Launch 61 of 2022 will bring Falcon 9’s first-stage booster B1061. The launch will take place on July 21st of the year. The satellite that will be launched is EROS C-3. It is an Earth observation satellite that will be able to detect meteors, satellites, and even the incoming moon and comets.
Earth-observation satellite EROS C-3
A Falcon 9 launch is scheduled for December 29 to carry the Israeli EROS C-3 Earth observation satellite into orbit. The mission will provide a global measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide and the ability to observe changes in the ocean, lakes, rivers and freshwater bodies.
The mission is a partnership between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It will continue the long-term global sea level data record begun by Topex/Poseidon and Jason 1, 2, 3 and will also help researchers better understand how climate change is affecting our oceans and lakes.
In addition to the X-ray imaging spectrometer, the spacecraft is equipped with a superconductor-based Fourier Transform Hyperspectral Imager (FTHSI) and a 30 cm cooled imaging telescope. The telescope will be able to provide a wide field of view of up to 10 km.
The payload will be designed in conjunction with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and is expected to be ready for launch in 2008. The satellite will be launched by Rocket Lab USA Inc. from Long Beach, California.
The mission will demonstrate how small spacecraft can be placed on-orbit. Virgin Orbit National Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, has successfully deployed seven customer satellites.
NASA will use the satellite’s data to better understand the effects of climate change on lakes and rivers. These data will be used to improve the readiness of communities for disasters, such as floods and droughts.
Falcon 9 first-stage booster B1061
Falcon 9 booster B1061 has made six missions since the start of 2022. These flights include three Dragon missions, one EROS C-3 mission, two Starlink missions and one Cargo Dragon flight to the ISS. In all, the booster has launched 59 small micro satellites, ferried 1,722 payloads uphill and has landed five times.
The resupply cargo load for the International Space Station has been expanded to 26. As part of the package, SpaceX has also increased the number of COPVs that control pressurization. This also includes a grey strip on the RP-1 to keep the spacecraft warm.
SpaceX ferried nearly 2,000 payloads uphill in 2022. B1061’s previous missions included launching Cargo Dragon, Dragon Resilience, Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, Globalstar-2 and Dragon Endeavour.
Previously, the first stage of the Falcon 9 was used for the first time to launch the DM-1 mission, and also for a Starlink flight. The booster was also used to launch the SXM-8 audio broadcasting satellite and NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer.
It’s likely that boosters will be re-used again in the future. However, not all of the boosters in the active fleet are owned by SpaceX, and some are leased by other agencies. Those whose logo is in bold indicate flights using refurbished boosters.
Landing sites for B1061
Falcon 9 booster B1061 has landed on all of SpaceX’s landing sites. This includes the Landing Zone 4, located just a short distance from the launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Station. Aside from this, it has also landed on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read the Instructions” in Florida.
Previously, B1061 had landed on the landing site at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s LZ-1. However, this was the first time it had landed at both Cape and Vandenberg.
As part of the mission extension package, a grey strip was affixed to keep the RP-1 warm. Additionally, an increased number of COPVs were installed for pressurization control. In addition, a few extra TEA-TEBs were installed to assist the booster in landing.
The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket performed two more burns, including one to deploy 39 small nano satellites. These were the first of several small payloads launched.
After this flight, B1061 departed Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and travelled west towards Vandenberg. It has since flown six missions, carrying Dragon Resilience, Crew-1 and Starlink. During this time, it has also served as a side booster on Falcon Heavy.
Last week, B1061 ferried a batch of 53 Starlink satellites into orbit. In total, it lifted 95 Starlinks.