Grado de dificultad: 3 (por el idioma)
A short post to congratulate SpaceX, that succeeded another mission so easily that is seems like a regular plane flight.
SpaceX graduates first of its class in space missions
So, SpaceX did it again: their June 25th STP-2 mission was a success.
In this new mission, the stakes were very high: the launcher was a Falcon Heavy, with a payload of not less than 24 individual satellites.
The following (very long) video describes this very sophisticated mission (Note: you don’t have to watch it all. Just scroll to the relevant events).
With a one-second-precision schedule during the whole mission, the last of 24 satellites was released 3H 34 mn and 22 s after launching.
This is not the highest number of satellites they released at once: on May 24th, they sent the first 60 satellites of their starting Starlink Internet Network program.
As usual, they, got the boosters back, but not the central main one.
Retrieving the boosters is already a very complicated part. By now, only them (while Blue Origin’s New Shepard is starting too) are able to succeed is, repeatedly.
However, it is a relatively simple case: both boosters are still almost vertical above the launching area, and above solid ground.
The central launcher, that goes much higher and that must get back down on the ocean has always been the tricky part. They didn’t make it either this time.
The tiny “I Still Love You” aquatic, platform is more like a symbolic last chance. Keep on trying!
A stunning precision and expertise
Compared to the 70’s space missions, the technological improvement is visible: the power of the computers allows very sophisticated timings.
It also enhances the extraordinary reliability of their solution. Seeing them is almost like seeing a plane taking off… If we forget that they are far ahead of all the challengers.
Boeing seems lost, Russian Proton is fading and Ariane is behind. The only team able to launch on a regular basis and make money with it is SpaceX, without any doubt.
Look at their schedule, through the end of 2019, then continuing in 2020 and 2021:
This could become an issue, if they reach a “winner-takes-all” situation. It is not surprising that Europeans are still working on their own next launcher, Ariane 6.
The near future of this race is going to be very interesting. Next step: The Moon.