Featured Image Source: SpaceX
After a couple of delays, SpaceX announced today it plans to deploy ANASIS-II, a South Korean military communications satellite on July 20, atop a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster. “Targeting Monday, July 20 for Falcon 9’s launch of the ANASIS-II mission, which will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The primary launch window opens at 5:00 p.m. EDT, or 21:00 UTC, and closes at 8:55 p.m. EDT, or 00:55 UTC on July 21,” the company wrote in a press release.
The historic rocket that will fly again on Monday, is the same booster that lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida propelling NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, during SpaceX’s first crewed mission to the International Space Station. Soon after deploying Crew Dragon, the first-stage booster, production number B1058, landed on the Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) autonomous drone ship at the Atlantic Ocean, pictured above.
B1058 will now deploy the ANASIS-II satellite into orbit and the company will attempt to recover the booster a second time. “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,” SpaceX stated. Falcon 9 is expected to deploy the ANASIS-II satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit. 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 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.
It is always incredible to watch SpaceX land a Falcon 9 rocket on an autonomous vessel at sea. Rocket reusability is one of SpaceX’s greatest achievements. Even though a Falcon 9 is only capable of being 85% reusable, it is the only company that has achieved landing orbital-class rockets over 50 times. SpaceX aims to develop a rocket that could one day be fully reusable, and Falcon 9’s recovery system paves the way towards accomplishing that goal. Booking a flight aboard a new Falcon 9 rocket costs approximately $62 million. The first-stage booster that SpaceX recovers makes up about 60% of the total cost of the rocket, around $30 million. So, by recovering a Falcon 9’s first-stage SpaceX reduces manufacturing and operation costs. The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk, previously said the company aims to reuse rocket boosters up to 10 reflights, and stated that Falcon 9 [Block 5] “is capable of at least 100 flights.” Regrading that, the President of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell said in March – “I don’t actually think we’re going to need to fly more than 10 times.” So far, SpaceX has achieved launching a landed a particular Falcon 9 booster 5 times.
You can watch the launch Live in the video below, courtesy of SpaceX.
WATCH IT LIVE!