Falcon 9R: NROL-76 (US NRO spy satellite) mission thread


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DocM

NROL-76 (NROL = National Reconnaissance Office Launch)

 

Launch Date: NET April 16
Launch Time: TBA
Destination Orbit: classified (see below)
Stage Recovery: LZ-1

 

NROL-76 is a spy satellite, and therefore its purpose is unknown. Given the stage landing is at LZ-1 we are able to exclude a heavy geostationary launch, but a lightweight bird could end up there. More likely destinations would be low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth orbit (MEO) or a highly elliptical Molniya orbit, the latter having a long loiter time over a selected region at apogee. Could be a Quasar (data relay), Nemesis (SIGINT), NOSS-3 (Naval Ocean Surveillance System) or something else.

 

Coverage wise, this means SpaceX is not going to webcast the full S2 burn to SECO and payload separation for security reasons. Instead, the webcast will likely cut away after stage separation and ignition, then cover the first stage landing and that'll be it. They also may not supply the usual tracking indicators.

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Quote

SpaceX Opens Media Accreditation for NROL-76 Mission
 
Media Contact: John Taylor
media@spacex.com
310.363.6703
 
HAWTHORNE, Calif. - March 27, 2017. Media accreditation is now open for SpaceX's NROL-76 mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch is targeted for no earlier than April.
 
Members of the media who are U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens (green card holders) and are interested in covering the launch must fill out this media accreditation form by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 28.
 
Requesting accreditation is not required of media who hold current annual press credentials issued by Kennedy Space Center, but it is appreciated for planning purposes.
                                                                                                    
For launches from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center decides which media are credentialed to cover launches, not SpaceX. Please keep in mind, simply making the request in a timely fashion does not guarantee the request will be granted. Please be sure to provide all the information included on the SpaceX form.
  
More details on pre-launch media activities will be made available at a later date closer to launch.

 

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Unobscured Vision

Cool. The first of their NRO Missions. High Security Rules & Regs apply, folks. Don't spill it if you know it. Keep the chatter to a minimum, etc. Most of us should know the drill. Let's do it by the numbers and have a great flight. EOB. :D 

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DocM

Oh yeah. Many of us have signed those papers - be it for handling info, working with nasty things, or both.  

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Draggendrop

Do the "Men in Black" put that "light thingy" in your eyes, to forget what happened.....:D

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Unobscured Vision
2 minutes ago, DocM said:

Oh yeah. Many of us have signed those papers - be it for handling info, working with nasty things, or both.  

Signed the same ones. :yes: 

1 minute ago, Draggendrop said:

Do the "Men in Black" put that "light thingy" in your eyes, to forget what happened.....:D

What light? :D 

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Draggendrop
5 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

Signed the same ones. :yes: 

What light? :D 

yah...must of been dreaming....carry on....:D

 

 

meanwhile....

 

5527484.thumb.jpg.ef1803f70cff60ddf921198b21cbe81d.jpg

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DocM

Launch site: LC-39A

Static fire: NET April 12

Launch date: NET April 16

Launch window: 0700 - ~0900 EDT

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Jim K

Sunday morning launch (well if it launches on the NET date).  Me like!

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DocM

Moving right because the troubled Atlas V/Cygnus launch is nearly ready to go. Guess it took a while to clean all that hydraulic fluid out of its guts and replace the lines.

Static Fire: April 26
Launch: April 30 0700 - ~0900 EDT

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Unobscured Vision

Hmm.

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DocM

Part giving Atlas V room for another issue slip and the unusual pre-launch processing for many NRO birds.

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Unobscured Vision

Yep, a lot of stuff in-work for 2H 2017/2018. Gonna be a busy 18 months. :yes: 

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  • 3 weeks later...
DocM

Static Fire moves left to Tuesday, April 25. Tomorrow.

 

National security launch and a Sunday so,

 

 

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DocM

F9 vertical for the static fire.  The window opened at 1200 Eastern, with no venting yet. 

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DocM

NRO patch

 

 

SpaceX patch

 

2017-04-27-220328.thumb.jpg.62e54cf857ee783f8214e673835718cd.jpg

 

 

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DocM

How big is the F9 fairing? About this big....

 

IMG_20170428_164314.thumb.jpg.af811265c45129f91ee83f27254062ce.jpg

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flyingskippy

Is vertical integration needed on this one? It's RTLS, so it can't be too heavy.... 

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Beittil

No, they couldn't do that anyway. They don't have the facilities for it.

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Unobscured Vision

Agh that's so weird seeing it hauled by the Luggage Carrier. I know it's pretty light, but still. :laugh::rofl: Thanks @DocM.

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DocM
12 hours ago, Beittil said:

No, they couldn't do that anyway. They don't have the facilities for it.

No vertical integration....yet.  They'll need it for ITS and future DoD launches. Maybe for something else ;)

 

 

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DocM

F9 is vertical

 

F918.thumb.jpg.7ea5d1ec585e37342db800a92f67a362.jpg

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DocM

T-0 moved to 0715


 

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