SpaceX had a flawless mission deploying 10 satellites for its customer Iridium this morning. Despite crazy wind and rough seas, SpaceX did manage to recover the first stage on their autonomous space port drone ship, “Just Read the Instructions” BUT… they weren’t able to recover their first fairing with their fairing catching boat Mr. Steven due to the rough seas.
The weather on the ground at Vandenberg, lovingly known as VandenFOG by some, was ummm well here, look at this.
Despite the fog, the weather was actually quite good for a rocket launch and the Falcon 9 lifted off right on time at 4:39 a.m. PDT (11:39 UTC). Almost immediately after leaving the pad, the SpaceX webcast went to the onboard camera, since ground cameras had such a foggy view.
Everything went nominally through the entire first stage burn with engine cut off happening at T + 2:28 followed shortly after with a clean stage separation at T + 2:30.
Follow a beautiful second stage ignition and a boost back burn of the first stage, we watched the second stage burn for a few minute to put it into its parking orbit.
Meanwhile, the first stage performed its reentry burn and headed down into the stormy weather towards the drone ship below.
Due to the stormy weather and choppy seas, the chance of recovering the booster was low. Despite this, SpaceX proved the reliability and resilience of their Block 5 Falcon 9 booster by making a successful touchdown on the drone ship!
After touchdown was confirmed, SpaceX confirmed a good orbital insertion of the upper stage.
We were also waiting to hear how fairing recovery went and we didn’t get any confirmation on the recovery attempt until after the 50 minute coast phase. Once the webcast came back, SpaceX host John Insprucker confirmed SpaceX was not able to catch the fairing this time.
A few minutes later, the upper stage started its circularization burn and then successfully deployed its 10 Iridium NEXT satellites.
Well, it was an awesome launch this morning. I really wish there would’ve been a recovered fairing this morning (since I’ve prepped a video and article for it already), BUT hopefully we get that soon!
Let me know if you have any other questions or thoughts in the comments below.
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That’s gonna do it for me, I’m Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut. Bringing space down to Earth for everyday people.