Türksat 5A | Falcon 9 Block 5

Lift Off Time (Subject to change)
January 8, 2021 02:15 UTC

January 7, 2021 21:15 EST

Mission Name and what it is

Türksat 5A, a telecommunication satellite

Launch Provider
(What rocket company is launching it?)
(Who’s paying for this?)

Türksat A.Ş.


Falcon 9 Block 5 B1060-4; 76 day turn around time

Note: it turns out we have been notating booster flights incorrectly; internally SpaceX uses the dash.

Launch Location
Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida
Payload mass
3,500 kg (7,700 lbs)
Where are the satellites going?
Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO)
How is the weather?
The weather is currently 70% go for launch (As of January 7, 2021 13:00 UTC)
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
Where will the first stage land?
673 km downrange on Just Read the Instructions

Tug: Finn Falgout; Support: GO Quest
Will they be attempting to recover the fairings?
GO Ms. Tree and GO Ms. Chief have been deployed. Catch/no-catch poll will be taken at T+45 min
Are the fairings new?
No, one fairing half flew on the GPS III SV03 mission, and the other flew on the ANASIS-II mission. 191 and 171 day turn around time, respectively
This will be the:
104th Falcon 9 launch
50th re-flight of a booster
71st booster landing
– 21st consecutive landing (New record for SpaceX)

15th and 16th re-flight of a fairing half
– 1st launch for SpaceX in 2021
– 2nd SpaceX launch on January 8 (Zuma launched on Jan 8, 2018)
– 62nd SpaceX launch from SLC-40
1st orbital launch attempt of 2021
– 32nd SpaceX launch to GTO
– 12th mission using
Flynn Falgout as the ASDS tug
– 52nd mission with
GO Quest as the ASDS support ship
3rd landing of B1060 or JRTI, the most times a single booster has landed on JRTI
Where to watch

SpaceX official livestream

Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut, will be streaming at T-30 minutes; come ask questions and join the conversation live!

What’s this all mean?

SpaceX will launch the Türksat 5A communication satellite for Türksat on the Falcon 9.  The Falcon 9 will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, in Florida.

Türksat 5A satellite

Türksat 5A is a Turkish communication satellite built by Airbus Defense and Space. The satellite, which is operated by Türksat, will provide direct TV broadcasting services and general telecommunication services to Turkey, Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia and Africa. Türksat 5A will operate in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) at 31° East inclination

Türksat 5A is based on the Eurostar-3000EOR satellite bus. The bus is equipped with two deployable solar arrays which in combination with batteries provide the satellite with over 12 kW of power. This will make Türksat 5A the most powerful satellite in Türksat’s fleet. In fact, due to having a large amount of power the satellite is fully electric and uses ion propulsion. Türksat 5A is equipped with 42 Ku band transponders and has a lifespan of 15 years.

Türksat 5A
An artist’s rendering of Türksat 5A (Credit: Airbus)

What is Falcon 9 Block 5?

The Falcon 9 Block 5 is SpaceX’s partially reusable two-stage medium-lift launch vehicle. Block 5 is the final iteration of the Falcon 9; the goal is to apply all the lessons learned from 56 previous Falcon 9 pre-Block 5 flights into a human-rated reusable rocket. The Falcon 9 contains 3 main components: a reusable first stage, an expendable second stage, and a reusable fairing.

Falcon 9
Falcon 9 Block 5 launching on the GPS Block III SV03 mission (Credit: SpaceX)

Block 5 updates:

SpaceX introduced a lot of changes on Block 5, allowing it to become the crew-launching reusable rocket that we know today. To start, the Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPVs) had to undergo a complete redesign. NASA mandated the COPV redesign, as it had been the cause of both of the Falcon 9 failures: AMOS-6 and CRS-7.

Alongside with certification for human spaceflight, Block 5 came with a number of other major changes. To increase the amount of flight each booster could handle, and decrease the turnaround time, SpaceX reinforced the landing legs, upgraded the grid fins, and added a carbon fiber interstage. They also added heat-resistant external paint and upgraded the engines. For more information about the changes in Block 5, and the other Blocks of the Falcon 9, check out this video by the Everyday Astronaut:

Tim Dodd explains the differences between the Falcon 9 versions. (Click image to watch) (Credit: Andrew Taylor)

Falcon 9 Booster B1060

The booster supporting this mission is B1060. This booster has already flown three times. Its maiden flight was on the GPS III SV03 mission for the USSF, which launched on June 30, 2020. It’s second flight was on Starlink V1.0 L11, which launched on September 3, 2020. Its third flight was on Starlink V1.0 L14, which launched on October 24, 2020. As this is the boosters 4th flight, its designation will change to B1060-4. 

Following stage separation, the Falcon 9 will conduct 2 burns. These burns will softly touch down the booster on Just Read the Instructions.

Falcon 9 landing on Of Course I Still Love You after launching Bob and Doug (Credit: SpaceX)

Fairing Reuse

SpaceX is the first entity ever that recovers and reflies its fairings. The recovery vessels, Go Ms. Tree and Go Ms. Chief, will most likely attempt to recover the fairing halves. After being jettisoned, the two fairing halves will use cold gas thrusters to orientate themselves as they descend through the atmosphere. Once at a lower altitude, they will deploy parafoils to help them glide down to a soft landing for recovery. 

  1. Click on the fairing recovery photos and you get an added bonus – someone’s photo! Who and why?!

    1. That is a mistake that came from importing information from the old website to the new website. It has been fixed now (just wait for cache to update!)

  2. Countdown timer shows launch on Jan 7 at 20:28 EST but at this time (Jan 6 5:48 EST) time remaining is 14:39?

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