This mission will be 25th flight of Falcon-9 and 5th of Falcon-9 in 1.2V version-will we see tomorrow next successful landing on robotic ship “Of Course I Still Love You”?
Liftoff is scheduled for 26th May 2016 for 21:40 GMT from a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40; Falcon-9 1.2v already passed static fire test which was performed today (GMT) in the early morning hours. Weather in Cape Canaveral is perfect for launch and according to NASA weather forecast tomorrow it will be for “90% to go”. Launch window opens at 21:40 GMT and closes at 23:40 GMT. According to SpaceX first stage of the Falcon will perform reentry and landing on Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You” which will remain on Atlantic Ocean(28° 6′ 53″ N 73° 38′ 32″ W). Falcon-9 1.2v will lift tomorrow 3100 kg of payload for GTO orbit with 78.5° East Longitude on altitude of 35888 km.
Objective for tomorrow’s flight is placing Thaicom-8 satellite into GTO orbit. It is communication and broadcast satellite built by Orbital ATK for Thaicom Public Company Limited under contract signed in 2014. Contract also covered launch service and was worth $178.5 million. Thaicom-8 is based on GeoStar-2.3 satellite bus, which is designed especially for long term missions even with duration over 15 years. Satellite weighs 3200 kg; it is equipped with two deployable solar arrays and onboard lithium batteries which will provide 5 kW of power. It is main payload are 24 Ku band transponders and three deployable dish antennas with diameters of 2.4 m, 2.6 m and third with elliptical dish of 2.5 m x 2.7 m. Satellite is equipped with 3-axis stabilization which is utilizing monopropellant thrusters and reaction wheels. Propulsion for orbit transfer system is bi-fueled (N2H4/MON-3) main thruster made by Japanese company IHI; it is called BT-4 and is providing 450 N of thrust. Satellite will cover with its range East Africa, India, Thailand along with surrounding regions and will support present Thaicom satellites: Thaicom-5 (launched in 2006) and Thaicom-6 (launched in 2014).
For average cost of $62 million, SpaceX will use for this mission modified Falcon-9 in 1.2V. It is improved 1.1v with new thrust control and fueled with filled with supercooled propellant. Rocket is liquid fueled with LOX/RP1 and is equipped with two stages. First stage is powered by nine Merlin-1D+ engines with trust of particular unit at 845 kN. First stage is long for 41 m and its tanks are able to take 286500 kg of LOX and 123000 kg RP-1; its diameter is 3.7 m which is constant over the entire height of the rocket. Second stage height is 14 m and is powered with single vacuum version of Merlin-1D + engine with thrust at 934 kN. It is able to take 75200 kg of LOX and 32300 kg of RP-1.Tanks of both stages are made from aluminum lithium alloy. Total height of the rocket is 70 m with start weight at 549054 kg. Falcon-9 1.2v is able to lift to GTO orbit 8300 kg of payload.