Falcon 9 rocket launch with Transporter-3 mission – January 13, 2022

Falcon 9 rocket launch with Transporter-3 mission – January 13, 2022

Thursday, January 13, 2022 11:48 AM


Falcon 9 on the SLC-40 launch pad before take-off with the Transporter-3 mission (Source: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 on the SLC-40 launch pad before take-off with the Transporter-3 mission (Source: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 on the SLC-40 launch pad before take-off with the Transporter-3 mission (Source: SpaceX)

The Falcon 9 rocket with the Transporter-3 mission from the SLC-40 platform in Cape Canaveral, Florida is scheduled to launch on January 13 at 16:25 CET (15:25 UTC). The startup window will take 29 minutes. 105 microsatellites and cubesats will be launched into orbit for various customers. Charge separation will begin approximately 60 minutes after take-off and will last approximately 28 minutes.

You will be able to follow the start live on our website.

The Exolaunch team during the integration of satellites before take-off, the ICEYE microsatellite is visible from the front (Source: Exolaunch / SpaceX)Transporter-3 is the third dedicated mission of the SpaceX program SmallSat Ridesharethe aim of which is to launch small satellites into orbit at a low cost. The rocket will carry loads contracted by intermediaries – Spaceflight, Exolaunch, D-Orbit and ISILaunch – as well as directly by SpaceX.

Three satellites contracted by Spaceflight, which for its part calls this mission SXRS-6, are placed on top of the rocket. Spaceflight’s Sherpa-LTC transfer vehicle was also originally planned to be launched, carrying cubesat satellites for customers. In mid-January, however, a leak was discovered in his propulsion system, which meant that he was withdrawn from this mission.

Exolaunch has contracted the launch of 29 payloads during this launch, while D-Orbit has prepared the ION SCV-004 Elysian Eleonora transfer vehicle with at least five cubesat satellites for customers. Some of the loads were also contracted by ISILAUNCH, which called its mission ISILaunch-36.

Planet team before sending satellites to Florida (Source: Will Marshall)The satellites launched into orbit during this mission include:

  • Named Flock-4x group of 44 cubesats SuperDove Planet companies that will join the constellation built by the company. Its purpose is to take pictures of the Earth with a resolution of approximately 3 meters. After this launch, Planet will have over 240 satellites in orbit.
  • ICEYE X14 i X16, another satellite of the Finnish company ICEYE equipped with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which allows you to take images of the Earth regardless of weather and lighting. The co-founder and CEO of ICEYE is a Pole, Rafał Modrzewski.
  • Umbra-02, the second SAR satellite from Umbra Lab, which is to take pictures of our planet at a resolution of 25 centimeters. The first satellite, launched during the Transporter-2 mission, was to test the technologies and verify the operation of all subsystems.
  • Yourself 2-1, commissioned by the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NKAU), a satellite that will take pictures of the Earth’s surface in visible and near-infrared light and will monitor the parameters of the Earth’s magnetosphere. It is the largest satellite that will be launched during this mission, weighing 170 kilograms.
  • Capella 7 i 8, two satellites that will join the constellation of the American company Capella Space, which is to ultimately include 30 satellites. They are equipped with a SAR radar, which is expected to provide high-contrast, low-noise pictures of the Earth with a resolution of less than half a meter.

The D-Orbit ION SCV-004 transfer vehicle will feature four satellites built by the Polish company SatRevolution:

  • Two satellites of the observation constellation STORKdesigned to take multispectral images of the Earth at a resolution of up to 5 meters.
  • LabSat, cubesat 3U to study the effects of microgravity and cosmic rays on biological samples.
  • SW1FT, a satellite to host various loads on board for commercial customers.

Rocket flight trajectory during the Transporter-3 mission (Source: Raul / @ Raul74Cz)This will be the fourth SpaceX launch from the Florida coast in recent years, during which the payload will be placed in polar orbit. Falcon 9 will take off in a SE and then turn south along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

This flight will use the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which previously participated in nine missions: Crew Demo-2 in May 2020, ANASIS-II in July 2020, Starlink-13 in October 2020, CRS-21 in December 2020 year, Transporter-1 in January 2021, Starlink-21 in March 2021, Starlink-24 in April 2021, Starlink-28 in May 2021, and Starlink Group 4-1 in November 2021.

After the separation of the second tier, the booster’s landing on the platform is planned Landing Zone 1 on Cape Canaveral. This will be the first return of the Falcon rocket booster to land since June 2021. It is also planned to recover the rocket’s cargo covers after launching by catching them from the ocean surface by the ship Bob.

The weather forecasts now give a 70% chance of favorable conditions in the designated start window. The main obstacles can be cumulus clouds and a thick layer of clouds. If you postpone your start to the next day, the chances are increased to 90%.

Sources: CelesTrak, ElonX.net, SpaceNews, Exolaunch, Gunter’s Space Page (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), Planet, SatRevolution, Raul, SpaceOffshore, Spaceflight Now, ICEYE, Will Marshall