Prelaunch Preview: SpaceX, Spaceflight SSO-A – Everyday Astronaut

Prelaunch Preview: SpaceX | Spaceflight SSO-A

Lift Off Time (Subject to change)
Mission Name and what it is
Launch Provider (What rocket company is launching it?)
Customer (who’s paying for this?)
Launch Location
Payload mass
Where’s the satellite going?
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
Where will the first stage land?
Will they be attempting to recover the fairing?
Will they be attempting to recover the second stage?
This will be the:
64th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, 1st time the same booster has flown three times, 18th reflight of a booster, 19th mission for SpaceX in 2018 (New Annual Record!), 32nd successfully landed core.
Where to watch

Maybe for even more fun you can watch with Tim Dodd, The Everyday Astronaut starting at T minus 30! Come ask questions and join the conversation live!

What’s all this mean?

This is the first time SpaceX will be reflying a booster twice, making it the third time this rocket flies. Confused? Let’s try that again. This is the first time SpaceX will have flown a booster three times. All other boosters prior have only flown twice. This marks an important milestone as SpaceX takes another mighty step towards full, rapid reusability.

For this particular mission with this booster, 1046.3, SpaceX is launching 64 satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket to a low earth sun synchronous polar orbit on a ridesharing mission organized by Spaceflight Industries.

Falcon 9 on the launch pad for Iridium 7 mission – credit: SpaceX

The payload includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats, from 34 different organizations representing 17 countries. The organizations include governments, commercial companies, universities, a high school, a middle school and an art museum.

SSO-A upper free flyer – credit: Spaceflight Industries

B1046 previously flew the Bangabandhu 1 mission in May and Merah Putih mission in August of this year, both from Florida. SpaceX will be landing the booster on the west coast droneship, Just Read the Instructions. Why do they land on the droneship sometimes, on land other times, or sometimes not at all? Here’s a video for you:

Tim Dodd, The Everyday Astronaut, will be livestreaming this launch starting at T minus 30 minutes. So come ask questions and join the conversation live! If you want the best way to know when a launch is coming, I’d suggest downloading the SpaceXNow OR Launch Alarm apps to stay in the know!


Will this be a drone ship landing or an LZ4 landing?

It will be a drone ship landing. JRTI is the exclusive drone ship for west coast launches.

Tim; I see on another site that this is core B1046.3 !
If that’s so this will be the first 3rd flight of a single core, yes?

Yes. Third flight of booster 1046

Yes, the booster will be landing one the west coast droneship, Just Read the Instructions
Space Launch Complex 4 West (SLC-4W) aka Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California

Booster and first stage are the same thing for Falcon 9. Yes they will be attempting to land it on west coast drone ship.

Quick little thing I think when you hover over this launch in the prelaunch preview tab you should see the boster number.

How far south will this be visible? I’m in Oceanside and wondering if I will get a glimpse.

I can usually see them on the night launches from San Clemente. They usually make it out of the atmosphere and out of site level with my location while looking straight out over the ocean. The graphics that show the visibility from the ground go all the way into Mexico as the launch progresses.
The launches you really want to catch are the ones that happen about an hour before or after sunset as the rocket will pass into the Sunlight while in the upper atmosphere. Those are the best. The last one was really spectacular as it looked totally dark from the ground until the exhaust from the rocket was high enough to reflect the sun and lit up everything on the ground again. I haven’t tried to watch a daylight launch from here, but even at night, from here the rocket starts off as a strange light that looks about like the planes taking off from John Wayne or LAX but it’s about 3 to 5 times brighter. It basically looks like it’s coming from around Santa Monica or just inland of Long Beach. The light gets 10 to 20 times brighter as it subjectively appears to me. The last launch that passed into the sun created a spectical that was about the size of my outstreched hand at arms length.

Since this is a polar orbit the rocket will be heading south. I’m in Vista and consistently see them. Expect it to be lower in the sky then you’d think at about 35 degrees above horizon. Last time it broke through a cloud bank at about 30-60 second. Of course you’ll need a clearish day. Look farther south later (it will be higher)

Hey Tim, is there any way you could add SCRUB info to this page. I saw the date of the launch had changed and immediately came here to see why. But no info :*(

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *