Again full success during SpaceX mission; Japanese telecommunication satellite on orbit, Falcon-9 first stage performed successful landing on drone ship for the second time in 2016.
Full success even against previous announcments given by SpaceX that landing on “Of Course I Still Love You” will be hard to perform due the increased velocity of first stage caused by GTO injection of the JCSat-14. This first mission for SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. was performed with 24 hours delay due the poor weather on Thursday, May 5, 2016. It was fourth launch of Falcon-9 in 2016.
At 04:48 GMT Falcon-9 remained rolled out on SLC-40 in Cape Canaveral and already started to be tanked with RP-1 propellant and everything was prepared for LOX tanking. After SES-9 launch on March 5, 2016, filling tanks with supercooled LOX is performed in the last moment became standard procedure in case Falcon-9 1.2v. SES-9 launch was postponed three times mainly because of problems with LOX temperature which warmed above the desired level during prolonged time after tank. Now just twenty minutes before launch, at 05:02 LOX started to fill tanks of the Falcon-9. Three minutes after at 05:05 GM,T remaining covered with fairing JCSat-14 was switched to internal power; at 05:12 GMT already tanked rocket opened prevvalves to let LOX flow on pumps and nine Merlin 1D engines for cooling. At 05:15 GMT Falcon-9 was switched to internal power, cooling engines and pumps was finished. Strongback started to unlock latches and was lowered at 05:17 GMT what was clear signal that everything is set for “go”. At 05:19, final count down was started, Niagara system started to pump thousands of liters of water to help reduce noise of the rocket. Punctually at 05:20 liftoff – Falcon-9 1.2v with JCSat-14 on atop started its mission.
On picture above: impressive beginning of the flight !
At T+1′ rocket reached speed of 1014 km/h and altitude of 7 km. At T+01’08” rocket flew with speed of sound on altitude of 9.1 km. Point when maximal mechanical stress was reached at T+01’38” with speed of 2676 km/h on altitude of 21.1 km. First stage cut off was performed on altitude 64.8 km of at T+02’39” while rocket flew with speed of 8280 km/h. Separation of the first and second stage was performed at T+03’42” on altitude of 115 km with speed of 9197 km/h. Second stage started its Merlin 1D engine and two minutes after payload fairing was released. In the same time first stage was performing flipping manouver using additional thrusters and started to reduce speed. At T+08’39” first stage landed on drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” remaining on Atlantic Ocean:
In the same time second stage of Falcon reached altitude of 165 km and speed of 24749 km/h and at T+9’15” its engine was shut down. Rocket started to continue ballistic flight until next burn. At T+26’27” engine of the second stage of Falcon-9 started to operate for 59 seconds. After second burn rocket was ready for separation with JCSat-14. At T+24’00” JCSat-14 separated from Falcon-9. Satellite will reached its orbit using onboard propulsion in July 2016.