SpaceX adds "mystery" mission to it's Iridium NEXT-4 launch.

Discussion in 'The Newsroom' started by Starkiller1125, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Starkiller1125

    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    SpaceX adds mystery “Zuma” mission:

    It’s not often that one can point to a last-minute (from the public side) addition of a mission to a launch manifest – let alone one that manages to stay secret until 30 days before the opening of its launch campaign.

    But that is the case for a mystery Falcon 9 mission that is now set to launch between Koreasat-5A and CRS-13/Dragon.

    The mystery mission, codename Zuma, is known on its FCC launch license as Mission 1390 and will see a Falcon 9 rocket launch from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center before performing a RTLS (Return To Launch Site) landing at LZ-1 at Cape Canaveral.

    The mission is a new addition to SpaceX’s manifest and now appears to be the last flight off Pad 39A before the pad undergoes final configurations for the debut of the Falcon Heavy, which is still slated for NET (No Earlier Than) December 2017.

    With such secrecy, the customer candidate for Zuma would normally be the U.S. government/military (i.e.: the National Reconnaissance Office or the Air Force); however, there is industry speculation claiming this is a “black commercial” mission.

    Nonetheless, Zuma represents a likely rapid launch response from SpaceX for the satellite’s operator.

    (UPDATE: NASASpaceflight.com has confirmed that Northrop Grumman is the payload provider for Zuma through a commercial launch contract with SpaceX for a LEO satellite with a mission type labeled as “government” and a needed launch date range of 1-30 November 2017.)

    While nothing is known of the payload, what is known is that Zuma will use Falcon 9 core B1043 – a brand new core that was originally (as understood by NASASpaceflight.com) intended for the CRS-13/Dragon launch.

    However, a brand-new booster might not be needed for CRS-13. With Falcon 9 first stage reuse proving highly successful in its first two flights by August, NASA – as confirmed in a press conference following the CRS-12 launch – was actively investigating and reviewing data toward approving a future CRS launch on a flight-proven Falcon 9.

    According to information recently obtained by NASASpaceflight.com and available on L2, NASA has completed a technical review for reuse with successful results limited to the second flight of a booster that flew a LEO mission.

    This means that from NASA’s technical review standpoint, all engineering considerations for Falcon 9 reuse meet the agency’s strict safety standards and that nothing from a technical/engineering standpoint would stop a future CRS mission from launching on a once-flown Falcon 9 booster that lofted a payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

    The information adds that approvals are in management review but may not occur in time for SpX-13.

    However, CRS-13 is understood to be slipping about one week from its NET 28 November date into early December per the International Space Station’s schedule – affording additional time for NASA management to approve CRS-13’s launch on a flight-proven Falcon 9.

    A public decision on CRS-13’s booster is expected from NASA by early November.

    SpaceX adds mystery “Zuma” mission, Iridium-4 aims for Vandenberg landing | NASASpaceFlight.com
     
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  2. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    Oooooo, I'll be able to see this.
    Somebody remember to remind me to look to the east.
    Thanks.
     
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  3. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    So, what the hell are they launching and who is under this blanket, Northrop Grumman? Curious to know what BIG money is involved with this... and it's undoubtedly BIG damn money.
     
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  4. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    Iridium... I've just seen this recently, somewhere.
    Where the hell did I run across this..?
    Hmmmm...
     
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    Starkiller1125

    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    Iridium is a global satellite communications company. A big money company like Northrop Grumman. Makes you wonder of the two weren't in cahoots... My money is on that it's a spy satellite since it's being released into low earth orbit which is perfect for reconnaissance satellites. Not to mention the fact it HAD to be launched this month is even more telling of its true nature.
     
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  6. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    Russia and or China and or Korea must be on the move. My money is on Russia. Something is going on, it's been way too quiet, imo. Also just tossing this out, not that it makes a great deal of difference. But the weather has been perfect for a launch. So they may be taking that into consideration. Gotta get it up while the gettins' good.

    Definitely in cahoots. Same peeps own both companies, I bet. Dig deep enough, you'll find some names that have hands in many many pots. And have had for a long, long time.
     
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    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    Mayhaps North Korea is really getting serious about their nuke program. Or Iran is developing new uranium enrichment facilities. OR... Maybe it could have something to do with C/2017 U1...
     
  8. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    Pretty sure Iran is already there.
    Korea couldn't hit it's own asshole if it tried. Besides, we have a damn close watch on them anyway.

    Layman's terms please.
    What or who is C/2017 U1?
     
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    Starkiller1125

    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    C/2017 U1 is the famous interstellar comet. The very first recorded object from outside our solar system. It was first classified as A/2017 U1 as an asteroid but later found it to be a comet so they changed the designation to C/2017 U1.
     
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  10. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    I wonder if this secret black commercial satellite is gonna orbit way up north of us. Near the pole. Where it's uninhabitable and also unclaimed territory. Where Russia moved a huge fucking oil platform several years ago, very quietly, I might add.
     
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  11. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    How big is it, how far away, is it on course with earth? OR... do they think something is steering it?
     
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    Starkiller1125

    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    I got that backwards. It's actually A/2017 U1 because it was found it doesn't have a coma. Aka a comets "tail". Here's a good vid I posted a while back on it. This is not me.
     
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  13. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    Yikes.
    I didn't understand a lot of the words he was using. I however understood, it's big and hauling ass.

    I don't think this launch has much to do with it, other than to maybe observe it. Can't do much more than that. That thing is going wherever it damn well pleases.
     
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    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    Yeah I'm just a space nerd and have been since I got a telescope at the age of 7. So I'm well versed in all the fancy terminology lol. There are probably mnemonics out there to help you learn the terms.

    But considering this payload is being placed in LEO and that it's a "black commercial" payload with a launch manifest mission type of "government", all says "spy satellite". Maybe there is some loophole where private security companies can have their own private satellites and the CIA or NSA can contract out those private companies and take advantage of that. It just seems really odd it HAS to be launched this month specifically
     
  15. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    Is there a specific date set, that you know of or is it 'sometime this month'? Cause 'this month' is almost over. I bet they send it up in the wee hours of the morning. So it'll be only by chance that some people will see the actual launch. This means that from here on out, I'll have to climb up on my roof with my cuppa and phone, when I wake at 3 every morning.
     
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    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    November 15th or 16th. Here is a full list of launches if you're interested. Launch Schedule – Spaceflight Now
     
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    Starkiller1125

    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    It's listed at launching between 8 and 10PM eastern time
     
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  18. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    Oh cool. That helps. I'll keep my eyes to the sky. Camera at the ready.
     
  19. deviant2

    deviant2 Drawing Blood

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    I wonder if the helicopters that just scared the piss outta me, flying East, low and fast have anything to do with this...

    Hmmmm, my suspicious mind wants to know.
    Lol
     
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    Starkiller1125

    Starkiller1125 スター・キラー DA's Firearm Savant Staff Member

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    We're they black? Lol. If so, they very well could be! Did you happen to notice the noise as more of a very rapid thump that's associated with the YUH-61 "Blackhawk" or a slower, more pronounced rapid thump associated with the UH-1 "Huey"? There are videos that show the different sounds of helicopters with different numbers of rotor blades such as 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Then you get into helicopters with "contra-rotating rotors aka coaxial rotors" meaning there is a rotor with blades spinning one direction while another set of blades is below spinning the other direction. Like the Russian Ka-50 and Ka-52.
     
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