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Every SpaceX Launch and Why Its Important

Credits- TechCrunch

Falcon 1

Credits- Michael Graham Richard – WordPress.com

The Falcon 1 was the first rocket-ship made by SpaceX.

The Falcon 1 launch was postponed several times because of uncontrollable reasons. The first flight took place on 24 March, 2006 from the Omelek Island in the Marshall Islands (SpaceX Launch Site). It ended in failure in just less than a minute into the flight because of a dire from the Fuel Line leak. After this failure, SpaceX implemented many changes to the Hardware and software to prevent these issues from occurring again.

The Second Falcon 1 flight was going to take place in January 2007 but was delayed because of the second stage problems. And its launch was further delayed from September 2006 to November and December. In December, it was further delayed to March. On March 9, it was again delayed because of issues of range availability caused by Minuteman III test flight.

On 19 March, the launch attempt was delayed for 45 minutes and then the launch was scrubbed because of computer issues. On 20th March, another attempt was delayed because of communication problems between one of the NASA experiments in the payload and the TDRS system.

The First launch attempt took place on 00:05GMT of 21st March and it was aborted in the last minute after the engine has ignited. But, the second launch was decided the same day. 21 Match 2007, at 01:10 GMT, the rocket successfully left the pad with a DemoSat payload from DARPA and NASA.

Third Flight

Credits – Spacevidcast

The Third attempt of Falcon 1 launch took place on 3rd August, 2008 from Kwajalein. This flight carried a US airforce satelliteTrailblazer, Nasa’s nanosatellites, and Celestis Space burial payload. Although the rocket didn’t reach the orbit, the first stage with the new Merlin 1C engine performed perfectly.

Fourth Flight

Credits- SpaceX

The Falcon 1’s fourth flight took place on 28 September, 2008 and was successful in delivering a payload of 165 KG non-functional boilerplate spacecraft into the low Earth orbit. It was Falcon 1’s first successful launch and also the first successful orbital launch by a privately-funded and developed company.

Fifth Flight


Credits- SpaceX

The construction of 5th Falcon 1 was announced and it was transported to Kwajalein where it was set to be launched on 21 April, 2009. But, on 20th April, Tesla declared in a press release that the launch was postponed because of compatibility issues between RazakSAT spacecraft and Falcon 1 launch vehicle.

The next launch was announced on 13 July. It was successful in placing RazakSAT into the Initial orbit and 38 minutes later, it was successfully deployed.

Falcon 9

Credits- The Aviationist

The Falcon 9 first launch occurred on 4 June, 2010 and was said to be a success in placing the payload in Orbit. The Vice President of SpaceX, Ken Bowersox described the launch as “a little bit of roll at liftoff”. The roll stopped before the aircraft could reach the top tower but it unexpectedly began to roll slowly near the end of its burn during the Second Stage.

SpaceX COTS Demo Flight 1

The Falcon 9 second launch was known as COTS Demo Flight 1, aimed to test a Dragon Capsule. It was launched on December 8, 2010. It placed the Dragon spacecraft in a 300 KM orbit and after two orbits, the capsule came back to the environment and was found off the coast of Mexico. It was also carrying a secret payload which was a wheel of cheese. Now, the capsule is on display at SpaceX headquarters permanently.

The COTS qualification process included two more demo flights which were combined and named Dragon CR1 with the successful completion of CR1. Falcon 9 was world’s first fully commercially developed launcher to deliver the payload to the International Space Station. SpaceX signed the first Commercial Resupply Services agreement for 12 cargo deliveries starting from October 2012.

The fourth flight of Falcon 9 was the first operational cargo resupply mission to ISS and it was launched on October 7, 2012. 76 seconds after the launch, the engine 1 of the first-stage suffered a loss of pressure which caused the engine to shut down automatically. The remaining 8 engines continued to burn till Dragon capsule reached the orbit successfully.

Despite this incident, Orbocmm said they have gathered some useful test data from the mission and have planned to send out more satellites via SpaceX, which took place from July 2014 to December 2015.

The Falcon 9 v1.1 maiden flight was launched on 29 September 2013 – it was a new launch vehicle with greater thrust and it was much larger than Falcon 9 v1.0. It carried CASSIOPE as payload. CASSIOPE had a payload mass that was very small to the rocket’s capability and it did so that at a discounted rate of 20% approximately. It was done because it was a technology demonstration mission for SpaceX.

Loss of CSR-7

The 19 Flight of Falcon 9 carried a Dragon Capsule on the seventh Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station. But, the second stage disintegrated because of an internal helium tank failure while the first stage was still burning normally. This was the first mission loss for Falcon 9. The Rocket also carried the first  International Docking Adapter (IDA-1), whose loss further delayed preparations of the stations’ US Orbital Segment for future crewed missions.

Falcon 9 Flight 20

Credits- SpaceX

SpaceX launched Falcon 9 Full Thrust version on December 22, 2015, after months of pausing. It was a highly anticipated and return-to-flight mission after the loss of CRS-7. And SpaceX performed a controlled landing test for the eighth time and attempted to land the booster on land for the very first time. And it successfully managed to recover the rocket’s first stage that launched a payload to Orbit.

The first stage booster is now on permanent display outside SpaceX’s headquarters.

Loss of Amos-6

Credits- TechX

The 29th Flacon 9 rocket exploded at launching when the propellants were being loaded for a routine pre-launch static fire test on September 1, 2016. It was carrying Israeli Amos-6 which got destroyed with the launcher.

The First Launch of a Refurbished First Stage

Credits- FOX 10 Phoenix

The Flight 32 which launched the SES-10 satellite. It included the first stage booster B1021, which was previously used for the CRS-8 mission a year before. The stage was recovered successfully for the second time and was retired and now, it is on display at Cape Canaveral.

Zuma


Credits- Space Videos

Zuma was a US government satellite, developed at a cost of $3.5 billion. It was built by Northrop Grumman. Its launch was delayed in 2017 to January 2018. After the successful Falcon 9 launch, the first stage booster landed at LZ-1.

Reports suggested that Zuma was lost, which claimed that the payload failed following orbital release, or that the customer-provided adapter failed to release the satellite. But, other reports said that Zuma was in orbit and operating covertly.

COO of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell said that their Falcon 9 did everything correctly and the information published was false.

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