saocom

SpaceX successfully carried out the SAOCOM-1B Mission on Sunday August, 30 at 7:19 P.M. Eastern Time. 

A Falcon 9 rocket deployed a total of three rideshare payloads into orbit.  The SAOCOM-1B, an Argentinian Earth-observation satellite, as well as the Tyvak-0172 and the GNOMES-1.

The mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

SAOCOM, short for Satélite Argentino de Observación COn Microondas, is an Earth-observation satellite program. The Program’s total price tag is approximately $600 million. The SAOCOM-1B launched on Sunday was made on behalf of Argentina’s Space Agency, the COmisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE).

The Tyvak-0172 is a nanosatellite manufactured by a private aerospace company, the Tyvak Nano-Satellites Systems for undisclosed customers. Nanosatellites are satellites of low mass and size, usually under 500 kilograms (1,100 lb).

The GNOMES-1 will be part of a constellation of satellites that will provide data for weather forecasting and climate research. They are manufactured by a Colorado-based satellite manufacturing company, PlanetIQ.

Falcon 9 Reusability

The Falcon 9 rocket used for that mission, designated B1059, effectively carried out its third mission.

The booster was previously utilized for two commercial cargo missions to the International Space Station. It also deployed a batch of 58 Starlink satellites and three Planet SkySat satellites into orbit on June 13 this year. 

One Milestone Achieved

The SAOCOM-1B mission was initially scheduled to launch on March 30, but was then delayed until the month of July for several reasons. 

The satellite experienced hardware processing and integration issues. Travel restrictions have also been issued to the Argentinian engineering team due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mission was then delayed up until last Sunday due to undisclosed reasons.

More significantly, this mission carried with it a lot of history. It is the first polar launch from Florida since 1960.

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.

Another One Aborted

SpaceX planned for back-to-back Falcon 9 launch missions last Sunday, approximately 9 hours apart. 

The first mission was supposed to be a batch of Starlink satellites. The mission was set at 10:12 A.M. Eastern, from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’S Kennedy Space Center. The mission was called off due to poor weather conditions. 

Starlink’s launch has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 3 at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Time.

Conclusion

SpaceX is aggressively attacking on all fronts so-to-speak. They are deploying their batches of Starlink satellites every two weeks barring extraordinary circumstances. They are repeatedly testing multiple Starship prototypes, with a soon-to-be-scheduled 150m hop test for their SN6 prototype.

As previously stated, SpaceX is The go-to aerospace company.

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