IRIDIUM-8 Launch

Articles about GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, WAAS and other satellite navigation systems
jimh
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IRIDIUM-8 Launch

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:17 am

I just watched the live stream of the SpaceX FALCON 9 launch of the IRIDIUM-8 payload. The launch was from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with a trajectory to the South. The main engine FALCON 9 booster rocket was successfully recovered in the Pacific Ocean by autonomously landing itself on the drone ship, MV JUST READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. To be able to control the rocket, return it to Earth, and land it on a ship is really, well, rocket science. It looks like the rocket landed about 6-inches off target center. This is just amazing stuff. Landing a rocket on a ship requires some rather careful navigation--of both the rocket and the ship.

The mission payload consists of ten IRIDIUM-Next satellites, numbers 66 to 75. The IRIDIUM satellite constellation and network is what provides most "sat-phone" service for the entire globe. The name "Iridium" was taken from the atomic number of the element Iridium, 77, because the original plan called for having 77 satellites in orbit. The satellite constellation was later reduced to 66. The original constellation began to be launched in 1998. The IRIDIUM-Next is the second generation of satellites, with the first launch about two years ago. With this eighth mission, the $3-billion refresh of the satellites will be complete. SpaceX has provided the launch service for all the IRIDIUM-Next missions.

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Dutchman
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Re: IRIDIUM-8 Launch

Postby Dutchman » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:57 am

Truly AMAZING, what is next self driving cars and boats? Wait that is already happening. Things will change fast in the next 20 years.
Our combustion engine Boston Whalers will be truly antiques.
EJO
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50th edition 2008 Montauk 150, w/60HP Mercury Bigfoot

jimh
Posts: 6100
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Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: IRIDIUM-8 Launch

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:31 pm

SpaceX's track record on this project was very good: 75 satellites to put into orbit, and 75 successful orbital insertions.

If interested, watch the replay at

SpaceX IRIDIUM-8 MIssion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VshdafZvwrg

Also: the first stage Falcon 9 booster used in the IRIDIUM-8 mission was on its second flight. It has flown once before and was successfully recovered on that flight.