Following on from a record-setting year SpaceX got an early start to 2018 with the successful launch of the secret Zuma payload. The launch occurred at 8:00 pm EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Launch Complex (LC) 40 following a smooth countdown.
The launch which was originally scheduled for November last year was delayed due to an issue found while testing payload fair separation data for another customer. Details of the payload are secret and the broadcast we cut off after the successful landing of the first stage back at CCAFS Landing Zone 1.
We may not get any further updates on the success of the mission, if anything is posted we will update this post.
Update (1/8) – We are hearing rumors that the Satellite may have failed after reaching orbit. No official response yet and no clue if this was an issue during launch or after deployment. We will update the story when we have more information.
Update (1/9) – Due to the secrecy of this mission it is difficult to get true information but multiple sources have said that the Satellite did indeed fail, the two most likely candidates are that it never deployed from the 2nd stage or that it did deploy but didn’t function correctly.
SpaceX released the following statement regarding the launch which indicates that the Falcon 9 performed as expected.
The following statement is from Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX:
“For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible.
“Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule. Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight. We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks.”
We will continue to monitor the situation and update if more information becomes available.
SpaceX concluded it’s launch manifest for 2017 with the successful launch of the 4th Iridium Next and deployment of another ten Iridium Next satellites. The booster used for this mission previously launched ten Iridium Next satellites in June of this year.
This was the 18th launch this year for SpaceX and 45th Falcon 9, unlike previous Iridium launches SpaceX didn’t land the booster instead letting is splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
SpaceX continued their record settings year with the launch of the Koreasat 5A payload today from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. This was the 16th launch of the year for SpaceX doubling last years launch total with potentially three more to come and was the 13th landing with the first stage returning to the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Of Course I Still Love You”.
Following a smooth countdown, the Falcon 9 lifted off at 3:34 pm EDT from LC-39A and successfully delivered the payload to orbit 35m 38s later.
SpaceX Launch/Landing Stats can be found here
Thales Alenia Space confirmed successful acquisition of signal
SpaceX completed their 15th launch of 2017 with the delivery of the SES 11/EchoStar 105 satellite to orbit this evening, this was the 3rd launch using a flight-proven booster.
Following a smooth countdown the rocket lifted off at 6:53 pm EDT and 37 minutes later delivered the payload to orbit.
Following the successful launch, the first stage returned to the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Of Course I Still Love You” making this the 18th time they have landed a stage.
This was the 43rd launch of the Falcon 9 for SpaceX.
This morning SpaceX completed the third of their Iridium Next launches delivery another ten satellites to orbit.
As with the previous Iridium launches the rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s Vandenburg launch site at 8:37 am EDT. Once in orbit, the ten satellites were delivered to their destinations successfully. After separation, the first stage of the rocket landed back on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read The Instructions”.
This was the 14th launch for SpaceX in 2017 and 42nd overall for the Falcon 9. This was the 11th landing this year with a total of 17 to date.
SpaceX completed another important milestone with the successful launch of the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 5 (OTV-5) today. Despite the weather showing only a 50% chance that it would cooperate SpaceX was able to lift off at 10:00 am EDT.
Due to the secrecy of the launch, SpaceX only showed the launch until stage separation and the landing of the stage.
This was SpaceX’s 13th launch of 2017 and 10th landing.
We are not sure at this time if there will be further updates from SpaceX or USAF on the status of the X-37B, if they are posted we will update the article.
SpaceX completed another launch today with the deployment of the Formosat 5 satellite following an on-time launch from Vandenburg.
Following separation of the first stage, the booster returned to land on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read the Instructions” in the Pacific ocean.
This was the 12th launch for SpaceX this year and 9th landing. With this launch, SpaceX still has more launches than any other country so far in 2017.
SpaceX resumed their 2017 launch campaign today with the successful launch of the Dragon vehicle for the CRS-12 mission to the International Space Station. As with previous CRS launches the first stage returned to land at Landing Zone 1.
This launch comes after a month break to allow the 45th Space Wing to perform maintenance needed around Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Base.
This was SpaceX’s 11th launch this year and 8th landing.
This evening SpaceX completed it third launch in twelve days as it successfully delivered the Intelsat 35e satellite to orbit. The expendable Falcon 9 launched at 7:37 pm EDT and successfully delivered the payload to its Geostationary Transfer Orbit.
The launch was originally scheduled for the 2nd but was delayed due to a GNC criteria issue with just 10 seconds left in the countdown, the next attempt on the 3rd was also aborted at 10 seconds resulting in SpaceX taking the 4th to review the rocket and pad systems before attempting again today.
This was the tenth launch in 2017 for SpaceX, who at this point have launched more than any other country.
Due to range maintenance in Florida, there will be no more launches in July but you can be sure that SpaceX will be busy during that time as they are still actively working on fixing LC-40 and there is also a possibility that the Crew Access Arm may be installed on Pad-39A.
The next SpaceX launch is currently scheduled for August 10th with the CRS-12 Cargo Mission.
In the second launch in two days SpaceX successfully deployed ten more Iridium® NEXT satellites. The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from Vandenberg, CA carrying the ten satellites at 4:25 PM EDT and 57 minutes later started deploying the individual satellites.
The first stage landed back on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read The Instructions”, which as Elon Musk tweeted earlier had to be repositioned.
This was the first Falcon 9 launch that used a newer design for the grid fins and according to another tweet from Elon performed better than expected.
This was the ninth launch this year and seventh landing, making this the most launches in a single year for SpaceX.