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SpaceX will launch for the first time in 2021 and deliver to Turkey-now Spaceflight



Image courtesy: Stephen Clark / Space Flight Now

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted into space from Cape Canaveral and deployed Turkish communications satellites on Thursday night, which is planned to execute more than 40 times from launch pads in Florida and California this year The first time in the Falcon rocket mission.

If it can be achieved, the rapid launch tempo of 2021 will break the record of 26 Falcon 9 flights by SpaceX last year, and can be comparable to the launch speed of the United States in the early space age.

The first launch was the Falcon 9 mission, which put the Turkish-owned Turksat 5A communications satellite made by Airbus into orbit.

Falcon 9 was only carried out on that Thursday night, after a delay of more than 45 minutes to assess the readiness of the Gabon tracking station for landing. The launch eventually took place without tracking antennas. Falcon 9 ignited nine Merlin 1D main engines at the Cape Canaveral Space Force station at 9:15 EST on Thursday (0215 GMT) on Thursday. , To launch the No. 40 pad.

After arcing eastward from Cape Canaveral, Falcon 9 released its first stage booster after flying for about two and a half minutes, and then began to move towards the park about 400 east of Cape Canaveral. The mile (650 km) SpaceX drone spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean.

When the first stage booster aimed at the vertical landing of the floating drone ship, two SpaceX ships were stationed in low-altitude waters to retrieve the Falcon 9’s two-piece payload shroud.

The Falcon 9 booster fixed its landing gear on the “Just Read the Instructions” drone on the Atlantic Ocean about eight and a half minutes after liftoff, completing the fourth space trip of the reusable rocket and returning. SpaceX was unable to get an update on the return of the fairing.

At the same time, the Falcon 9 single-use upper-level aircraft carried out two engine combustions, and then launched for about 33 minutes, and then released the Turksat 5A spacecraft into an elliptical “super synchronous” transfer orbit.

US military tracking data show that the Falcon 9 rocket launched Turksat 5A at an altitude range of 177 miles (286 kilometers) to 34,000 miles (55,000 kilometers) at an inclination of 17.66 degrees.

Turkish officials confirmed Thursday night that the ground team received the first radio signal from Turksat 5A after the launch, allowing the controller to begin health checks and post-launch checkout.

Turksat 5A has a launch weight of approximately 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg). It will deploy its solar panels for power generation and extend the articulated pod equipped with plasma thrusters. This will allow the satellite’s orbit to slowly rotate over the equator at geostationary altitude. 22,000 miles. At this altitude, Turksat 5A will orbit the earth at the same speed as the planet.

In this long-exposure photo, the Falcon 9 rocket glides over Cape Canaveral on Thursday night. Credit: SpaceX

The ascent phase of the mission will last about four months. Compared with traditional liquid fuel rocket engines, electric propellers have higher fuel efficiency, but produce less thrust.

According to Airbus, more efficient electric thrusters will enable Turksat 5A to maintain its position in orbit for more than 30 years, doubling the lifespan of many large communications satellites.

The satellite will be put into service in the middle of the year along the equator at 31 degrees east longitude. The satellite’s 42 Ku-band transponders will reach large areas of Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean Sea, the company said, as well as the Black Sea.

The company’s deputy general manager Hasan Huseyin Ertok (Hasan Huseyin Ertok) said that Turksat 5A will become the most powerful satellite in Turksat’s fleet. It will also help ensure the frequency rights of Turkey’s location east of 31 degrees, a location where Turkish-owned satellites have not operated since 2010.

After SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turksat awarded Airbus and SpaceX contracts in November 2017 to manufacture and launch Turksat 5A and Turksat 5B satellites.

The Turksat 5B satellite that will carry Ka-band communication payloads is expected to be launched from Cape Canaveral in the second half of this year.

“Our main focus is Turkey, so its focus is Turkey, but most of North Africa and Europe are in Turkey, and we have walked to eastern Kazakhstan. In Africa, we own most of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa .” Ertok said of Turksat 5A’s coverage area.

He said: “We can provide satellite services to anyone in the coverage area.” “It can be a data service, which means transmitting data from one point to another, or it can be a TV broadcast service.”

When Turksat sells services to commercial customers, the company’s main customer is the Turkish government. Turksat satellites have provided support for a series of civil and military operations in Turkey.

Ertok said that Turksat 5A will provide our government with “better service to our customers at a better price.”

He said: “Therefore, it will become an important satellite for us and for our future.”

Artist concept of Turksat 5A satellite. Image source: Turksat

At the same time, SpaceX is preparing to launch the next Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral in mid-January next year. SpaceX’s mission, called Transporter 1, will put many small commercial and government satellites into orbit during the unmanned flight launch.

It is planned to launch two more Falcon 9 with SpaceX’s own Starlink broadband satellite in late January or early February.

SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk said in October that the company plans to move from Cape Canaveral Space Station, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and California’s Vandenberg Air Force in 2021. The three separate bases of the base carry up to 48 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missions. .

When the interval between the company’s other missions allows managers to increase flights to the Falcon 9 list, SpaceX officials have set ambitious plans to launch Starlink network satellites every two weeks.

In addition to performing the Starlink mission, SpaceX also provided external customers with at least 20 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy flights this year.

These include two Falcon 9 launches with “Crew by Dragon” missions (flew to NASA under contract) to carry four astronauts to the International Space Station for a six-month expedition. It is planned to launch a commercial Crew Dragon mission with the private space company Axiom in the second half of 2021 to carry four paying passengers to and from the space station.

SpaceX also plans to launch up to three autonomous “dragon” replenishment missions to the space station in 2021, as well as an asteroid probe and an X-ray space telescope for NASA.

This year, SpaceX plans to use US military payloads for at least two flights of three Falcon Heavy rockets.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.




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