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Air Force requirements will keep SpaceX from landing Falcon 9 booster after GPS launch – Spaceflight Now

US Air Force's first upgraded GPS 3 Series Navigation Satellite is undergoing electromagnetic testing at Lockheed Martin's Denver plant. Credit: Lockheed Martin The requirement to launch the first in an upgraded line of US Air Force GPS navigation satellites including a late load of extra space for spacecraft and a military policy to reserve fuel to eliminate space junk will keep SpaceX from to regain the first phase of the Falcon 9 rocket after lifting Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, according to mission manager. The mission launched during a 26-minute opening at. 9:11 AM EST (1411 GMT) Tuesday will mark First time, SpaceX has launched one of its new Falcon 9 "Block 5" Boosters in a replaceable configuration since the latest Falcon 9 variant was debuted in May, with modifications aimed at make the first step easier to recycle and reuse. However, Falcon 9's landing capability will not be displayed on Tuesday's mission, which will explode from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch plate. The first stage of the rocket will fly without the four lanes dingben and aerodynamic grid to bring booster back to earth intact, according to Lee Rosen, SpaceX's Vice President for Customer Operations and Integration. The mission will be the first of SpaceX to sell Falcon 9's first stage since June, and the first time one of the company's new Block 5 Boosters has ever been intentionally rejected. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to participate in Tuesday's launch. There is a 90 percent chance of favorable weather.…

US Air Force’s first upgraded GPS 3 Series Navigation Satellite is undergoing electromagnetic testing at Lockheed Martin’s Denver plant. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The requirement to launch the first in an upgraded line of US Air Force GPS navigation satellites including a late load of extra space for spacecraft and a military policy to reserve fuel to eliminate space junk will keep SpaceX from to regain the first phase of the Falcon 9 rocket after lifting Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, according to mission manager.

The mission launched during a 26-minute opening at. 9:11 AM EST (1411 GMT) Tuesday will mark First time, SpaceX has launched one of its new Falcon 9 “Block 5” Boosters in a replaceable configuration since the latest Falcon 9 variant was debuted in May, with modifications aimed at make the first step easier to recycle and reuse.

However, Falcon 9’s landing capability will not be displayed on Tuesday’s mission, which will explode from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch plate.

The first stage of the rocket will fly without the four lanes dingben and aerodynamic grid to bring booster back to earth intact, according to Lee Rosen, SpaceX’s Vice President for Customer Operations and Integration. The mission will be the first of SpaceX to sell Falcon 9’s first stage since June, and the first time one of the company’s new Block 5 Boosters has ever been intentionally rejected.

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to participate in Tuesday’s launch. There is a 90 percent chance of favorable weather.

The Falcon 9 rocket is crowned with the Air Force’s first GPS 3 Series satellite, the leading edge of a new block of up to 32 Lockheed Martin-based navigation stations with better accuracy and power than previous GPS spacecraft. The satellite, worth more than half a billion dollars, goes to a runway about 12,550 miles (20,200 kilometers) above the ground, with a field track angled 55 degrees to the equator.

Instead of heading right east of Cape Canaveral, because the Falcon 9 rocket carries most of its commercial communications satellite loads, the SpaceX launcher moves to the northeast of the Atlantic, following a path that is approximately parallel to the American East Coast. Launch to the northeast reduces the extra speed boost that a rocket course receives from the Earth’s eastern rotation, which means it needs to burn more propellant accelerates the GPS satellite to the right track.

Air Force and SpaceX officials cited these factors together with the importance of the first GPS 3 Series satellite – designated GPS 3 SV01 – and “Uncertainty” in Falcon 9’s performance in such an orbital as a reason to decide to ward off a landing of Falcon 9 booster on Tuesday’s mission.

The air force must also conform to a government policy set up in recent years to avoid leaving burned rocket phases in circulation and Falcon 9’s upper stage will reignit after releasing the GPS 3 SV01 satellite to target a controlled destructive reintegration back to earth’s atmosphere a few hours later. Missionaries had to allocate some of the rocket’s fuel to burn the break to meet the air force requirement, which aims to prevent spacecraft.

“For this first launch for GPS, we have certain parameters in terms of where we have to put them in circulation, as well as what we have about the importance of the spacecraft,” said Walter Lauderdale, GPS 3 SV01 Head of Mission from the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise System Directorate. “And with this mission design to include a re-entry for divesting the second step, all who together took up performance requirements for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle (s) as it went through mission design, simply did not make enough performance reserve to fulfill our requirements and let them take the first stage, as they have done quite successfully. “

The first GPS 3 Series satellite also weighs more than originally planned after managers chose to load extra fuel in spacecraft, a move that gives the mission to add “elasticity,” said colleague Steve Whitney, director of the Global Positioning Systems Directorate on the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

The extra fuel load gives GPS 3 SV01 spacecraft a starting weight of approximately 9,700 pounds, or 4,400 pounds, according to Whitney. It is more than half a tenth above the expected satellite weight of the satellite.

“We added some extra fuel to some missionary capabilities to make sure the system will work,” Whitney said.

GPS 3 SV01 spacecraft encapsulated inside the Falcon 9 rocket payload at the Astrotech payload facility in Titusville, Florida. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The mix of launcher and satellite parameters is the key to designing a rocket mission and when Air Force and SpaceX see how Falcon 9 performs Tuesday, engineers can decide if future Falcon 9 starts with GPS satellites will be able to keep enough a propellant in the booster for a propulsion landing. Falcon 9’s landing legs and grids also find the importance of the rocket, which reduces the payload that can be dragged.

The launch of spacecraft GPS 3 SV01 is SpaceX’s first national security space mission, a class of US military and intelligence -Gathering payload that includes GPS navigation satellites, secure communications satellites, early warning signals and top secret surveillance spacecraft.

SpaceX has launched a handful of missions for US national security customers, including a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office and an Air Force X-37B spacecraft in 2017, but the launches were booked separately from the Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle or EELV. SpaceX’s Falcon rocket family and Atlas and Delta rocket fleets operated by the rival United Launch Alliance are currently certified by the Air Force to compete for the EELV Class Mission, which includes the military’s most costly and highest priority satellites.

During landing and renovation of rockets lowering the cost of future missions, air force officials said that their concerns about GPS spacecraft considered some other considerations.

“Frankly, the rocket is here to ensure we deliver this capacity safely and correctly on orbit,” Lauderdale said. “We continue to work with all our partners to see, when we look at the uncertainty and reduce it, looking for what opportunities there are in the future.”

After receiving the Falcon 9 Rocket Certification for National Security Releases In 2015, SpaceX won its first launch agreement for GPS 3 2016, an agreement that Air Force said to be valued at $ 82.7 million. The Air Force has since awarded SpaceX contracts for further four satellite launches of GPS 3 series in main-t0 main competitions with ULA, the only company that was certified to compete for launches of EELV classes for a decade.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was certified by the air force earlier this year, in the wake of the heavy lift’s first test flight in February. The Air Force has already assigned a National Security Launch Agreement to Falcon Heavy, as it was entitled to such missions.

File photo of a Falcon 9 first stage boating landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after a launch to revive the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX

“We do not want to commit a certain mission,” says Lauderdale, in response to a question as to whether boating countries could be feasible for future Falcon 9 / GPS launches. “Only basic, we need to work through uncertainty (and) to complete performance . Also, keep in mind, we have Block 5 introduced right now this year in May. We get flight experience, along with SpaceX, and it eliminates uncertainty. It gives us more confidence in what the performance the vehicle can deliver, and we continue to work as a partner to see what’s possible in the future. “

Lauderdale called the GPS 3 SV01 spacecraft that was launched for Tuesday” Precious Load. “

” We go through and make sure we take care of spacecraft so we can meet all our demands, “said Lauderdale.” All we make sure we treat it safely. “

” We’ll see what we actually observed in all (launch) environments, through all the efforts and achievements of Falcon 9, “he continued.” We’re coming to come back together as a team to refine our analysis and look for opportunities – while we deliver uncompromisingly spacecraft where it needs to go – and see if we can get performance back that would allow SpaceX to restore its booster. So it’s an ongoing process. “

The ULAs Delta 4 rocket is slated to launch the second spacecraft in GPS 3 next summer, a Air Force writer said on Monday. It is a few months later than the April launch date announced in April, saying a sliding industrial source depends on the Air Force’s preference to complete the testing of GPS 3 SV01 in space before launching the second GPS 3 model.

Delta 4 is an interchangeable launcher of design and the launch of the GPS 3 SV02 satellite next year will mark the final flight of Delta 4’s basic single stick configuration. The ULA departs from the smaller variants of Delta 4, but maintains Triple-Body Delta 4-Heavy in service – focusing flights over the next few years on the cheaper Atlas 5 rocket, while the next generation Vulcan launcher is developed with reusable Blue Origin BE-4 engines, which could eventually be retrieved and renovated.

The third spacecraft in the GPS 3 series to split to fly on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in December 2019, said the Air Force. Subsequent GPS launches are scheduled at intervals of as short as four and a half months, but officials will decide on a launch schedule based on the overall GPS network’s needs and health, according to a spokesman for the air force.

Overall, SpaceX has won a contract to launch five of the first six GPS 3 Series satellites on Falcon 9 rockets. Lockheed Martin is contracted to build up to 32 GPS 3 satellites, starting with a block of 10 spacecraft scheduled to launch in the early to mid 2020s and followed by a batch of up to 22 GPS satellites on the subsequent plan to start in early 2026.

Air Force officials said some of the GPS satellites could launch Falcon 9 rockets with previously floated boosters.

“We intend to be able to certify formerly deployed starting cars” Colleague Robert Bongiovi, Head of Launch Enterprise Systems Directorate on Air Force Space and Missile System Center. “We work with SpaceX to go through and understand what’s different, and what’s better, and what do we need to watch out for when you start with earlier flown hardware. You have all the returns, cashier and all things. SpaceX has a lot of experience of doing this. We learned a lot with them, and we try to put together a plan to actually help us learn as well on it, but it’s a process. We’ll go through and do it very intentionally to make sure that the satellite is making orbits on every launch vehicle we provide. “

SpaceX has launched recycled rockets on orbital missions 18 times, successfully containing a few previous fly boosters at the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February.

US Air Force’s first Lockheed Martin-built GPS 3 Series satellite is enclosed in the Falcon 9 rocket launch as preparation for launch. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The GPS launch drives Falcon 9 to its limits

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX Vice President of Construction and Air Safety, told reporters earlier this month that it Upcoming GPS launch is a “demanding” task for Falcon 9.

Usually, there is less fuel left in the Falcon 9 rocket for landing burns on missions aimed at higher lanes, such as geostationary transmission lanes commonly used for commercial communications satellite launches, or the higher gradient track used by GPS satellites.

On a launch from Cape Canaveral to a geostationary transmission path that extends over 22,000 miles across the globe, the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket – which introduced an increase in performance in Add-on Improvement Improvement – can accommodate a payload of more than 14,330 pounds (6,500 kg) if SpaceX circumventes a landing opportunity and devotes all of the launcher’s fuel to his payload, Koenigsmann said during an October presentation at the International Astronaut Congress in Bremen, Germany.

Committing some of Falcon 9’s propulsion to land the first stage of an Atlantic drill ship reduces the rocket’s capacity to the same orbit to about 12 125 kilos (5,500 kilos), said Koenigsmann. The maneuvers required to return to the first step to land back at Cape Canaveral trimmer Falcon 9’s geostationary transmission lane capacity to approximately 7,716 pounds (3,500 kilos), he said.

While the GPS satellites fly at a height under geostationary orbit, their paths are tilted at a higher angle to the equator, reducing the velocity gained by the Earth’s spin. Air Force Factor Requests to Punish Second Stage After Mission, and GPS launch drives Falcon 9 closer to the limits than most flights.

The Air Force has introduced the policy to bring upper stages back into the atmosphere of several new launches with ULA, resulting in the need to equip rockets with extra solid rocket amplifiers or to place payloads in lower lanes to accommodate the change. Falcon 9 rockets do not carry belt tension amplifiers, so officials need to make adjustments elsewhere.

A space table on Monday shows Falcon 9’s upper stage, powered by a single Merlin engine, will fire twice to inject GPS 3 SV01 spacecraft into an elliptical transmission path, with a high point near the GPS satellite fleet over 12,000 miles above the ground.

Whitney, Air Force’s GPS Director, refused to publicly reveal the exact parameters for the Circulation aimed at Tuesday’s launch, a break from the service policy of previous GPS satellites. SpaceX has also not released the height of the goal launch for GPS 3 SV01 spacecraft. It is consistent with the company’s typical practices, but a departure from the publishing policy followed by SpaceX’s main competitors.

Separation of GPS 3 SV01 spacecraft from the Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for T + plus 1 hour, 56 minutes. 19659003] GPS 3 SV01 spacecraft is set to reach a circular runway at the GPS fleet about 10 days after launch, Whitney said.

The new GPS satellite will replace 21-year navigational craft

connected to the rest of the GPS constellation, the new satellite will undergo six to nine month cash for to verify the health of the major spacecraft systems and to test the functionality of its navigation instrument provided by Harris Corp. Another test phase to validate the new GPS satellite compatibility with the rest of the navigation network takes another six to nine months, said Whitney.

When GPS 3 SV01 is ready for operational service, it will replace SVN 43 in Plane F, Slot 6, by the GPS fleet. The Air Force currently operates 31 GPS satellites, including spare parts, spread between six orbital plans to ensure that the network provides uninterrupted global positioning, navigation and time for military and civilian users.

SVN 43 has survived its seven-and-a-half design lifetime since its launch as the GPS 2R-2 satellite aboard a Delta 2 rocket in July 1997. The GPS 3 SV01 satellite will be known to GPS users as SVN 74 when it starts working, Whitney said.

The Air Force has called the GPS SV01 satellite “Vespucci” after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.

Artist concept of a GPS 3 satellite in space. Credit: Lockheed Martin

“These GPS 3 satellites will introduce modernized features and signals that are three times more accurate and up to eight times more powerful than previous generations,” Whitney said. “They also send a signal that is compatible with other global navigation satellite systems, enabling users across the globe to get the power and use the signals from multiple constellations, maximizing the availability and accuracy of navigation signals across the globe.”

The GPS network currently providing Users with position estimates at an accuracy of approximately 50 centimeters, or about 20 inches, said Whitney, provided recipients do not contradict terrain, trees or buildings.

GPS 3’s First Launch is Four Years After Schedule

The Air Force was hoping to launch the first GPS 3 Series Satellite 2014 when the Pentagon approved a full development of multibillion 2008 dollar program, according to a report from the government on accountability. [19659003] Officials blamed technical problems with satellite navigation loads during much of the four-year delay. The navigation load consists of ultimate precision clippers in rubidium, radiation-cured processors and powerful L-band transmitters, according to Harris Corp.

The new features of the GPS 3 Series satellites include the addition of a fourth civil L-band signal – known as L1C – designed to be interoperable with other global navigation satellite fleets. Europe’s Galileo, China’s Beidou and Japan’s QZSS Navigation Satellite Network provide a similar signal that allows users to combine navigation fixes with satellites from different fleets, providing a more accurate position estimate.

Like more satellites, users provide more accurate position estimates. Stacking of different frequency frequencies allows recipients to sort out distortions caused when the radio waves pass through the upper atmosphere, further refining GPS navigation accuracy.

The last satellite in the previous series of Boeing-made GPS spacecraft was launched in 2016, and Whitney said the GPS fleet “stays healthy, stable and robust.”

Contributors to GPS 3 delays included problems with incorrect and damaged capacitors, components that store and release electrical charges in satellite navigation payloads, according to a GAO report last year.

“According to program administrators, each satellite has over 500 capacitors of the same design that experienced errors,” GAO wrote in a report from May 2017 to the Congress.

Officials discovered that the subcontractor who supplied the capacitors did not qualify the components for use in the GPS satellites. Engineers then invalidated the results of reliability testing of the parts before the capacitors were finally declared suitable for the GPS satellites.

But GPS 3 SV01 is still equipped with the suspected capacitors according to GAO.

“The Air Force decided to assume the risk of capacitor errors and continue with the first satellite, which is equipped with capacitors, mostly from the dubious party,” wrote GAO last year. “The program replaced the suspected capacitors in the second and third satellites, the only other satellite that had the suspects.”

GPS 3 Gives Upgrades To The Global Navigation Navy

] GPS 3 Series satellites are built to operate at least 15 years, and their power transducers make their navigation signals less sensitive to interference.

“The big things we’ll see with GPS 3, we” will see an increase in power, “said Whitney.” We have demanded to produce stronger signals to try and fight through some of what we see , especially on our military signals. We have also demanded increased accuracy. So the user eventually sees when it comes online. We have added some additional civilian signals. “

Like the previous line of GPS 2F satellites, GPS 3 series spacecraft will send a dedicated L5 signal focused on air navigation. The GPS 3 satellites also continue to shine an encrypted military navigation signal known as M-code .

“GPS 3 satellites will also provide full capacity to use M code and increase anti-jelly resistance to support our warriors and allies,” said Whitney.

The M-Code is intended to provide US and allied forces are an advantage in the battlefield, enabling GPS satellites to radiate high quality, signal-sensitive signals to specific regions. It could also allow the military to disturb or disturb civilian signals in a particular region without impairing the M-code signals, which gives friendly forces an advantage.

“Long ago, used to be an ability for what we call then selective accessibility, where we could break down or not add It’s just a civil signal, “he said.” This property is no longer within the system, but we have gone to this new M-code signal for our military users, which is the same frequency but spectrally separated a bit. It makes it possible for us to do special things for them. “

Although the first GPS 3 satellite launches, all upgrades that come in the new generation of navigation satellites will not be available to military and civilian users until developers stop working on a modernized landscreen system to take advantage of the improvements.

Raytheon is responsible for developing next-generation operational control segments. Better known as OCX, the command and control system is estimated to cost up to $ 6 billion – $ 2 billion or more over the budget – and is at least five years after the schedule. The full version of OCX, known as Block 1 will probably not be ready until 2021 or 2022, and only then will the full potential of GPS 3 satellites be realized, Whitney told reporters Friday.

GAO found that “poor procurement decisions and a slow recognition of developmental problems” caused the delays in the new GPS command and control system , which is backward compatible with older GPS satellites and needed to process the M-code military signal and the new interoperable L1C civil signal. The Air Force has an initial version of the OCX command and control system – the name Block 0 – ready to handle the launch and orbit control of the GPS 3 satellites and Whitney said the air force is working on a temporary upgrade to existing GPS control systems to allow the M code signal to begin test with military units 2020, 15 years after the launch of the first satellite with M-code.

Legislators and GAO have also raised concerns about the readiness of user receivers equipped to handle the M code signal, and each new GPS capability will only have global reach when used on 24 satellites.

“Full M Code Capacity – which includes both the ability to send a signal via satellites and a land system and user equipment to receive the signal – will take at least a decade when the services can distribute MGUE (military GPS users) recipients in enough numbers, “GAO wrote in a review of the GPS 3 program last year.

Despite delays and technical barriers, more users still than ever on GPS satellites, and the network’s reach extends worldwide and infiltrates many aspects of society and billions of lives, with applications from bank to online dating.

“For the civilian user, GPS has become a pallet to create and innovate,” said Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martins vice president of navigation systems. “I do not think five years ago people thought you’d get your finished apps or you could catch a scooter and get around some of the big cities differently. You would not see the productivity in the US heartland without the innovations in agriculture which has happened.

“The world is changing rapidly,” said Caldwell. “We are talking about autonomous cars. How can we become more fuel efficient with airplanes, with cars? How can we be better manager of our environment? GPS and these new advanced features allow people to make creative things and be innovative. “

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