Falcon 9 launch – The booster landing was the third time SpaceX retrieved the Falcon 9’s first stage in a national security space launch mission
WASHINGTON – A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the US Space Force GPS 3 satellite on June 17. The rocket lifted off at 12:09 pm. East from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.
Falcon 9 launch
The Falcon 9 launched the GPS 3 Space Vehicle 5 – the 5th satellite of the GPS 3 constellation built by Lockheed Martin that provides position, navigation and timing signals to military and civilian users.
With this launch, the Space Force officially enters the era of reusable rockets. GPS 3 SV-5 was the first national security space launch mission where SpaceX used the first stage of a previously flown Falcon 9. The booster – designated B 1062 – was recovered on 5 November following the launch of GPS 3 SV-4.
The rocket’s first stage separated from the second stage approximately two minutes and 40 seconds after liftoff. About eight minutes and 35 seconds after liftoff, the first stage of the Falcon 9 touched down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship.
The booster landing was the third time SpaceX recovered the Falcon 9’s first stage in a national security space launch mission and the 88th successful recovery of the first stage by the company.
The GPS satellite separated approximately one hour and 29 minutes after liftoff, following two second-stage engine burns. SpaceX confirmed that it was a successful orbit injection.
The GPS 3 SV-5 satellite will join a constellation of 31 spacecraft that operate in medium Earth orbit at an altitude of 12,550 miles in six orbital planes. Each satellite orbits the earth twice a day.
The June 17 mission was the fourth launch of the military GPS 3 satellite under SpaceX’s National Security Space Launch Program. The first was on December 23, 2018, the second and third took place on June 30 and November 5, 2020.
The company has a contract to launch the GPS 3 SV-6 next year.
Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of the Space Force Launch Enterprise, said SpaceX will continue to fly reused boosters in national security missions.
“We are building on the successful booster recovery of GPS 3 SV-3 and GPS 2 SV-4 last year and taking a historic step forward with the GPS 3 SV-5 mission using a previously flown vehicle,” he said. said. “The affordability and flexibility provided with SpaceX’s reused launch vehicles provide additional opportunities for future NSSL missions.”
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