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SpaceX is targeting a Falcon 9 launch of the PAZ satellite to lowEarth
orbit on Wednesday, February 21 from Space Launch
Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base,
The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 6:17 a.m.
PST, or 14:17 UTC.
The satellite will be deployed approximately
eleven minutes after launch.
An instantaneous backup launch opportunity is available on
Thursday, February 22 at 6:17 a.m. PST, or 14:17 UTC.
Falcon 9’s first stage for the PAZ mission previously supported
the FORMOSAT-5 mission from SLC-4E in August 2017.
will not attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage after launch.
Mission Timeline (all times approximate)
– 01:13:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
– 01:10:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway
– 00:35:00 LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway
– 00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
– 00:01:00 Flight computer commanded to begin final prelaunch checks
– 00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
– 00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
– 00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
– 00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff
LAUNCH AND SATELLITE DEPLOYMENT
00:01:17 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:29 1st stage engine shutdown/main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:33 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:40 2nd stage engine starts
00:02:56 Fairing deployment
00:08:58 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
00:10:58 PAZ satellite deployment
Hisdesat’s PAZ satellite is equipped with an advanced radar instrument designed for high flexibility, and
with the capability to operate in numerous modes allowing for the choice of several different image
configurations. It will be able to generate images with up to 25 cm resolution, day and night and
regardless of the meteorological conditions. Designed for a mission life of five and a half years, PAZ will
orbit Earth 15 times per day, covering an area of over 300,000 square kilometers from an altitude of 514
kilometers and a velocity of seven kilometers per second. On its slightly inclined quasi-polar orbit, PAZ
will cover the entire globe in 24 hours, serving both government and commercial needs.
PAZ also features a sophisticated Automatic Identification System (AIS), simultaneously combining for
the first time ship AIS signals and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery, increasing the monitoring
capacities of the maritime domain worldwide. It will also be equipped with a Radio Occultation and
Heavy Precipitation experiment (ROHP) from the Institute of Space Science del Consejo Superior de
Investigaciones Científicas (ICE-CSIC). For the first time ever, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)
Radio Occultation measurements will be taken at two polarizations, to exploit the potential capabilities
of polarimetric radio occultation for detecting and quantifying heavy precipitation events.
Once in space, PAZ will share the same orbit as the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X radar satellites. They will
be operated as a very high-resolution SAR satellite constellation. The addition of this third satellite will
reduce revisit time and increase acquisition capacity, leading to subsequent benefits for various
applications. All three satellites feature identical ground swaths and acquisition modes. The new setup
will be jointly utilized by Hisdesat and Airbus.