SpaceX is celebrating successful launch of the JCSAT-16 and perfect landing on the droneship.
JCSAT-16 is C and Ku band broadcasting satellite designed and manufactured by Space Systems/Loral (under contract signed in 2014) for Tokyo based SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation. Spacecraft will cover with its range Asia, Russia, Oceania, Middle East and North America with onboard 26 C and 18 Ku band transponders powered with 10 kW two deployable solar arrays; SkyPerfect will provide with their latest satellite data transfer, video distribution and other communication solutions. SpaceX was chosen as launch service provider by JCSAT for the second time in 2016. They already launched JCSAT-14 satellite on May 6, 2016 and today again Elon Musk’s Company presented high level of professionalism. Mission start was planned for 05:26 GMT from Cape Canaveral SLC-40. SpaceX decided to use Falcon-9 1.2v to deliver weighing 4969 kg satellite and perform another experimental landing of the first stage of the rocket. This time it was confirmed that landing will be conducted on special droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” remaining on the Atlantic Ocean around 650 km east from Florida. JCSAT-16 has designated orbit with apogee at 36000 km. Satellite will spent few weeks on changing orbit to circular with altitude of 35700 km and will replace Superbird-B2 satellite over equatorial orbit with inclination at 162°.
Punctually at 05:26 GMT rocket lifted off and started to increase its speed to reach 1000 km/h at T+59″ on altitude of 7 km. Rocket reached peak stress point at T+1’20” when it was flying with speed of 1700 km/h on altitude of 14 km. At T+2′ superchilled liquid oxygen started to flow to turbopumps of the second stage to prepare its propulsion for ignition planned for T+2’40”. Main engine cut off of the first stage of the Falcon was performed at T+2’34” with speed of 8111 km/h when rocket reached altitude of 60 km. At T+2’42” stages were separated and single Merlin-1D+ started to provide 716 kN of thrust seven seconds later. In the same time first stage started to prepare for flip maneuver and reducing speed before returning to Earth. At T+3’40” payload fairing was jettisoned on altitude of 117 km, while second stage was reaching speed of 10000 km/h. First stage performed flip maneuver and using only one central engine (from nine) started to perform reentry maneuver. Stage successfully landed on the droneship at T+9’29”.
On picture above: first stage of the Falcon-9 1.2v on “Of Course I Still Love You”
In the same time second stage was already after first engine cut off of the second stage performed at T+9’15” and was continuing ballistic flight over Atlantic. Second burn lasting for 62 seconds started over West Africa at T+26’30”. At 05:58 GMT JCSAT-16 was deployed according to plan.