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Home / Science / SpaceX's fairy catching boat sets sail, this time with a larger net – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX's fairy catching boat sets sail, this time with a larger net – Spaceflight Now



SpaceX's disguise recovery boat, Mr. Steven, will showcase a larger Falcon 9 missile launch network from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Wednesday. Picture credits: SpaceX

After several near-misses attempting to capture the cargo hulls dropped by Falcon 9s, a high-speed boat tasked with recovering SpaceX ships into the Pacific was prepared for a launch Wednesday by the Vandenberg Air Force in California.

The disguise fund ship, named "Mr. Steven," left the port of Los Angeles late Monday on its way to a position in the Pacific Ocean several hundred kilometers south of Vandenberg, where the two halves of the Falcon 9's payload fairway after launch will fall with 10 Iridium voice and data relay satellites. [19659003] The disguise will leave about three minutes after takeoff and for 4:39:30 PDT (7:39:30 EDT; 1139: 30 GMT) from the Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg, a military facility about 225 km northwest of Los Angeles.

Each half of the disguise carries a guidance system, tiny thrusters, and a parafoil to control descent to Earth. Instead of letting the fairing dive into the sea like other rockets, SpaceX wants to regain disguise reuse by following the company's success in recycling the first stage of the Falcon 9.

Mr. Steven will attempt to maneuver under one of the fairing halves to net the composite structure. Closer to the California coast, another ship, a drone ship called "Just Read the Instructions," will hold the position for the landing of the first Falcon 9 booster.

It will be the first time that SpaceX uses the oceancraft to recover both the first stage of the Falcon 9 and part of the payload fairing on the same mission. If SpaceX can grab both parts of the rocket on Wednesday, it's the first time that the company has successfully landed part of the disguise with Mr. Steven and the 26th first stage booster intact.

SpaceX has tried to catch panels before, but none of them has fallen into Mr. Steven's network engineers have christened the "catching glove".

A before-and-after view of Mr. Steven with the old web and the new, larger web. Credit: SpaceX

The payload fairing protects satellites flying into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and keeps the satellites from the weather conditions during pre-launch preparation and aerodynamic forces during takeoff through dense, deeper regions From the Atmosphere

Once in the rare, almost airless environment of space, the Falcon 9 is programmed to drop the disguise.

So far, SpaceX has only tried to use a boat during Vandenberg missions, which is used for launches with satellites moving in orbits that fly over the Earth's poles. It is expected that the company will eventually use several ships for foreclosure after its market launch from California and Florida.

Payload fairings from Cape Canaveral's Falcon 9 launches have also carried recovery equipment, but SpaceX has not attempted retrieval (19659003). SpaceX confirmed the existence of Mr. Steven earlier this year and the ship made its first known launch Attempting to grab a grenade at a launch on February 22nd from Vandenberg with the Spanish Paz radar observation satellite and a grenade two testbeds for SpaceX's planned broadband Internet network.

Part of the payload fairing of a May 22 rocket of Falcon 9 hovers in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: SpaceX

During the last SpaceX launch in Vandenberg on May 22, Mr. Steven hit half of the Falcon 9's payload fairing within 50 yards, the company said on Twitter

Mr Steven is four times the size of the previous one.

"Falling rockets from space has been difficult, so we've made the grid really big," wrote SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk on Twitter

Ultimately, the recycling initiative was designed to highlight the cost of launching lower, so musk.

With the latest improvements to the "Block 5" Hawk of the Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon 9's fairing is "fully recoverable," Musk told reporters at a May 10 conference.

But engineers want to bring the disguise back with a ship instead of allowing the shroud to fall into the sea, where saltwater can damage or contaminate delicate parts. 196590 03] "On future flights, we are confident that panel reuse will be effective, which is a big deal, as each of these panels costs about $ 6 million and is an integral part of the rocket's airframe." Musk said:

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket was lifted on Tuesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, before launching on Wednesday. It will be the first Falcon 9 Block 5 model to be launched from California. Credit: SpaceX

The satellites launching on Falcon 9 on Wednesday will almost complete the new generation iridium speech constellation "Iridium Next".

The Falcon 9 rocket completed a knockout engine at launch in Vandenberg Saturday, and ground crew rolled the launcher back into its hangar for securing the 10 Iridium Next satellites and their customized multi-payload dispensers.

The fully assembled rocket was raised vertically on Tuesday's SLC-4E, and the launch team plans to arrive at its control center overnight as the countdown at 4:39 local time is ticking off for a dawn break.

Launching on Wednesday, the launch vehicle will be the third Falcon 9 rocket to be upgraded, the first-stage Block 5 Booster, the latest version of SpaceX's Workhouse launcher, and the first California-based block 5 mission.

The mission of Wednesday will be just over three days later, the latest Falcon 9 mission, also a block 5 flight from Cape Canaveral. A Falcon 9 rocket lifted Telnet's 19 VANTAGE communications satellites from the Florida's Florida Coastline on Sunday, a high-performance broadband station that traverses the equator on a geostationary orbit of more than 22,000 miles (over 36,000 kilometers).

Built by Thales Alenia Space and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems – formerly Orbital ATK – the Iridium relay satellites fly in lower orbits, and the Falcon 9 rocket will fly south from the California Central Coast into a polar orbit.

Artist concept of an Iridium Next satellite. Image: Iridium / Thales Alenia Space

The timetable sees the shutdown of the Falcon 9's second engine at T + plus 8 minutes, 33 seconds, followed by a 43-minute coastal phase before the restart of the Merlin-Oberstufen engine at nine -second ignition starting at T + plus 51 minutes, 33 seconds

Then the 10 Iridium Next satellites, each weighing about 896 kilograms, are triggered by the upper stage at intervals of 90 seconds each. All 10 spacecraft should be separated from the rocket by T + plus 71 minutes, 38 seconds, according to a SpaceX-published mission timeline.

Wednesday's flight is the seventh SpaceX launch to transport Iridium Next payloads, typically 10 at a time on top of the Falcon 9 rockets. The last satellite launch of the Iridium satellites in May led to five of the company's spacecraft, with the remainder of the rocket capacity in a ride to a pair of US German climate probes.

Ten more Iridium Next satellites are to be launched later this year, the total number of new generation launched to 75. Six additional spaceships are under construction by Northrop Grumman and Thales Alenia Space at a plant in Arizona to be held in reserve as ground replacements.

The Iridium Next satellites provide enhanced global telephone and messaging services to the company's one million subscribers, replacing an aging fleet of spacecraft launched in the late 1990s and early 2000s

E-mail to the author. 19659003] Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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