Following several delays to ensure the booster was ready for launch SpaceX successfully completed their 16th launch of 2018 with the deployment of the Telstar 18V satellite to its Geostationary Transfer Order.
This was the 2nd launch for Telstar in two months following the successful launch of the Telstar 19V satellite in July.
The first stage successfully landed on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY)
This was the 61st launch of Falcon 9 and 29th landing.
SpaceX continued their 2018 launch campaign with the successful deployment of the Merah Putih communications satellite for Telkom Indonesia this morning.
The 5000 kg satellite was successfully deployed to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit and is now making its way to its operating orbit.
This was the first reflight for a Block 5 Falcon 9 booster which was previously used in May to launch Bangladesh’s Bangabandhu-1 satellite. Following successful stage separation the booster landed on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, Of Course I Still Love You.
This was the 60th flight of Falcon 9, 13th with flight proven booster and the 28th landing.
This morning SpaceX completed their 14th launch of the year and second of the week with the successful deployment of another 10 Iridium Next satellites. This was the second launch of the morning coming just 14 minutes after the Arianespace launch, however, the mission completed first due to the shorter coast phase before deployment.
Launching from their Vandenberg launch site the Falcon 9 lifted off at 07:39 am EDT. This was the third launch of the upgraded Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9, despite some heavy wind sheer in the Pacific ocean the booster successfully landed on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Just Read The Instructions.
During this launch, SpaceX also attempted to recover one half of the payload fairing on their ship Mr. Stevens. Unfortunately, due to the wind sheer in the Pacific, they were not able to recover the fairing this time.
This was the 59th Falcon 9 launch and 27th landing.
Today my family and I were able to see our first live rocket launch with the successful liftoff of the Falcon 9 carrying the Dragon Spacecraft to orbit for SpaceX’s CRS-15 mission to the International Space Station.
Originally the plan was to get up a 2 in the morning and drive from Davenport, FL to Titusville, FL to watch the launch, however, my wife decided that we should stay in Titusville on Thursday night so that we only needed to drive a few minutes to get a location to view the launch.
We decided to watch from nearby the Max Brewer Bridge as there was plenty of available space along the road. While we waited I attempted to take some pictures of the Vehicle Assembly Building which was directly across the water from where we stood, however the Nikon D50 camera that we currently own wasn’t able to handle it well. Thankfully once the rocket actually launched I was able to get some pictures on the camera. Our kids also had their phones and took some amazing pictures which I have included below.
While I have watched most of the launches online over the years to experience it live for the first time was definetly worth the effort of getting to the launch and I would strongly recommend anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to do so.
Early this morning SpaceX successfully launched the SES-12 satellite, the launch was originally scheduled for May 31st but was delayed to allow SpaceX additional time to check the rocket’s second stage to ensure mission success.
The nine Merlin 1D engines came to life at 12:45 am EDT following a smooth countdown and propelled the payload to orbit, this was the 11th launch of the year for SpaceX. There was no attempt to salvage the first stage which had been flown on a previous mission to boost the Airforces X-37B spaceplane. The payload fairings where set to be picked up from the ocean once they had landed as the catcher boat is still station off the West Coast as they perfect the process of catching them.
To date, SpaceX has launched 55 Falcon 9’s, 13 of them reused.
SpaceX continued their 2018 campaign with the successful launch of five more Iridium Next satellites as well as two for NASA.
The NASA satellites consisted of two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) satellites which will measure variations in gravity over Earth’s surface.
The two Grace satellites were deployed shortly after the second stage reached orbit, it then coasted for 45 minutes before firing the engine for the second time and then deploying the five Iridium Next satellites.
This was the 10th launch of the year and the 9th for Falcon 9, this was also the 12th time that SpaceX used a previously flown booster. To date, SpaceX has successfully launched 56 times (2 Falcon 1, 53 Falcon 9 and one Falcon Heavy) and delivered 114 satellites, 15 Dragons, and a Roadster to orbit.
SpaceX continued its 2018 launch campaign with the successful launch of the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 aboard its first Block 5 Falcon 9.
The Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9 has been designated as the final version and incorporates a number of changes designed to allow multiple flights to be performed by each booster with minimal to no changes needed. During a conference call today Elon Musk explained that the changes also addressed all of NASA Crew requirements.
The most obvious visual changes are the black interchange at the top of the first stage, the larger landing legs, which are now retractable. Other changes that have been detailed include upgraded Engines to address a cracking issue in the turbopump blades and also increases the thrust by 8%, new Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV) tanks.
With this launch, SpaceX returned to fast fueling process with both the RP-1 and LOX loading starting at T-35m. This was the process was in use when the AMOS-6 incident happened, SpaceX stopped using it after that until now.
After successfully completing its job of boosting the rocket towards orbit the first stage successfully landing on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean.
This was the 9th launch of 2018 and 54th overall for Falcon 9, and the 5th landing of 2018 and 25th overall.