SpaceX Launches O3b mPOWER 3 and 4 Missions from Florida –

As SpaceX resumes Falcon launches following Starship’s exciting first orbital flight test last week, the company launched the O3b mPOWER 3 & 4 mission on Friday. The liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station took place at 6:16 p.m. EDT (10:16 p.m. UTC).

O3b mPOWER is a constellation of Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites owned and operated by Luxembourg’s satellite telecommunications network provider SES. Constellation provides high-throughput, low-latency data and Internet services to a variety of commercial and government customers.

The MPOWER satellites will form the second generation O3b satellite constellation, while the O3b mPOWER 3 and 4 are the second pair of satellites of this generation. The first pair was successfully launched aboard Falcon 9 in December 2022.

The company’s initial constellation consists of 20 satellites, all in MEO, launched on five Soyuz-ST-B/Fregat-MT missions between June 2013 and April 2019. O3b was originally owned by O3b Networks before being acquired by SES. in 2016.

The satellites that make up this second-generation constellation are built by Boeing and are based on the Boeing 702X satellite array. Announced in 2019, this platform is known as software-defined satellite and provides more flexibility and options to the satellite operator.

Now launched, the satellites will spend about six months using the onboard electric propulsion system to slowly raise their orbits until each one reaches its planned equatorial constellation orbit of 8,000 km (4,970 miles).

During this time, the satellites will also undergo various tests to ensure that all onboard systems are working as intended before they are put into service as part of the overall constellation.

The mPOWER 3 and 4 satellites were delivered to Cape Canaveral on April 11 to begin pre-launch processing, having already completed assembly and testing.

O3b mPOWER 3 and 4 prior to encapsulation in the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: SpaceX)

Once the satellites were unloaded from the transport container, they were attached to the Falcon 9’s payload adapter. They were then encapsulated between the two sides of the rocket’s 5.2 m (17 ft) diameter and 13.1 m (43 ft) high payload fairing.

The completed fairing section was then rotated horizontally and integrated with the rest of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle in the SLC-40 Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) before the completed rocket was rolled onto the launch pad.

The booster used on this mission was the B1078-2. This booster is very new to the fleet as it was recently launched for the first time on March 2nd where the Crew Dragon was launched. Make an effort on its fourth flight to the ISS as part of the Crew-6 mission.

As the satellites and their launch vehicle were prepared for the mission, SpaceX’s recovery fleet also began moving down to support the mission.

April 23 SpaceX’s Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) Just read the instructions (JRTI) towed from Port Canaveral Nicole Foss to begin moving 688 km down to the booster landing zone. Two days later, SpaceX’s recovery ship Bob also left port to support the mission and possibly recover both sides of the cargo fairing, which will attempt to parachute into the Atlantic Ocean after separating from the rocket.

On launch day, as with other Falcon 9 missions, a go/no-go survey was conducted on the T-38 minutes to ensure everything remained “go” for propellant loading.

With no problems reported, liquid kerosene, or RP-1, and liquid oxygen (LOX) began flowing into the first stage tanks within the T-35 minute. At the same time, the RP-1 also began to load on the second stage.

This continued until about the T-20 minute mark, when the RP-1 loading was completed in the second stage and the transporter/erector (T/E) purged its propellant lines. At T-16 minutes, LOX loading into the second stage began.

As Falcon 9 refueling continued, the vehicle began to cool the nine Merlin 1D engines in the first stage at about T-7 minutes to ensure the engines were at the correct operating temperature before ignition.

At minute T-1, the vehicle initiated launch and began performing various automated pre-launch checks, as well as compressing the fuel tanks to flight pressure prior to takeoff. The launch director will give the final “go” to the launch in about T-45 seconds.

First stage engine ignition occurred at T-3 seconds and takeoff at T0. Shortly thereafter, the rocket began a gravity turn. For this mission, the vehicle slowly rolled over and began heading east from Cape Canaveral to reach the equatorial orbit required for the satellites.

About two and a half minutes after liftoff, the first stage reached main engine cutoff (MECO) and shut down all nine of its engines. Shortly thereafter, it separated from the second stage and began its normal landing sequence.

December’s Falcon 9 launch with the first pair of O3b mPOWER satellites (Credit: Stephen Marr for NSF)

After separation, the first stage took place about six and a half minutes after takeoff, before a 1-3-1 entry burn in which one engine caught fire, followed shortly thereafter by two more engines — three in total — before landing back down. for one engine. This burn is expected to last about 20 seconds in total and helps protect the booster as it re-enters the denser regions of Earth’s atmosphere.

About eight and a half minutes after launch, as it approaches the drone, the first stage will begin its landing burn. This will help guide it to a soft touch on the deck Just read the instructionswhich will then take it to Port Canaveral to be turned around for its next mission.

While the first stage returned to Earth, Falcon 9’s second stage continued its primary mission of delivering the O3b satellites into orbit. Seconds after stage separation, its Merlin Vacuum (MVac) engine ignited and began the mission’s first burn.

Hull deployment occurred about three and a half minutes after liftoff, and the O3b mPOWER 3&4 were exposed to the vacuum of space for the first time. Both halves of the payload fairing fell from the rocket, initiating their own descent back to Earth, where they parachuted into the ocean to be recovered.

The second stage continued to burn until just over eight minutes after launch, at which point the MVac engine shut down as the vehicle entered low-Earth orbit. After coasting for about 20 minutes, the MVac will restart, burning for about 40 seconds to raise the apogee, or highest point, in the vehicle’s orbit to just below 7,000 km (4,349 miles) above Earth.

Once the second burn is complete, the second stage and satellites will coast until they reach apogee, at which point the MVac engine will ignite one last time, triggering a 30-second burn to cycle into orbit. After another short coasting phase lasting only a few minutes, the satellite will be deployed from the second stage to the upper position. About seven minutes later, the satellite will follow in the lowest position.

On-orbit rendering of the O3b mPOWER constellation (Credit: SES)

Friday’s launch brings the strength of the O3b mPOWER constellation to four of the planned 11 satellites. Although the constellation is not scheduled to be completed until 2024, SES plans to begin rolling out services in the second half of 2023 using satellites that will already be in service by then.

Another pair of O3b mPOWER satellites are currently scheduled to fly on a Falcon 9 mission from SLC-40 in May, and SpaceX has been contracted to deploy all 11 spacecraft.

(Main image: Falcon 9 launching from SLC-40

#SpaceX #Launches #O3b #mPOWER #Missions #Florida

SpaceX Starship launches from Boca Chica near Brownsville

Debris explosion from SpaceX rocket launch renews environmental concerns

Xbox S series

You should play this Xbox Game Pass shooter with a great performance by Lance Reddick