Successful SpaceX Launch Friday as First USSF Weather System Arrives at Vandenberg

SpaceX launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on February 9, 2024 (SpaceX photo)

After several weather delays, SpaceX conducted a successful Falcon 9 launch on Friday.

At 4:34 p.m., 22 Starlink satellites were sent to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

This was the 14th flight for the first stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched NROL-87, NROL-85, SARah-1, SWOT, Transporter-8, Transporter-9, and now eight Starlink missions.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on February 9, 2024 (courtesy)

Additionally, this week the U.S. Space System Command announced the successful delivery of the first U.S. Space Force (USSF)-62 Weather System Follow-on – Microwave (WSF-M) Space Vehicle (SV). The vehicle arrived from Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado to Vandenberg where it will be processed at the Space Vehicle processing facility.

The satellite will undergo a series of post-shipment functional testing, followed by the loading of onboard propellant. After accomplishing these vital testing procedures, the WSF-M satellite will enter the encapsulation phase, after which the payload will be horizontally integrated with the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle before its voyage to space projected for late March, according to the Space System Command.

“This delivery represents a major milestone for the WSF-M program and is a critical step towards putting the first WSF-M satellite on-orbit for the warfighter,” said Col. Daniel Visosky, senior materiel leader, SSC’s Space Sensing Environmental and Tactical Surveillance program office. “It represents a long-term collaboration and unity-of-effort between the Space Force and our combined teams at Ball Aerospace, support contractors and government personnel.”

Under the leadership of SSC Space Sensing’s Environmental and Tactical Surveillance program office, the WSF-M satellite is the first of two satellites that Ball Aerospace will deliver. This innovative spacecraft represents a new era in the U.S. Space Force’s next generation of modernized, space-based environmental monitoring (SBEM) systems that will augment capabilities provided by the legacy Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). WSF-M will enable the production of enhanced weather prediction and analysis capabilities for joint warfighters conducting mission planning and operations globally.

“The WSF-M satellite is a strategic solution tailored to address three high-priority Department of Defense SBEM gaps – specifically, ocean surface vector winds, tropical cyclone intensity, and energetic charged particles in low Earth orbit,” said David Betz, WSF-M program manager, SSC Space Sensing. “Beyond these primary capabilities, our instruments also provide vital data on sea ice characterization, soil moisture, and snow depth.”

Space Systems Command is the U.S. Space Force’s field command responsible for acquiring, developing, and delivering resilient capabilities and groundbreaking technologies to protect the nation’s strategic advantage in and from space.

SSC manages an $15 billion space acquisition budget for the Department of Defense and works in partnership with joint forces, industry, government agencies, academic and allied organizations to accelerate innovation and outpace emerging threats.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. Things are looking good for today’s launch (2-14-2024 @ 4:30 PM {PST}) per SpaceFlightNow:
    February 14/15 Falcon 9 • Starlink 7-14
    Launch time: 4:30 p.m. PST (7:30 p.m. EST, 0030 UTC)
    Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Space Force Base, California

    …weather permitting? (looks good so far, says the breeze {8mph} will be tapering down to around 6mph) @ about 56 °F
    So, will the clouds make it louder?

    • Ripped this off another site (wonder which one?) 😡 :
      “A liftoff close to sunset could provide a picturesque view for spectators because of a twilight phenomenon where unspent fuel particles freeze and expand in the upper atmosphere, reflecting sunlight to create a colorful display often mistaken for a failed mission.

      The most spectacular twilight phenomenon displays occur closer to sunset or sunrise. Of course, it requires Mother Nature to provide clear skies and sometimes proves magnificent from farther away, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Arizona and Nevada.

      If the mission doesn’t get off the ground Wednesday, the team has backup opportunities starting at 1:34 p.m. Thursday, according to SpaceX.

      It will be the second flight for the first-stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched another batch of Starlink spacecraft. ”

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