SpaceX Falcon 9 sends Italian satellite into space on 5th try
After four days of delays, SpaceX was finally able to get its Falcon 9 rocket off the ground to send an Italian satellite into space.
Liftoff occurred at 6:11 p.m. EST (23:11 UTC) Jan. 31, 2022, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The payload for the launch was the second Italian COSMO-SkyMed second generation, CSG-2, spacecraft. It was sent on a southerly trajectory into a polar Sun-synchronous orbit and deployed about an hour after liftoff.
SpaceX initially tried to launch Jan. 27 at the same time, however, weather was so poor that the company didn’t even begin filling the rocket’s propellent tanks. On Jan. 28, the countdown was able to get to within a couple minutes of launch, but thick clouds kept the vehicle and payload on the ground.
On Jan. 29, the winds were too high and not expected to subside before liftoff. So the attempt was called off hours in advance.
Then, on Jan. 30, the weather was finally nearly perfect. However, a range violation, likely because of an outbound cruise ship from Port Canaveral wandering into the hazard zone, prompted a hold and then a scrub.
At 4,900 pounds (2,200 kilograms) CSG-2 is an Italian Earth observation satellite with upgraded instruments, one being the largest the Synthetic Aperture Radar for higher resolution imagery including single or dual polarized modes.
These significant scientific equipment updates are expected to allow for radar images in most any weather condition on Earth.
Changes to onboard hardware equipment will also pave the way for more streamlined data to customers by way of the Payload Data Handling and Transmission, PDHT, mechanism by enabling double the rate of transmission and storage capacity for users.
The ground equipment in receipt of the newly designed PDHT will also be upgraded to operate in concert with other CSG satellites.
For the launch, the first stage used for this flight was core B1052. It was on its third mission after having first flown as a side booster for two Falcon Heavy launches in 2019.
This was the first time that a Falcon Heavy side core has been repurposed as a Falcon 9 first stage. As such, there was no U.S. flag or “F9” logo on its side.
Additionally, there was no payload insignia on the previously flown fairing halves.
After the first stage finished its part in the ascent and separated from the second stage, some 2.5 minutes into the launch, it performed a boost back burn to return to Cape Canaveral to touch down at Landing Zone 1.
This was the second ground-based landing for SpaceX this year and the fourth overall Falcon 9 launch in 2022.
Another Falcon 9 is slated to fly from nearby Launch Complex 39A as early as Tuesday to send another batch of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. Launch is expected at either 1:56 p.m. or 5:13 p.m. EST (18:56 or 22:13 UTC).
A third Falcon 9 in as many days is expected from SpaceX’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Wednesday to send a classified payload into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office. Liftoff is targeting 3:18 p.m. EST (20:18 UTC) Feb. 2.
Video courtesy of SpaceX
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.