I'm back! Some rocket launch news

in #space4 years ago


Hello folks! I know it's late, but I want to wish you all a great Happy New Year! 2017 was an interesting year, and hopefully 2018 will be just as exciting, if not more. I celebrated it in the mountain resort of Busteni, in my country, Romania, with a few of my friends drinking wine and going on the ski slopes. But I only used a sled as I have no idea how to ski and I'm not fond of breaking my neck in a time I wanna have fun. Saying this, I want to hear how you guys had your fun, so be free to share in the comments.

And now for some space news

The Zuma satellite

First up, there's the January 7th launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 FT rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was carrying an extremely secret payload of which we know very little. We don't even know who ordered the satellite, just that it was constructed by Northrop Grumman, a company involved in other secret endeavors such as the B-2 stealth bomber.

The launch was livestreamed by SpaceX, but telemetry and footage from the first stage that landed back at the launchpad was shared publicly. From the video, and other information, it is gathered that the destination orbit that the rocket took Zuma to is at a 51 degree inclination (same as the International Space Station), but at an altitude of around 900 kilometers.

Numerous conspiracies have risen from this mission, as a report about it's failure appeared in the press. This being classified, the US government denied comment, and SpaceX has stated that its obligations were fulfilled, as the target destination had been reached. Anything beyond that point is not their business. Future contractors have also analyzed the data and are still confident in SpaceX launching their payloads. However, the payload adapter was not built by SpaceX, so there could be issues there. I have no idea what actually happened, but a loss of an allegedly one billion dollar satellite would be quite the hit, but this being extremely secret, who knows where that payload is, or what it does? We'll probably learn more when the tech on board is no longer of critical importance.

BeiDou 3 satellites

On January 11th, China's Long March 3B rocket lifted off with two 3rd generation global positioning satellites to join another 25 already in orbit. The country wishes to have at least 30 by the year 2020, which will offer it independent service from the US GPS, Russian GLONASS or EU's Galileo constellations. China's own constellation features five geostationary satellites and the rest operate at a 55 degree inclination. They are still in geosynchronous orbits, thus still taking one full day to complete a revolution across the Earth.

The launch was successful, but because the launch site was built in a mountainous area during the Cold War, in order to protect it from spying or bombardment, the launch trajectory is over land. Thus, the spent stages fall on mainland China, this one being no exception. You can watch the spectacular video of the first stage falling back to Earth, a bit too close to a residential are in my opinion, here, and some locals standing near the burning spent booster, here.

More US launches

United Launch Alliance (ULA) also launched two classified payloads this month. The first one was from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It carried a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), boringly dubbed NROL-47, atop a Delta IV rocket.

And the second one was an early missile warning satellite. This payload is operated by the US Air Force and was dubbed SBIRS Geo Flight 4 and joined the fleet, that tracks rocket launches from across the world, on January 19th, taking off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

I will provide more space news tomorrow, as this post is already pretty long. I apologize again for the prolonged absence, but following that New Year's celebration I caught a massive cold, during which I got hooked on playing GTA Online. But I'm back now.

So share your thoughts on the launches at hand in the comments below. Also, although late, I wouldn't mind talking to you guys how you spend the year change.

Thank you for reading, and keep on steemin'!


Finally back @sebi99p ! Where have you disappeared so long?

Yeah :)
I caught a cold after Christmas. It let off a bit during New Years, but going to a mountain resort and taking a sled through the snow seems to not have helped at all. So I've been sick in early January. So I just stayed in bed to recover for way more than I would've liked, and got hooked on GTA V. But I'm back now :D

It was about time @sebi99p !

I know, I know. Better late than never, though... Right? :p

Hi, I found some acronyms/abbreviations in this post. This is how they expand:

NRO(US) National Reconnaissance Office
NROL(US) National Reconnaissance Office,Launch for the (US) National Reconnaissance Office
ULAUnited Launch Alliance (Lockheed/Boeing joint venture)
Please leave an up-vote if you find this comment usefull.

Glad to see you're back and feeling better, @sebi99p!

Thanks mate! Glad to be back :D

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