Friday, December 30, 2022

SpaceX Falcon 9 EROS-C Mission Launch | Vandenberg Space Force Base

SpaceX Falcon 9 EROS-C Mission Launch Vandenberg Space Force Base

SpaceX capped off the busiest year in its two-decade history Dec. 30, 2022, with a Falcon 9 launch of a commercial Israeli imaging satellite.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 2:38 a.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The rocket’s first stage, flying its 11th mission, landed back at the launch site eight minutes after liftoff.

The Falcon 9 upper stage deployed its payload, the EROS C3 imaging satellite, nearly 15 minutes after liftoff. The satellite was released at an altitude of nearly 500 kilometers in an unusual mid-inclination retrograde orbit, rather than the sun-synchronous orbit commonly used for optical imaging spacecraft.

EROS C3 was built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for ImageSat International, a Tel Aviv-based commercial imaging company. The 400-kilogram satellite, based on IAI’s OPTSAT-3000 bus, is designed to take images at a resolution of 30 centimeters.

The launch of EROS C3 completed the most active year to date for SpaceX. The company performed 61 launches, all successful, in 2022. All but one, a Falcon Heavy launch for the U.S. Space Force, were of the company’s Falcon 9 vehicle, which has become a workhorse for the global space industry.

SpaceX nearly doubled its launch rate from 2021, when the company performed a then-record 31 Falcon 9 launches. That launch activity was driven by the company’s Starlink constellation, which accounted for 34 of the 61 launches in 2022.

The 61 launches SpaceX performed in 2022 exceeded a goal of 60 set by Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of SpaceX, in a tweet in March. Musk has not publicly stated how many launches he expects SpaceX to conduct in 2023, but SpaceX’s first launch of the new year, the Transporter-6 dedicated rideshare mission, is scheduled for no earlier than Jan. 2 on a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40.

Reads full SpaceNews article at:

Image Credit: SpaceX
Caption Credit: SpaceNews

#NASA #Space #Earth #Orbit #LEO #SpaceX #Falcon9 #Rocket #Satellite #EROSC3 #Israel #IAI #EarthObservation #RemoteSensing #Defense #Military #ElonMusk #Spaceflight #Technology #Engineering #CommercialSpace #SpaceForce #VandenburgSFB #Spaceport #California #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

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