SpaceX set more milestones today with the successful launch of the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission containing 64 payloads from their launch complex at Vandenberg. The deployment of the individual payloads will be performed by Spaceflight now there vehicle is in orbit.
This was the 19th launch of the year for SpaceX breaking last year’s record, was the third flight of a single booster 1046, and contained the most payloads in a single mission 64.
The first stage successfully landed back on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Just Read the Instructions which was station just off the coast near Vandenberg. The booster wasn’t able to return to the launch site due to the classified NROL-71 payload that is waiting for launch on a Delta IV Heavy next week.
During this launch, Mr. Steven’s attempted to make another capture of the payload fairs but was unsuccessful, however as Elon Musk tweeted it was able to successful pick up the fairing from the ocean and SpaceX will dry them out and use them again.
This was also the first booster to launch from each of SpaceX’s launch pads having previously launched from LC-39A at KSC and LC-40 at CCAFS.
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 successfully launched another 10 Iridium Next satellites from their Vandenburg launch pad today. The launch was originally scheduled for March 30th but was delayed a day due to a testing issue with one of the 10 satellites that turned out to be a cable issue with the test system.
Following a smooth countdown, the flight-proven booster’s nine Merlin 1D engines ignited and liftoff occurred at 10:13 am EDT. The 10 satellites were successfully deployed to orbit an hour later.
This was the 5th Falcon 9 launch of 2018 and 51st overall, as with other recent flights SpaceX elected to not recover the first stage booster as it was an older version and instead focused on the payload fairing recovery. At present we haven’t heard any status other than this from Elon.
The fairing recovery wasn’t successful as shown by this tweet from Elon Musk
Today also marks the one year anniversary of SpaceX’s first flight-proven booster launch and with this launch, they have now reused ten boosters.
The launch broadcast we cut off after the 2nd stage engine cut-off due to a licensing issue with NOAA as seen here.
SpaceX successfully launched their CRS-13 mission to the International Space Station today marking the return to flight for Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). The launch was delayed a couple of days to allow SpaceX time to resolve an issue with particles in the 2nd stage fuel system.
This launch also marked the first time that SpaceX had used a flight-proven booster for a NASA CRS mission, the booster 10XX.2 previously launched the CRS-11 mission in June 2017. This was the second time a flight-proven Dragon capsule was used, having previously flown on the CRS-6 mission in April 2015.
This was SpaceX’s 17th launch for 2017 and the 45th flight of Falcon 9, and the 14th landing with 20 overall.
Today SpaceX once again made history with the first launch of a previously flown first stage booster. The Falcon 9 lifted off at 6:27 pm EDT today with the SES-10 payload.
The booster was previously used for the SpaceX CRS-8 mission on 8th April 2016, the booster was the first to successfully land on an Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS). Following a comprehensive review of the booster, SpaceX was confident that it was ready for a second mission which it completed today with the successful launch and landing this time back on the ASDS “Of Course I Still Love You”.
During a press briefing after the successful mission, Elon Musk revealed that the payload fairing had been successfully recovered to making yet another milestone in the march towards rapid reusability.
The SES-10 payload was successfully deployed to orbit 32 minutes after liftoff making this the fourth successful mission of 2017.