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SpaceX launches rideshare mission, lands another Falcon amplifier – Spaceflight Now

Live coverage of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida. The Transporter 5 mission will launch 59 small payloads from customers around the world. Follow us on Twitter.

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Fifty-nine small satellites and hosted experiments were launched Wednesday at 2:35 p.m. EDT (1835 GMT) from Cape Canaveral with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The reusable Falcon amplifier returned to the Florida Space Coast for landing about eight and a half minutes later. The mission was the fifth for SpaceX’s small satellite transfer program.

The weather conditions were favorable for launching from Cape Canaveral. The take-off took place eight minutes later than originally planned to give more time to complete the heat test for the Falcon 9 payload development sequence.

The Falcon 9 rocket headed southeast of Cape Canaveral and then headed south along the east coast of Florida to place the mission’s 59 payloads on polar orbit. The first stage fired the nine Merlin engines for 2 minutes, 16 seconds, and then separated from the upper Falcon scene to begin its return to Florida.

The first stage gave pulses of cold gas nitrogen propellers to turn and fly first in the tail, then ignited three of the Merlin engines for a boost-back burn at the edge of space to reverse the course and head back to the Space Power Station. of Cape Canaveral.

The amplifier extended the titanium mesh blades to help steer the rocket back into the atmosphere and then fired three of its engines again for a re-entry burn. After decelerating at a speed less than the speed of sound, the rocket launched its main engine for a final braking maneuver shortly before a four-legged vertical landing in Landing Zone 1, less than 6 miles (10 km) from the launch pad.

The first stage of Wednesday’s mission – queue number B1061 – made its eighth launch and landing. It made its debut in November 2020 on a NASA crew mission that transported four astronauts into space and then launched four more astronauts on a crew flight in April 2021.

SpaceX re-launched the amplifier last June with a radio broadcast satellite for SiriusXM, last August with a Dragon cargo capsule headed for the International Space Station, and in December with a NASA X-ray astronomy satellite. The booster has now been launched three times this year: February 3 with 49 Starlink Internet satellites, April 1 with Transporter 4 and Wednesday with Transporter 5.

As the booster returned to Cape Canaveral after taking off Wednesday, the Falcon 9’s second-stage engine burned for about six minutes to reach a preliminary parking trajectory.

After the engine was stopped, an autonomous payload from the Nanoracks inside a box mounted on the upper stage was programmed to start a 10-minute experiment to demonstrate metal cutting in orbit. The Outpost Mars Demo-1 experiment included three small coupons made of corrosion-resistant steel, which a robotic arm would attempt to cut using friction milling technology.

Nanoracks says the experiment is a first step in demonstrating metalworking in orbit, which could lead to advances in construction and space saving, including the conversion of the upper stages of used launch vehicles into accommodation and research platforms.

The metal-cutting experiment was expected to be completed about 20 minutes after launch, after which it was supposed to download data and images with scientists through ground-based stations. Nanoracks are expected to know the results of the experiment late Wednesday or Thursday.

The work on the upper stage was not over. Another engine ignition occurred 55 minutes after the flight to place the payloads of the satellite on an almost circular orbit at an altitude of about 326 miles (525 km) and inclined 97.5 degrees to the equator.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on pad 40 in Cape Canaveral early Wednesday, hours before the launch of the Transporter 5 mission. Credit: SpaceX

Subsequently, the Falcon 9 began releasing the rest of its commercial and government payloads.

The satellite passengers on the Transporter 5 mission included the first Vigoride orbital vehicle built by a startup called Momentus, which will introduce a new water-based propulsion system.

There was also a Sherpa transport vehicle from Spaceflight, a company that specializes in space travel mediation for small satellites, with its own payload list. Another orbital transport vehicle from the Italian company D-Orbit was also separated from the upper tier Falcon 9 to perform orbital maneuvers before releasing multiple commercial small satin.

Other payloads on the Transporter 5 included five commercial ICEYE radar observation satellites, each weighing nearly 200 pounds (100 kg). There were four small optical imaging satellites of the Earth from the Argentine company Satellogic, which increased its constellation to 26 operational spacecraft. The Transporter 5 mission launched three microsatches from Canadian company GHGSat, which is developing a fleet of small satellites to monitor global greenhouse gas emissions.

There were also three spacecraft flying in the Transporter 5 launch for HawkEye 360, an American company that is building a satellite constellation to detect and locate the source of ground-based radio signals. HawkEye 360 ​​said earlier this year that its radio frequency tracking satellites had detected GPS interference in Ukraine as Russian military forces invaded the country.

Umbra, a startup based in Santa Barbara, California, has launched its third radar remote sensing satellite to the Transporter 5 mission. Another California-based company, GeoOptics, has also launched two small satellites for its commercial spacecraft.

There were five Lemur 2 CubeSats from Spire Global for weather, aviation and maritime space tracking, data retransmission support, optical payload hosting and radio frequency detection technology testing for the UK Department of Defense.

The U.S. Navy’s Missile Defense Service had two small technology demonstration spacecraft on the Transporter 5 mission to test cross-satellite communications connections.

NASA had two CubeSat missions launched on the Transporter 5 mission.

One of the CubeSats is called PTD 3, developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center to host a laser communication experiment from MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. The Terabyte Infrared Delivery, or TBIRD, experiment will test laser data connections between a small satellite and a ground station, helping to demonstrate technology that could allow satellite networks to transmit huge volumes of data much faster than via conventional radio. systems.

NASA’s other payload in launching the Transporter 5 was the CubeSat Proximity Operations Demonstration, which will demonstrate appointment, proximity operations and logging in using two CubeSat-sized shoeboxes.

One of the CubeSats in the Transporter 5 mission also carried the cremated remains of 47 people, part of a commercial memorial service provided by Celestis.

Read our story about the Nanoracks metal cutting experiment during the release of Transporter 5.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1061.8)

PAYLOAD: 59 microsatellites, CubeSats, orbital transports and hosted payloads

STARTING LOCATION: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

START DATE: May 25, 2022

LAUNCH TIME: 2:35:00 p.m. EDT (1835: 00 GMT)

START WINDOW: 57 minutes

WEATHER FORECAST: 80% probability of acceptable weather

RECOVERY AID: Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Station

AZIMUTH START: South-southeast, then south

TARGET TRACK: About 326 miles (525 kilometers), slope 97.5 degrees


  • T + 00: 00: Take off
  • T + 01: 12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
  • T + 02: 16: First main engine shutdown (MECO)
  • T + 02: 19: Stage separation
  • T + 02: 27: Second stage of engine ignition
  • T + 02: 32: First stage ignition with push (three engines)
  • T + 03: 19: Ends the first stage boost-back burn
  • T + 03:47: Fairing jettison
  • T + 06: 43: First stage of combustion ignition input (three engines)
  • T + 07: 08: The registration of the first stage ends
  • T + 08: 00: First ignition stage with landing combustion (one engine)
  • T + 08: 25: Cut off second stage engine (SECO 1)
  • T + 08: 33: First stage landing
  • T + 08: 35: Start of Nanoracks Outpost Mars Demo-1 experiment
  • T + 55: 27: Restart the second stage engine
  • T + 55: 59: Cut off second stage engine (SECO 2)
  • T + 59: 00: GeoOptics CICERO 2 Vehicle 2 separation
  • T + 59: 09: Separation SharedSat_2141
  • T + 59: 17: Spire’s Lemur-2 Karen_B separation
  • T + 59: 18: NASA Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3 split
  • T + 59: 37: Urdaneta separation
  • T + 59: 46: GeoOptics CICERO 2 Vehicle 1 separation
  • T + 59: 56: The split of Spire’s Lemur 2 Vandendries
  • T + 1: 00: 05: Omnispace Spark-2 split
  • T + 1: 00: 24: Spire’s Lemur 2 Tennysonlily separation
  • T + 1: 00: 47: Separation of GHGSat-C4 Penny
  • T + 1: 01: 00: Separation of Planetum 1 and SPiN 1
  • T + 1: 01: 09: Spire’s Lemur 2 Hancom-1 separation
  • T + 1: 01: 21: Separation of GHGSat-C3 Luca
  • T + 1: 01: 38: NASA CubeSat Proximity Operations Separation Demonstration
  • T + 1: 01: 50: Separation Connecta T1.1
  • T + 1: 01: 59: Spire’s Lemur 2 Mimi1307 separation
  • T + 1: 02: 13: Separation GHGSat-C5 Diaco
  • T + 1: 03: 18: Separation Foresail-1
  • T + 1: 03: 49: Fleet Space Centauri-5 Separation
  • T + 1: 04: 04: Separation of CNCE V4 and CNCE V5 of MDA
  • T + 1: 04: 20: The split of Satellogic Newsat 28
  • T + 1: 04: 42: Separation of Spaceflight Sherpa-AC1 transport vehicle
  • T + 1: 05: 28: Separation of Varisat-1C
  • T + 1: 05: 43: AMS separation
  • T + 1: 06: 07: Separation of BroncoSat-1
  • T + 1: 06: 35: Satellogic Newsat 29 split
  • T + 1: 08: 19: Separation of Satellogic Newsat 30
  • T + 1: 08: 40: First ICEYE satellite separation
  • T + 1: 09: 00: Separation of Satellogic Newsat 31
  • T + 1: 09: 22: Separation of D-Orbit ION SCV 006 transport vehicle
  • T + 1: 09: 44: Umbra separation
  • T + 1: 10: 05: Separation HawkEye 360’s Hawk-5B
  • T + 1: 10: 26: Separation HawkEye 360’s Hawk-5C
  • T + 1: 10: 48: Separation HawkEye 360’s Hawk-5A
  • T + 1: 11: 17: Separation of Momentus Vigoride transport vehicle
  • T + 1: 11: 56: Second ICEYE satellite separation
  • T + 1: 12: 29: Third ICEYE satellite separation
  • T + 1: 12: 51: Fourth ICEYE satellite separation
  • T + 1: 15: 22: Fifth ICEYE satellite separation


  • 156th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 164th launch of the Falcon missile family since 2006
  • 8th release of the Falcon 9 B1061 amplifier
  • 136th Falcon 9 launch from the Florida offshore space
  • 87th launch of the Falcon 9 from pad 40
  • 142nd overall launch from pad 40
  • 98th flight of a reused Falcon 9 amplifier
  • 5th Sharing Shipping Launched by SpaceX
  • 22nd launch of the Falcon 9 of 2022
  • 22nd launch from SpaceX in 2022
  • 22nd orbital launch based on Cape Canaveral in 2022

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