December 15, 2017

Mission events timeline for Falcon 9’s launch for ABS and Eutelsat

Follow the key events of the Falcon 9 rocket’s ascent into space from Cape Canaveral with the ABS 2A and Eutelsat 117 West B communications satellites.

Launch is set for 10:29 a.m. EDT (1429 GMT) on June 15 from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. The satellites will be deployed in a supersynchronous transfer orbit, but SpaceX and the customers have not disclosed the exact target orbit parameters.

The payloads aboard the 26th Falcon 9 launch were manufactured by Boeing in El Segundo, California, and will steer into their operational geostationary orbits with plasma thrusters, and not a conventional liquid-fueled rocket engine.

The timeline below outlines the launch sequence for the Falcon 9 flight with ABS 2A and Eutelsat 117 West B. It does not include times for the descent and landing attempt of the first stage booster, a secondary objective.

SpaceX’s landing platform is positioned about 420 miles (680 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral for the first stage landing attempt, which is expected around 9 minutes after liftoff. Exact times for the recovery maneuvers were not released by SpaceX.

Data source: SpaceX

T-0:00:00: Liftoff

After the rocket's nine Merlin engines pass an automated health check, four hold-down clamps will release the Falcon 9 booster for liftoff from Complex 40.
After the rocket’s nine Merlin engines pass an automated health check, four hold-down clamps will release the Falcon 9 booster for liftoff from Complex 40.

T+0:01:13: Mach 1

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Mach 1, the speed of sound.
The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Mach 1, the speed of sound.

T+0:01:17: Max Q

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.
The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.

T+0:02:36: MECO

The Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1D engines cut off.
The Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines shut down.

T+0:02:39: Stage 1 Separation

The Falcon 9's first stage separates from the second stage three seconds after MECO. The spent stage will descend back to Earth for an attempted landing on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Falcon 9’s first stage separates from the second stage three seconds after MECO. The spent stage will descend back to Earth for an attempted landing on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean.

T+0:02:47: Stage 2 Ignition

The second stage Merlin 1D vacuum engine ignites for an approximately 6-minute burn.
The second stage Merlin 1D vacuum engine ignites for a 6-minute, 35-second burn to put the rocket and the ABS 2A and Eutelsat 117 West B satellites into a preliminary parking orbit.

T+0:03:34: Fairing Jettison

The 5.2-meter (17.1-foot) diameter payload fairing jettisons once the Falcon 9 rocket ascends through the dense lower atmosphere. The 43-foot-tall fairing is made of two clamshell-like halves composed of carbon fiber with an aluminum honeycomb core.

T+0:09:22: SECO 1

The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after reaching a preliminary low-altitude orbit. The upper stage and Thaicom 8 begin a coast phase scheduled to last more than 18 minutes before the second stage Merlin vacuum engine reignites.
The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after reaching a preliminary low-altitude orbit. The upper stage and Thaicom 8 begin a coast phase scheduled to last more than 18 minutes before the second stage Merlin vacuum engine reignites.

T+0:25:54: Second Ignition of Second Stage

The Falcon 9’s second stage Merlin engine restarts to propel the Thaicom 8 communications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The Falcon 9’s second stage Merlin engine restarts to propel the ABS 2A and Eutelsat 117 West B communications satellites into a supersynchronous transfer orbit.

T+0:26:58: SECO 2

The Merlin engine shuts down after a short burn to put the Thaicom satellite in the proper orbit for deployment.
The Merlin engine shuts down after a short burn to put the ABS 2A and Eutelsat 117 West B satellites in the proper orbit for deployment.

T+0:30:29: Eutelsat 117 West B Separation

The ABS 3A spacecraft, with a launch mass of approximately 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds), deploys from the dual-payload stack on the Falcon 9 rocket.
The Eutelsat 117 West B spacecraft, with a launch mass of approximately 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds), deploys from the upper position of the dual-payload stack on the Falcon 9 rocket.

T+0:35:29: ABS 2A Separation

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The ABS 2A satellite, with a launch mass of about 2,200 kilograms (4,850 pounds), deploys from the lower position of the dual-payload stack on the Falcon 9 rocket.

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