Sunday, June 19, 2022

SARah-1 Mission | SpaceX

SARah-1 Mission | SpaceX

SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster 1071-3 lands after successfully launching the SARah-1 satellite for Germany's Bundeswehr—the German Armed Forces.

Germany’s SARah-1 military radar Earth observation satellite launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Saturday, June 18, 2022. The launch, which was the 25th flight of the Falcon 9 this year, occurred at 7:19 AM PDT (14:19 UTC)—less than 24 hours after Friday’s Starlink 4-19 launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

Saturday’s launch used flight-proven Falcon 9 booster 1071-3. This booster previously flew the NROL-87 and NROL-85 missions out of Vandenberg earlier in 2022, and the SARah-1 mission marks its third flight. SpaceX was awarded the contract to launch SARah for the German government in 2013.

Lifting off from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Falcon 9 headed southward targeting a sun-synchronous polar orbit—a type of orbit commonly used by Earth observation satellites.

Unlike optical reconnaissance satellites, radar imaging satellites like SARah-1 and its sister spacecraft can image Earth in any weather and lighting conditions, such as a cloudy, rainy night, or other conditions which would limit optical observation, using a technique called synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

After the rocket’s two stages separated, the second stage proceeded to orbit with SARah-1, while B1071 conducted a boostback burn to place itself on a trajectory back towards the launch site. It subsequently made entry and landing burns before landing on the concrete pad at Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4), built on the site of the former SLC-4W launch pad adjacent to SLC-4E.

While B1071-3 flew back towards the launch site, Falcon 9’s second stage and its single Merlin Vacuum (MVac) engine placed the SARah-1 satellite into orbit. SARah-1 will operate in a circular orbit inclined at 98.4 degrees to the equator, with an altitude of about 750 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. 

Image Credit: SpaceX

Caption Credit:

Release Date: June 18, 2022

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