeline for Monday’s Falcon 9 launch and first stage landing attempt, which the Hawthorne, California, company will webcast beginning at approximately 8:10 p.m. Eastern with the 5-minute launch window opening at 8:29 p.m. Eastern.

If all goes according to plan, Falcon 9’s first stage will separate two minutes and 24 seconds after lifting off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, begin its boost-back burn about a minute-and-a-half later, and finally land — or attempt to land — at the Cape right around 10 minutes after liftoff.

Deployment of Orbcomm’s 11 machine-to-machine communications satellite — the main objective of tonight’s mission — is expected to begin 15 minutes after launch and conclude 5 minutes later. All 11 satellites should deploy their antennas and solar arrays and start transmitting signal within 31 minutes of Falcon 9’s liftoff.

The timeline and mission information comes straight from SpaceX’s Orbcomm-2 mission press kit:

COUNTDOWN
Hour/Min Events
-00:34 Launch Conductor takes launch readiness poll
-00:30 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) and liquid oxygen (LOX) loading underway
-00:10 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
-00:02 Range Control Officer (USAF) verifies range is go for launch
-00:01:30 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
-00:01 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
-00:01 Pressurize propellant tanks
-00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff

LAUNCH AND FIRST-STAGE LANDING
Hour/Min Events
+00:01 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
+00:02:20 1st stage engine shutdown/main engine cutoff (MECO)
+00:02:24 1st and 2nd stages separate
+00:02:35 2nd stage engine starts
+00:03 Fairing deployment
+00:04 1st stage boostback burn
+00:08 1st stage re-entry burn
+00:10 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO)
+00:10 1st stage landing
+00:15 ORBCOMM satellites begin deployment
+00:20 ORBCOMM satellites end deployment
+00:26 1st satellite completes antenna & solar array deployment & starts transmitting
+00:31 All satellites complete antenna & solar array deployment & start transmitting

Mission Overview
With this mission, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 11 satellites to low-Earth orbit for ORBCOMM, a leading global provider of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. The ORBCOMM launch is targeted for an evening launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. If all goes as planned, the 11 satellites will be deployed approximately 20 minutes after liftoff, completing a 17-satellite, low Earth orbit constellation for ORBCOMM.

This mission also marks SpaceX’s return-to-flight as well as its first attempt to land a first stage on land. The landing of the first stage is a secondary test objective.

Payload
ORBCOMM OG2 is the world’s first and only commercial satellite network 100 percent dedicated to machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The ORBCOMM network uses low-Earth orbit satellites to provide reliable and cost-effective M2M communications to and from the most remote areas of the world.

ORBCOMM satellites are constantly in motion around the Earth, providing inherent network redundancy and minimizing line-of-sight issues for continuous global coverage. Each satellite’s VHF frequency furthers signal propagation and message delivery is unaffected by bad weather. In addition, the optimized message size is ideal for M2M applications.

Each OG2 satellite will offer up to twelve times the data access and up to twice the transmission rate of an existing OG1 satellite. Each OG2 satellite is the equivalent of six OG1 satellites, providing faster message delivery, larger message sizes and better coverage at higher latitudes, while significantly increasing network capacity.

ORBCOMM’s proven ground infrastructure enables worldwide M2M satellite messaging. The company’s 16 Gateway Earth Stations in 13 countries track and establish two-way satellite communications, while the company’s Gateway Control Centers process the data and provide the interconnection to terrestrial communications networks. ORBCOMM’s Network Control Center in Sterling, Va. serves as the focal point for managing the company’s satellite constellation and ensuring reliable message delivery.

SpaceNews.com

Source: Space News

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SpaceX’s Latest Timeline for Tonight’s Launch and Landing Attempt

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