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SpaceX will try to fly the same rocket for the third time Sunday

Here is a new photo of the Falcon 9 rocket that will try a launch Sunday. The first step looks…

Sunday launch attempt with a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with a primary starting window from 1:32 pm ET (18:32 UTC) until 2:00 ET (19:00 UTC), is significant for a number of reasons.

This will be the company’s 19th launch of 2018, and if it succeeds, it will break SpaceX’s record for most missions flying in a calendar year. With a handful of launches left on its manifesto in December, SpaceX holds space for flying as many as 22 rockets this year. This means that SpaceX has solved production and processing problems that prevented it from starting more than eight rockets one year before 2017 and last year was not a fluke.

Perhaps more importantly, a successful flight sunday would mark the third flight of this particular first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket. This core first flew on May 11, for the Bangabandhu-1 mission, and then again on August 7 for the Merah Putih mission. Now, for the first time ever, SpaceX will try to fly the same first stage (and its nine Merlin engines) for a third time.

Such a feat flying the same rocket three times in less than seven months would bring the company closer to its cost-saving goal to fly every Falcon 9 rocket 10 times between significant refurbishment. This has become possible after the company introduced a final variant of Falcon 9 Booster, dubbed Block 5, which engineers designed for optimal reuse. (May the flight of this rocket chain marked the first time a Block 5 variant of Falcon 9 launched). As a (much) smaller example of time and cost reduction efforts, SpaceX does not first contain the rocket’s first stage between uses, explaining why the lower two-thirds of the composite rocket seems to be sighted, but the third is an untouched white. This is because the top stage and payload are new to each flight.

Finally, Sunday’s mission is remarkable for the payload. There are many of them as part of the Spaceflight SSO-A mission. SpaceX will try to set up an American launch record for most satellites released in space at once, with 15 microseconds and 49 cubes from commercial and public entities around the world. (Two of these, interesting, originate from Kazakhstan, a country that hosts many of the launch of the Russian Space Agency).

A company called Spaceflight organized four-tier manifesto for Sunday’s flight. The designed payload stack and coordinated a series of satellite dispensers for when the mission reached a sunbathing polar course at an altitude of 575km. The deployment of the satellites starts approximately 13 minutes after shutdown and ends approximately 30 minutes after that point.

SpaceX will once again try to restore this booster with droneship Read only the instructions stationed downrange in the Pacific. If we succeed, we can probably expect to see this first step make an unprecedented fourth flight sometime in 2019.

The webcast below should start approximately 15 minutes before the startup window opens.

Spaceflight SSO-A launch.

Listing image of SpaceX

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