SpaceX to use southern polar corridor for the first time since 1960.
2020 will be remembered as the year in which SpaceX rewrote history on all “spatial” fronts.
On May 30th, the Crew Dragon transporting astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, marking it to be the first launch operated within U.S. soil since 2011.
SpaceX is set to make history yet again by launching a mission using the southern polar corridor from the Cape as well.
This will mark the first time in more than half a century that such a launch will take place from the United States’ East Coast.
60 years to be exact!
SpaceX to launch the SAOCOM-1B satellite later this month
The company will launch the Argentinian satellite during the month of July, with early reports indicating that it will occur no earlier than Saturday, July 25.
The SAOCOM-1B mission, initially scheduled to launch on March 30, has already been plagued by several delays.
From hardware issues, such as processing and integration, to travel restrictions imposed on the satellite’s engineers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have effectively forced SpaceX to postpone the mission up until now.
SAOCOM, short for Satélite Argentino de Observación COn Microondas, Spanish for Argentine Microwaves Observation Satellite, is an Earth observation satellite constellation, with each satellite weighing approximately 2800 kgs (6200 pounds).
The constellation will be deployed in polar orbit at about 620 kilometers (385 miles) above Earth.
What is polar orbit?
Polar orbiting is when a spacecraft travels past Earth from north to south rather than from west to east.
Polar orbits are a type of low Earth orbit, as the altitude ranges between 200 km and 1000 km above Earth.
Why is this mission so significant?
This latest mission carries with it huge historical and political legacies.
Back in November 1960, a U.S. Thor-Ablestar rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral as part of a routine military launch.
The rocket carried with it a spacecraft named GRAB II, which was designed to spy on radio communications around the world.
During the launch, the Thor rocket suffered a failure that caused the booster to shut down and deviate from its trajectory.
This triggered the rocket’s self-destruct mechanisms. Coincidentally, rocket debris landed on Cuban soil.
This launch also occurred when Cold War tensions were at an all-time high.
Then-Cuban President Fidel Castro publicly accused the United States of deliberate provocation, and filed a complaint at the United Nations.
Washington eventually conceded that falling rocket debris possibly landed on Cuba.
Fearing Cold-War related ramifications, the U.S. government cancelled launches overflying Cuba, and made improvements to the Cape’s range-safety system.
In conclusion, SpaceX is THE go-to private aerospace company, and will not be bogged down by neither technological difficulties nor the weight of history!