Featured Image Source: SpaceX
SpaceX is preparing to deploy the ANASIS-II – Army/Navy/Air Force Satellite Information System –satellite for the Republic of South Korea. It is the first dedicated South Korean military communications satellite that will work alongside the Koreasat-5/ANASIS-I satellite, a combined civilian and military communications satellite that shares the same spacecraft chassis, launched in 2006. ANASIS-II will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 [SLC-40] at the United States Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The mission will be Livestreamed today, Tuesday, July 20, in the linked video below.A previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off during a launch window initiating at 5:00 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. Eastern Time [EDT]. Earlier today, SpaceX shared a photograph of the Falcon 9 rocket awaiting at the launch pad. The photographer also captured comet NEOWISE cruising a starry navy-blue sky, pictured below. “Comet NEOWISE over Falcon 9 and ANASIS-II vertical on SLC-40,” the company wrote via Twitter. Comet NEOWISE is unique because it will not fly by earth in over 6,000 years!
Update: SpaceX announced -"New T-0 of 5:30 p.m. EDT for weather. Vehicle and payload continue to look good for launch."
The United States Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron forecasts a 70% chance of favorable weather for this evening’s launch. If weather or a technical issue should cause a mission delay, a backup opportunity is scheduled for Tuesday, with a 50% chance of acceptable weather conditions.
New T-0 of 5:30 p.m. EDT for weather. Vehicle and payload continue to look good for launch— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 20, 2020
Comet NEOWISE over Falcon 9 and ANASIS-II vertical on SLC-40. Today’s launch window opens at 5:00 p.m. EDT and closes at 8:55 p.m. EDT, and weather is looking 70% favorable → https://t.co/bJFjLCzWdK pic.twitter.com/5ITydgvQVI— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 20, 2020
The previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster that will deploy ANASIS-II into orbit today, features scorch marks from atmospheric reentry of its previous mission, which was SpaceX’s first crewed voyage to the International Space Station. The historic booster, production number B1058, propelled NASA astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft to orbit just 51 days ago, on May 30th. Soon after deploying Crew Dragon, booster B1058 landed on the Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) autonomous drone ship at the Atlantic Ocean. The same rocket booster will deploy the ANASIS-II satellite into orbit this evening. Reusing rockets is a huge achievement by the company that hopes to reuse a particular first-stage rocket booster at least 10 times. SpaceX will attempt to recover the booster a second time about eight and a half minutes after liftoff, the company stated:
“Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The ANASIS-II spacecraft will deploy about 32 minutes after liftoff. Per the customer's request, live coverage will end shortly after first stage landing.”
Falcon 9 will deploy the ANASIS-II satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit [GTO], it will mark SpaceX’s first GTO mission of the year. ANASIS- II will use its integrated propulsion system to reach an altitude of around 42,000 kilometers over the equator, where it will operate to provide coverage to the Korean Peninsula over a 6,000-kilometer radius. The ANASIS-II satellite will be the first military communications satellite deployed by the country. Not many details have been released, due to the foreign military nature of the mission. The satellite was manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space in France, and it will be operated by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development.
SpaceX will attempt to also recover the Falcon 9’s rocket payload fairing, which is the top nose cone section that will carry the ANASIS-II satellite. The fairing halves will be catched by two twin ships called 'Ms. Chief' and 'Ms. Tree' (pictured above) which will be awaiting about 782-kilometers downrange. These ships feature huge nets attached to four metal arms; as the fairing free falls from space it then will open its parachutes to conduct a soft landing atop the ships' net. The last time SpaceX successfully caught a fairing half was during the fourth Starlink mission that took place in January. The recovery attempt will occur approximately 45-minutes after launch.