AKA: Falcon 9 1.1. Status: Active. First Launch: 2014-09-07. Last Launch: 2016-01-17. Number: 9 . Payload: 13,150 kg (28,990 lb). Thrust: 5,885.00 kN (1,323,000 lbf). Gross mass: 505,846 kg (1,115,199 lb). Height: 68.40 m (224.40 ft). Diameter: 3.70 m (12.10 ft). Span: 4.10 m (13.40 ft).
Communications satellite for Asiasat, a Hong Kong based telecom company. The satellite had C and Ku band communications payloads and an additional C-band payload for the Thai operator Thaicom; this payload was marketed as Thaicom 7. Stationed over 119.8 deg E.
ISS resupply mission. The Dragon Trunk carried two packages, the ISS RapidScat radar scatterometer science instrument and the RapidScat Nadir Adapter, which was to be installed on the SDX nadir attach point of the Columbus module's external payload facility. The Dragon cabin carried SpinSat, an 0.56m spherical NRL satellite to be deployed by the Kibo JEM-RMS, and the NASA-Ames Rodent Research 1 life sciences payload with 20 mice. The SSRMS Canadarm-2 grappled the Dragon at 10:52 GMT on September 23 and berthed it to the Harmony node at 13:21 GMT. Unberthed and released by the SSRMS at 13:57 GMT on 25 October. It made its deorbit burn at 18:43 GMT and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 19:38 GMT off Baja California near 34 deg N x 123.5 deg W.
Launched into a 206 km x 353 km x 51.6 deg orbit. The 9700 kg spacecraft carried 1823 kg of internal cargo and the 494 kg CATS lidar experiment from NASA-GSFC in the trunk. Inside Dragon were two PlanetLabs Flock-1d' cubesats and the AESP-14 1U cubesat from Brazil's space agency AEB and the ITA technical institute. On January 12 Dragon was grappled by the SSRMS arm at 10:54 GMT and berthed on the Harmony module at 13:54 GMT. The cubesats were transferred internally to the Kibo module and were to be deployed from the Kibo airlock. CATS was grappled by the Dextre robot on 2015 Jan 22 and unberthed from Dragon around 07:00 GMT; it was then handed off to the JEM-RMS at around 10:30 and installed on the Kibo Exposed Facility at location EFU3 at about 14:00. The Falcon 9 first stage performed a flyback attempt to land around 360 km downrange at 78 deg W / 31 deg N. The stage made a 'hard' landing on the ASDS (Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship). The first stage was destroyed when hydraulic fluid depletion made it tip over ahd hit the deck sideways, but the incident did not cause serious damage to the ship. The ASDS has now been renamed "Just Read The Instructions" after the name of an AI spaceship in the book 'The Player of Games' by the late science fiction writer Iain M. Banks.
Dragon CRS-5 was unberthed from the ISS Harmony module on February 10 by the SSRMS arm, which released it at 19:10 GMT. The Dragon made its deorbit burn at 23:49 GMT, with trunk separation at 00:05 GMT February 11 and splashdown at about 00:44 GMT. Six of the PlanetLabs Flock-1b cubesats (Nos. 3, 4, 13, 14, 19, 20) were returned to Earth aboard CRS-5 without having been deployed, after 212 days in space.
The Deep Space Climate Observatory, DSCOVR, was launched after many years of gestation. Originally a NASA mission called Triana and centered around its Earth observation camera, it had at one point been scheduled for launch on the fatal STS-107 flight of Columbia, but was cancelled amid political controversy (it grew out of an idea by Vice-President Gore for whole-Earth imaging to raise eco-awareness) and placed in storage. The mission was reactivated as part of a NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) effort to monitor 'space weather', the flux of particles and radiation in the solar wind and its interaction with the Earth's outer atmosphere. DSCOVR 145 kg of hydrazine propellant, and was stationed at the Earth-Sun L1 point, 1.5 million km noonward from Earth. It carried a Faraday cup instrument to measure solar wind speed, an electron spectrometer and a magnetometer to measure local plasma and fields, a broad band (0.2 to 100 microns) radiometer to measure the Earth's total energy output, and the Earth Polychomatic Imaging Camera to return images of the full Earth disk. DSCOVR was launched into a 184 km x 186 km x 37 deg parking orbit; 30 minutes after launch the Falcon 9 second stage restarted to boost DSCOVR into a 187 km x 1,371,156 km x 37 deg transfer orbit. When the probe reached the L1 point it entered a Lissajous orbit, tracing out a complex pattern around the gravitationally stable balance point. Radius of this pattern was initially around 250,000 km.
Dual communications satellite payload placed initially in a supersynchronous transfer orbit. Falcon 9 reached a 174 km x 953 km parking orbit 9 minutes after launch, and then made a second burn over the equator to a 391 km x 63452 km x 24.8 deg orbit. The two payloads were 2000 kg Boeing BSS-702SP models with XIPS-25 ion thrusters as their main propulsion system. ABS-3A, for Asia Broadcast Satellite of Hong Kong, was launched directly attached to the lower satellite, Eutelsat 115 West B, until it separated from the stack following stage 2 second cutoff.
ISS resupply mission. Delivered into a 206 x 357 km orbit. Attempted recovery of the Falcon 9's first stage failed. It was flown down to the barge 'Just Read The Instructions' in the Atlantic but a stuck valve caused control problems in the final burn and the stage crash-landed. The Dragon itself arrived at ISS on April 17. The SSRMS arm grappled CRS-6 at 10:55 GMT and berthed it on the Harmony module at 13:29 GMT. After unloading and packing with materials to be returned to earth, the cargo ship was unberthed again around 09:29 GMT May 21, released at 11:04 GMT, and splashed down in the Pacific at 16:42 GMT.
CRS-6 carried 16 cubesats: 14 3U-size Flock-1e for Planet Labs, one Arkyd-3R for Planetary Resources (also a 3U) and a 1U cubesat, Centennial-1, for Booz Allen Hamilton carrying an Air Force Research Lab imaging experiment. The cubesats were transferred to the Kibo module after Dragon docking and later ejected into orbit via the NanoRacks deployers and the Kibo robot arm. CRS-6 also carried a number of mice aboard the Rodent Research 2 package, and a 20 kg microgravity-qualified Lavazza espresso machine.
Communications satellite owned by the Turkmenistan National Space Agency and the Turkmen Ministry of Communications, which operated 26 Ku-band transponders. The GEO orbital slot was assigned to Monaco and its GEO telecom operator Space Systems International; Monaco had a further 12 Ku-band transponders on the satellite for the MonacoSat portion of the payload, operated by the SES company on its behalf. Stationed in geosynchronous orbit at 52.0 deg east.
Falcon 9 F9-019 was the last version 1.1 core. It took off soutbound from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg AFB at 1842 UTC, entered a 175 x 1321 km x 66 deg transfer orbit at 1851 UTC, and circularized the orbit at apogee with spacecraft separation at 1938 UTC. The second stage was then deorbited with a burn at around 1945 UTC lowering perigee into the atmosphere, leading to a reentry around 2030 UTC over the northeastern Pacific. Meanwhile the first stage completed a boostback burn and flew down to the center of the target on the ASDS ship "Just Read The Instructions" in the Pacific at about 1852 UTC. However, on landing one of the deployed legs failed to lock in place and the vehicle toppled and was destroyed. Jason-3 was the fourth in a series of French/US satellites carrying the Poseidon altimeter to measure sea surface height across the world, an important parameter in climate change studies. The satellites also carry microwave radiometers. The first Poseidon satellite was the TOPEX/Poseidon research experiment which operated from 1992 to 2006. This was followed on by the progressively more operational Jason series; Jason-1 in 2001-2013, and the still operational Jason-2 launched in 2008. The 550 kg satellite was built by Thales Alenia (Cannes) using the Proteus bus and owned by the French space agency CNES. Lead agencies for the overall Jason-3 program are the US weather agency NOAA and the European weather satellite group EUMETSAT, taking over from CNES and JPL who led the earlier missions.