SpaceX is in the final stages of preparing a trio of Falcon 9 rockets that are ready for launch in less than two days. A potential hat trick will likely be Falcon’s last chance to launch before the end of 2022. The matter arose when SpaceX began experiencing a sudden increase in launch delays over the past two months.
Falcon launch dates should be considered a bit more uncertain than usual even once confirmed by SpaceX until it is clear that all available indications show that SpaceX and its customers are following the three-I plan. Back-to-back-to-back planning Back-to-back Falcon launch dates are moving forward with plans for back-to-back launches. before the end of the week.
A trio of diverse surface water and ocean topography SWOT spacecraft is set to launch on a nearly $1.2 billion joint mission between NASA and the French space agency CNES. Thanks to the COVID pandemic, which continues to impact NASA and the aerospace industry at large, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory completed its portion of the SWOT nearly 9% over budget and eight months behind schedule PDF Mission 2019 2012 originated in.
Many other NASA missions have experienced cost increases of 10–100%, which generally reflect well on the management of the SWOT. The SWOT is a roughly two ton (~4400 lb) satellite mounted on two large synthetic apertures. Designed to conduct the first global survey of all surface water on Earth using radar (SAR) antennas and a conventional radar altimeter.
At a cost of approximately $112 million, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch SWOT into low Earth orbit LEO just before 3:46 AM PST 11:46 UTC on Thursday, December 15 NET. SpaceX already successfully tested the SWOT’s Falcon 9 on December 10. The rocket was returned to Vandenberg Space Force Base VSFB Space Launch Complex 4E for payload installation in the company’s hangar, before being towed back to the pad on December 13.
The light satellite and low target orbit will allow the Falcon 9’s booster to return to the launch site and land in SpaceX’s LZ-4 landing zone, eliminating the need for drone ship recovery Another Falcon 9 rocket operator Friday, December 16 at 4 p.m.: At 21 o’clock the first two of eleven Boeing-built O3B mPower communications satellites for the SES are scheduled to be launched. et. et. et. EST (21:21 UTC).
Following liftoff from SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCFSS) LC-40 pad, the Falcon 9 will launch the pair of approximately 3.4 tonnes (~7500 pounds) of satellites into Medium Earth Orbit MEO with an altitude of 7825 kilometers (4862 miles).
It is unclear what orbit the Falcon 9 will launch the satellites into, but the rocket’s booster will land on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas (ASOG) at a distance of about 700 kilometers (~435 mi), indicating that it will perform a same mission will perform. ASOG departed Port Canaveral on 11 December, confirming that launch preparations are well underway.
A third Falcon 9 rocket could launch SpaceX’s first Starlink mission on October 28 at 4:54 or 5:13 am EST (21:54 or 22:13), possibly with the O3B mPower. 1 and 2 just 33 or 52 minutes later. If both missions launch on December 16, which a reliable source of unofficial information has indicated is not guaranteed, it would break the US record for back-to-back launches of the same rocket family. However, Russia’s R-7 rocket family would retain the international crown, after launching twice in 25 minutes in 1969.
Starlink 4-37 will take off from SpaceX’s NASA Kennedy Space Center LC-39A pad, and its Falcon 9 booster will attempt to launch on the Drone Ship Just Read the Instructions (JRTI). JRTI departed Port Canaveral on 12 December. After Starlink 4-37, SpaceX has plans for at least two more launches before the end of 2022. in California on December 29.
It’s worth noting that in SpaceX’s nearly 17-year history of Falcon operations, the company has never launched a rocket after December 23 or before January 6. Transporter-6 and EROS-C3 will be SpaceX’s 60th and 61st launches of the year when they are currently installed the explicit firewall has to be broken.