Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Commercial satellites deployed by SpaceX rocket

Through many dangers, toils and snares.... SpaceX to send amazing GRACE to spaaaaace Science and commercial satellites launched from California
Frank Williams | 26 May, 2018, 04:42

After a rest, the rocket's upper stage reignited its engines and adjusted its orbit for the release of five Iridium Next communications satellites.

And while the rocket was blameless in the loss of ZUMA, the previously flown first stage will not make another flight.

Five Iridium NEXT satellites will begin deployment about an hour after launch.

NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) is a follow up to the original GRACE mission, which launched on 17 March, 2002 and lasted far longer than the projected five year lifespan. The work has been ongoing for over a decade now, and these two new satellites are replacements for older ones that served a similar objective. SpaceX's launch narrator said a recovery vessel named Mr. Steven "came very close" to catching them using a giant upward facing net. Two of those included new Earth-observing satellites from NASA.

The U.S. Air Force has delayed the launch of its first Global Positioning System III satellite from this month to October at the earliest as it reviews the upgraded rocket that Elon Musk's SpaceX plans to use to boost it into orbit.

Groundwater, oceans, lakes, rivers and ice sheets will be monitored by the twin satellites, a joint mission between the United States space agency and German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

United Kingdom bitcoin traders focus of USA probe into manipulation of cryptocurrency prices
One theory is that the Tether token has propped up the price of bitcoin by as much as 40% during its historic rally a year ago . Some of the more specific behaviors federal prosecutors will be investigating include " spoofing " and " wash trading ".

Iridium used the extra lift capacity to launch three more Iridium Next satellites than it would have using the Dnepr vehicle.

When water or ice fills an area - such as a coastline or river basin - the liquid slightly increases that area's mass. Objects with more mass have a stronger gravitational pull, so measuring these variations in gravity gives NASA data on phenomena like sea-level rise, glacial retreat, drought, and changes in the size of underground aquifers. When complete, the Iridium Next constellation will include 75 satellites - 66 operational satellites and nine spares. If needed, an additional launch opportunity is available on Wednesday, May 23.

Scientists are keen to keep collecting this data even after the original 15 years of GRACE.

The twin GRACE-FO spacecraft will fly in the same orbit, separated by 220 kilometers. GRACE-Fo is a joint project between NASA and Germany's GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences. So, to obtain information about the distribution of mass below, the GRACE-FO satellites need not look down; instead, they'll only "look" at each other and measure their separation by constantly sending microwave signals back and forth. GFZ spent about $91 million on its contribution to the mission.

The first-ever SpaceX launch from Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex-4 occurred on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.

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