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  • three.

  • You're looking at a live view of the Falcon nine rocket carrying 10 Iridium next satellites preparing for lift off in just about 20 minutes from now.

  • My name is Tom for Dario, and welcome to the live webcast of today's Falcon nine launch from Space X is West Coast launchpad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

  • Today's launch not only marks all returned to flight following our September 1st mishap last year, but it also represents the first of seven launches were performing for a radium to carry their next constellation of communication satellites into orbit.

  • This will also be the first flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base since our launch of the Jason three satellite into orbit last year.

  • And finally, the Falcon nine first stage will be returning to our autonomous spaceport drone ship.

  • Just read the instructions once it safely delivers theory Diem payload into orbit.

  • As you can see, we have lots to covering today's Webcast, and we are so excited to be back on the launch pad.

  • So let's get started.

  • Hi, I'm Michael Hamersley of Materials Engineer in our avionics department.

  • On is an absolute gem of a day and abandoned Berg Air Force base with sapphire skies.

  • For our launch, the Falcon nine is standing on the pad about 70 meters tall.

  • It's taller than a 2020 story building.

  • The smoke that you see here is totally normal.

  • It's just the bleed off of excess cold oxygen on.

  • It's just like if you breathe out on a cold day, that same condensation forming from the atmosphere.

  • The first stage, which is this part, is gonna power the rocket from the ground to the edge of space about 100 kilometers up on.

  • Then it's going to return to the drone ship.

  • Just read the instructions.

  • While the second stage powers the actual satellites toe orbital speeds, it's about eight kilometers per second, or 10 times the speed of a rifle bullet, while the satellite's themselves are sitting just in the very top inside the fairing.

  • There 10 satellites in there.

  • That faring is big enough to hold a school bus if we wanted standing just next to the rocket is the transporter erector or the strong back.

  • That's what transports the rocket out to the pad and then stands it upright in preparation for launch.

  • It contains quick disconnect, which transport, fuel and propellant.

  • Excuse me, A CZ well as electrical power and electrical signals to and from the rocket propellants, of course, are liquid oxygen and liquid kerosene or RP one, both of which are super chilled in order to get them the densest so that the most propellant can be put inside the vehicle so that it has the most power.

  • As we're trying to do so many things with it at once, checkouts are proceeding normally, as they have been for the past several months.

  • Lauren's going to go into a bit more detail about the extra steps that have been taken for this particular launch.

  • You can follow along with us on the mission, using the countdown timer on the upper right hand side of your screen, only our first launch of the year.

  • But as many of you know, it's also our return to flight following explosion during a routine fueling operation on our launch pad back on September 1st 2016 over the past four months, reports with officials in the FAA, the U S Air Force and NASA, along with several industry experts, to determine the cause of the anomaly.

  • The investigation team concluded the explosion was due to the failure of one of the three composite, over wrapped pressure vessels, or C O.

  • P.

  • V s inside the Falcon nine second second stage Liquid Oxygen Tank CEO Peevey's store Cold helium gas, which is used to maintain the rockets, take pressure at each C.

  • O.

  • P V consists of an aluminum liner surrounded by a carbon fibre composite over rap team found that oxygen likely accumulated between the liner and the over rap and became trapped in a void created by a buckled liner.

  • Whether through fiction or pressure, this led to an ignition event and subsequent failure of the C O P.

  • V, as required by the FAA.

  • In order to receive our launch license Space six implemented corrective actions to address all the credible causes for this failure mode.

  • In the short term way, change the C O.

  • P V configuration to allow warmer temperature helium to be loaded, and we returned helium loading operations to the flight proven configuration based on operations used in more than 700 successful COPD loads.

  • In the long term, Space X will implement design changes to the cold helium system, which will allow for faster loading operations and avoiding the conditions that led to the September 1st failure.

  • We greatly appreciate the strong support of our customers and partners throughout this investigation.

  • As you return to flight, we look forward to getting back to launching and landing this year and beyond.

  • Good morning from Space six headquarters in Hawthorne, California I'm John this Burger Falcon nine principal integration engineer.

  • I'm after Webcast desk and what we call the mezzanine overlooking the Mission Control Center and the rest of the team that's gathering together for today's launch.

  • We're currently a T minus 13 minutes and 40 seconds.

  • Coming up on an instantaneous window for launch will have just one second launch.

  • So it's gonna be no opportunities if we happen to have a hold here in the last 13 minutes.

  • Now I'll be bringing you the status updates both in the countdown and during the count up as we proceed into orbit.

  • Now what everybody wants to know.

  • Basically, how are things going on that answer?

  • Falcon nine team is conducting the countdown working.

  • No significant issues were on schedule for an on time launch.

  • Now T minus 78 minutes.

  • We pulled the team for readiness to begin loading propellants.

  • Now.

  • That's a change from our previous timelines that you've watched us in the past year, where we have pulled the team at T minus 35 minutes and begin loading.

  • So we began loading feel in the first and second stage of T minus 75 minutes.

  • Feel is on the second stage were also pretty much loaded on the first stage, except we've got to do a little topping off.

  • That will happen in the last minutes of the countdown.

  • Liquid oxygen voting is also underway on both stages.

  • It's currently paused.

  • Right now is we're loading the last of the helium into the storage vessels on the first and second stage.

  • We're making sure we get enough mass in there so that we can accomplish today's mission.

  • So, as I said, Falcon 19 looking good there, working no issues in the countdown uranium satellite team, you might have heard on the countdown up.

  • They have transitioned internal power, working no issues there, ready for an on time launch.

  • The range is working one issue right now, but they expect it will be fixed in time.

  • There's a ship in the danger area, but they think it will be out of the way, and that takes us upto weather.

  • The ground winds and the upper altitude winds are borderline.

  • We're waiting for the very last balloon that should be processed right about now.

  • But currently we are go for an on time.

  • Lots of everything's looking good here for the fact that nine launch Hi, my name is Lauren Lions and I'm a system certification engineer here at Space X.

  • Today we're launching 10 radium next satellites to low Earth orbit.

  • This is our first of seven launches that we have a contract with the radio.

  • Each of the 10 spacecraft batter on board right now have a massive 600 kilograms.

  • When the solar Roy's a solar rays or flute fully deployed, they have a 30 foot wingspan, which equates to more last four Shaquille O'Neal's least in satellites in position inside of the face of space X bearing and mounted onto to vertically stacked space X design dispensers with five satellites each.

  • Once Falcon nine gets to the right orbit, space sex will send a separation signal to the dispensers, deploying the satellites one by 1 100 seconds apart at an altitude of 625 kilometres above the earth.

  • Once the satellite to deploy the 10 satellites will form the beginnings of a new a radium constellation in the sky.

  • Each satellite will be cross linked to four others in the consolation allowing for a web of space space communications from ground or airborne users from any location on Earth to any other place on Earth.

  • This has applications everywhere from Coast Guard, maritime communications to mobile Internet and even cellular communications in remote areas without the use of ground stations.

  • Once these 10 satellites launched today, plus the 60 that we're gonna launch later on by space X this'll consolation will be complete, forming a network of 70 Iridium next satellites across multiple orbital planes providing continuous coverage over the entire earth.

  • The first scent of a radium satellites started launching about 20 years ago, and it provided, among other things, worldwide satellite phone coverage.

  • A podium Next is a second generation consolation, and these satellites will have different and upgraded capabilities as compared with their aging reference.

  • Marty, one of our resident video producers, got the chance to speak with the radium CEO mad dash to learn a little more about this newer constellation.

  • Hey there.

  • I'm Martin Berman.

  • I'm a video producer at Space Six and I'm in McLean, Virginia, at Iridium's headquarters, and I'm joined by a radium CEO.

  • Mad Dash.

  • Matt, Thanks for being here.

  • Thanks, Marty.

  • Good to be here to start.

  • Could you give us an overview of already in next?

  • Yeah, Iridium Next is one of the largest aerospace projects that's going on in the last 10 years and maybe for the for the next many.

  • It's 81 new satellites built and launched into space $3 billion program to completely replace our current generation communication network flying in low earth orbit, providing communications, people all over the earth.

  • How are these new satellites different than previous constellation?

  • So the new satellites are more powerful.

  • They have more capacity.

  • They're able to provide hired data speeds to our customers.

  • Probably one of the most unique aspects about them is the fact that they offered new service is that we've never created before, like the ability to track aircraft anywhere in the world In real time.

  • Satellite communications often go unobserved.

  • You know they're in space.

  • You don't see them, you'll hear them.

  • So how exactly do they affect your average person on the street?

  • Well, a couple things.

  • I mean, first of all, there's a good chance we'll save your life, which is a pretty important thing.

  • If there's ever a natural disaster around the world.

  • Iridium is the first thing on the scene.

  • That's what first responders use is what police and fire and others used to call in help in the early hours of a crisis.

  • So it's very important in terms of those sort of things.

  • But increasingly, assets move across the world.

  • Ships, trucks, cars, all those things could be connected, need to be connected, toe optimized them.

  • And a radium is the best technology really to do that.

  • The name our radium.

  • What's the story behind that name?

  • Iridium was such a unique network, with with low earth orbiting satellites constantly moving around the planet, no one had ever created a system like that on the inventors realized it looked a lot like an Adam, you know, the original design was for seven planes of 11 satellites each.

  • So 77 satellites and they looked on the periodic table and that was the precious metal radium, and it sounds like a cool name.

  • So they named service Iridium.

  • Then a year or two later in the early nineties, they thought we could probably do this with 66 satellites by picking out of a plane.

  • They looked on the periodic table in person that was disposing, which was not a good name for a company.

  • So they kept the name of radium on, gets stuck, and it's been a great name.

  • So where will you be for launch?

  • I'm gonna be at Vandenberg Air Force Base watching it on, cheering it on.

  • Think the real action is gonna be happening here in Virginia?

  • At Leesburg, Virginia, where satellite network operations center is about 75 minutes after the launch, those satellites will be captured, the telemetry will start flowing and the boards will start going green.

  • That will be the really exciting moments when we know our baby's air.

  • Operating in space are 10 satellites have deployed successfully.

  • The 1st 10 of the 70 that will be launching over 15 months.

  • That will be an exciting place.

  • Of course, I'll be in close contact with them about that mad dash CEO of a radium.

  • Thanks for your time.

  • Thanks, Marty.

  • In addition to today's launch being our return flight were also returning to landing the Falcon nine first stage on our autonomous spaceport drunk.

  • Now Space six maintains a fleet of two autonomous spaceport drone ships, one named just read the instructions and the other one named.

  • Of course I still love you.

  • Of course I still love you was the drone ship that we used for most of our landing attempts in 2016 including the four successful attempts back in summer of last year.

  • However, today we're using just read the instructions, which hasn't been used for landing attempts since early 2016 which was over a year ago, meaning that if we stick the landing today, it'll be the first time that we've landed a first age successfully on just review.

  • Now, this may be review for some of our viewers, but Space X is all about rapid reusability and the drone ships help us accomplish that goal by allowing us to recover fully intact first stages so we can re fly them as soon as possible with minimal refurbishment.

  • And this is where we're really gonna be able to drive down the cost of space flight.

  • Now, space flight has been fine tuning this process of landing.

  • The first stage is for the past few launches, and so far we've been able to recover six first kids.

  • And we're already using those first ages for testing and incorporating changes into future generations of our Falcon nine rocket.

  • For example, one of the first ages we've been using for structural stress testing on the ground.

  • Another one we've relit on the test and several times to see how many times he's been successful relight it and then one.

  • We've even put on permanent display outside our main company headquarters in Hawthorne, California, which is viewable to the public.

  • However, the most exciting thing we're doing with this project is re flying the first ages, which should be coming up in a mission soon.

  • Just a really quick recap of how this is gonna happen after the first stage separates from the second stage after lift off, the first stage is going to flip around and execute three burn maneuvers to get back towards just read the instructions.

  • The first one's going to be a boost back burn, which brings it back in the direction to Joan Drone ship.

  • 2nd 1 is a reentry burn to slow it down.

  • And the 3rd 1 is a landing burn.

  • To get it right down to the deck will be covering all these steps just after liftoff.

  • So, states, we're coming up on T minus four minutes and 30 seconds.

  • Everything continues to look good for an on time launch At 54 minutes and 39 seconds after the hour.

  • Falcon nine team is in the last minutes of the countdown.

  • We're now using the automated sequence.

  • We're both the computers on the ground and the two flight computers on the first and second season the Falcon nine controlling what we call the launch auto sequence.

  • This is the intricate steps where we're getting the ground system ready and the launch vehicle ready for the events that lead up to stopping propellant load pressurizing the tanks in the last minute and then igniting the Merlin engines on the first date, making sure they're good.

  • Then commanding release from the ground systems on launching into space.

  • Next major activities that you're seeing on the Webcast right now.

  • We're getting ready for re track of the strong back.

  • What will happen is the clamps that air holding around the top of the second stage will open.

  • Strong back will then begin to recline.

  • Currently, it's what we call it the 90 degree permission.

  • Straight up and down.

  • It will recline away from vehicle for a couple of minutes, getting to a position of 77 degrees.

  • That's the launch position that we need to be in.

  • The Rocket can clear everything sharing from the crowd as we approach the team minus 3.5 minute mark, and you can see the Erector moving away from the vehicle.

  • Next major activities.

  • They're going to be going into the last minute where you'll hear us get into the last part of the auto sequence, making sure we're in the startup sequence to pressurize the tanks.

  • Then we'll like the Merlin engines.

  • Make sure we're full power before commanding.

  • Release rest of the team right now.

  • The Iridium satellite team.

  • They're on internal power, working no issues.

  • They're good to go.

  • The range I think we've got the ship is out of the way.

  • Everything's looking good there.

  • And finally we're waiting to hear from the last weather balloons.

  • But currently everything continues to look good for an on time launch in just over T minus 2.5 minutes.

  • So with that, we're gonna let everybody listen into the last 2.5 minutes of the countdown, and we'll be back with you in a little while.

  • Stage two locks closing out.

  • Firm range is green.

  • Big wasn't suffering.

  • L d there if I go for lunch, VC verify Falcon nine isn't startup the vehicles and start up minutes three seconds.

  • 22nd.

  • There's one person, but 15 minus 10 seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.

  • Maybe I You see a movie section post launch pad operations moving operations one minute, 17 seconds into flight fallout Falcon nine performances nominal as we have down range over the Pacific Ocean flying south from the launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

  • We're passing through the region of maximum dynamic pressure right now.

  • This is where the high pressure, the honestly it combines with the speed of the rocket find the greatest stresses on the factor nine vehicle.

  • We throttled the engines down as we pass through this face and throttle them back up is we proceed on into orbit.

  • Major activity coming up will be the main engine cutoff T plus two minutes and 25 seconds.

  • Well, listen for that.

  • Followed shortly after by stage separation and then ignition of the second stage engine.

  • Let's listen in is the Falcon nine continues to head down range, preparing for shutdown in the first stage and stage separation and ignition of the second stage.

  • 48 seconds had successful 1st 2nd stage.

  • We're coming up on three minutes as we head into a lower orbit, everything looking good.

  • So it's just heard from John and broker.

  • It's it sounds like the Falcon nine first stage has successfully separated from the second stage and the second engine has successfully ignited.

  • It means we're on our way to orbit.

  • So, uh, following that, there's still a lot more to go on.

  • One of the cool things that's about to happen is we are gonna begin the recovery operation operations or, rather, the first age fly back operations.

  • That's going to consist of a flip maneuver where the rocket is moving in one direction and it will actually flip itself over.

  • Then it will begin, it will light the engines on the back end and that will begin a boost back burn to bring the first stage back towards the drone ship.

  • Uh, next up, I think we have a re entry burn that will slow down the rocket from about two kilometers per second down to one kilometer per second.

  • I still really fast.

  • But any sort of decrease of energy that you could get in moving that direction is is gonna be better for decreasing the aerodynamic stresses on