SpaceX Launched Turksat Satellite on Falcon 9

SpaceX Launched Turksat Satellite on Falcon 9

SpaceX Launched Turksat Satellite on Falcon 9

Photo Credit: Google Images

SpaceX opened its 2021 launch calendar with a splendid Falcon 9 launch this Thursday. The 230-ft tall (70 m) two-staged Falcon 9 rocket flew through the clouds to deploy a Turkish communications satellite to orbit. On January 7, Thursday SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at about 9:15 p.m.   EST. 

The Falcon 9 rocket went straight up in the sky with the rumble of engines. The loud sound of Falcon 9’s engines could be hard even after the rocket disappeared in the night sky.  The weather was 70% compatible for the launch, as per the prediction of the U.S. Space Force's  45th Space Wing. Although these were some thick clouds along with upper-level wind shear,   these conditions did not cause any issues during the launch.   

A few minutes before the launch, SpaceX officials tweeted, “Falcon 9 and Turksat 5A vertical on pad   40; tonight’s four-hour launch window opens at 8:28 p.m. EST, and weather is 70% favorable.”  The live broadcast of the launch started around fifteen minutes before the launch. Michael   Andrews, a supply chain supervisor began the live broadcast with a piece of basic information regarding the launch. At T-7 minutes, Falcon 9’s engine chilling phase began which means the pre-valves between the first-stage engine and the propellants tanks of the rocket will open to chill the engine.   

As the time passed, the Falcon 9 rocket was getting ready to kick off the first launch in 2021   and at T-0 seconds, the rocket blasted off to cross Earth’s atmosphere. About 33   minutes after the launch, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket deployed the Turksat 5A satellite into Orbit.  

Falcon 9’s first stage booster was powered by nine Merlin 1D engines, which produced more than 1.7 million pounds of thrust. At around 8 minutes after the launch, Falcon 9’s first stage booster performed a pinpoint touchdown on SpaceX’s "Just Read the Instructions" drone ship, which was positioned in the Atlantic Ocean. “Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instruction drone ship,” SpaceX officials also confirmed on Twitter.   

This mission marked the fourth launch for this particular Falcon 9 first stage booster called B1060 as well as the 71st successful touchdown of SpaceX’s overall booster.  The Turksat 5A satellite – payload for this mission – was built by Airbus. It is a   fifth-generation communication satellite that weighed around 7,700-lb. (3,500 kilograms).   

The satellite provides 10 kilowatts of power

As per the information, the Turksat 5A satellite will provide television services, broadband services, and data networks in Turkey, Europe, the Middle-east,   North-central West, and portions of Africa. After deploying the satellite, SpaceX officials stated on Twitter, “Deployment of Turksat 5A confirmed.”The satellite will take four months to reach the final altitude by using its onboard plasma thrusters. 

Falcon9 sat
Photo Credit: Google Images

These thrusters will be powered by electrical energy produced from the spacecraft's solar panels. A Turkey Correspondent, Ragip Soylu tweeted,   “The satellite has been developed in Ankara with 20% local production. Gov’t aims to increase the   local production level to 100% in near future.”Nicolas Chamussy, the head of space systems at Airbus, said in a statement, “We are very pleased to welcome Turksat as a new Eurostar customer for the most powerful satellites of their fleet. 

We were the first to demonstrate   full electric propulsion technology for satellites of this size and capacity,   and this will enable the Turksat spacecraft to be launched in the most cost-efficient manner.”  SpaceX will also launch the Turksat 5B satellite, later this year. As Airbus said, The Turksat   5B satellite will be heavier than the Turksat 5A, Weighing more than 9,000 lbs. (4,500 kg).   

This satellite particularly will provide more than 50 gigabits per second of capacity by operating in both the Ku and Ka bands. But the launch time for this mission is still unclear.  Now as SpaceX has officially begun its 2021 calendar with a successful launch, we can certainly expect more of this ahead. 

SpaceX also has a lift-off for its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. SpaceX also has a rideshare mission to transport 72 small satellites along with four additional payloads into Orbit,   which is scheduled for no earlier than Jan. 14. Now we shall move to our next SpaceX news.  Once again a big hand for Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX and also for L3Harris.   

SpaceX again got a $149 million contract and L3Harris also got a $193.5 million contract from the Space Development Agency.   

In this contract, they have to build four satellites that are capable of detecting and tracking ballistic and hypersonic missiles launched from anywhere on the Earth’s surface.  Jennifer Elzea, representative of the Space Development Agency said, “SDA implemented a   corrective action plan for the Tracking Layer Tranche 0 competition after initial awards received protests. The re-evaluation confirmed the original selection decision announced in October and concluded that the SpaceX and L3Harris Technologies’ proposals offered the best value to   the government.” The Agency is intending to launch Tranche 0 satellites at the end of the year, 2022.   

Photo Credit: Google Images

The Space Development Agency is confident that the re-evaluation resulted in a fair outcome for all involved parties, according to Jennifer Elzea's viewpoint.  SpaceX and L3Harris, both of these companies were awarded the contracts originally on 5th October last year,2020. 

Two competitors Airbus and Raytheon had filed protests with the Government Accountability Office to the awarded contracts,   for this reason, all activities had to be stopped. To bring out a solution for the matter, the Space Development Agency agreed to re-evaluate contractor bids. On 30th November 2020, the Government Accountability Office dismissed the protests of Airbus.   

Though Raytheon had filed two additional protests yet they were finally dismissed on 22nd December.  On 7th January 2021, Jennifer Elzea said that working on the eight satellites of Tracking Layer  Tranche 0 was resumed when the temporary stop-work order was lifted on 28th December.  

China gears up for Space Station

The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology is in the final stages of working on spacecraft,  which will do a multiple mission. The mission includes the launch of the first space station module; the launch of a cargo spacecraft capable of refueling and finally launch of a crewed mission. 

These launches will be the preliminary part of eleven planned missions to build a Chinese Space Station (CSS). Zhou Jianping, the chief designer of China’s human spaceflight program, said, “We will soon complete the construction of China’s first long term orbital crewed space station meeting advanced world levels, and will carry out large scale space scientific research on it. 

We firmly believe that it will play a major role in the forefront   of scientific exploration of humanity and also in the development of our space technology.”  A Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket weighing about 849 metric tonnes will launch the  Tianhe space station core module into orbit in the upcoming months. 

This Tianhe space station core module weighs nearly twenty-two metric tonnes. In the city of Tianjin,   the last stages of the launcher are being carried out in a factory. According to the report,   the rocket apparatus and mechanism will be conveyed by the Yuanwang cargo ships to Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on the southern island of Hainan, within a short period of time.  

China Space Station
Photo Credit: Google Images

The Tianhe core module was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology. Its dimensions were 16.6 m in length and 4.2m in diameter. This module is able to provide living space for three astronauts for a duration of around six months. The module also comprises a docking hub and will also manipulate the station’s orbit and altitude.   

With the completion of the Chinese Space Station in 2022, a telescope will be joined with it by co-orbiting them. The Xuntian survey telescope will be capable to dock with the Chinese Space Station for repairs and routine checks and maintenance.  

When the Tianhe core module is placed in orbit, then a Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft will be launched towards CSS. Tianzhou cargo spacecraft will weigh upto 13.5 tonnes. Tianzhou-2 has different types of pressurized and unpressurized models. Tianzhou-2 will be launched from Wenchang aboard a Long March 7 rocket. The Long March-7 is in the final stages of its construction.  

The Chinese Space Station often known as Tiangong is expected to be completed and start its functions within the year 2022. The Chinese Space Station will keep orbiting around the Earth,   about 340km to 420km above the Earth's surface. CMSA announced last Wednesday about a solicitation for proposals for low-cost cargo transportation for assisting space station operations. 

Chief requirements for cargo delivery comprises a payload capacity of about one to four tonnes,  capability for removing and deorbiting station waste to prevent space junk accumulation, and transportation costs to be fair with international cost levels. 

To get back the cargos to Earth, there is a necessity for a payload capacity of about 100kg to 300 kg in the returning spacecraft and it is also necessary for the returning spacecraft to be tracked easily and get recovered. Participants are required to submit their proposals within 28th February, which included spacecraft capabilities, technical descriptions, and cost and engineering analyses. 

Photo Credit: Google Images

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