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The Mission

Rocket: Falcon 1
Mission: Flight 003
Payloads: Trailblazer, PRESat, NanoSail-D
Date: August 2, 2008
Launch Window: 7:00 p.m. to 12 midnight EDT (2300-0400 GMT)
Site: Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll

Mission Status Center

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Falcon 1 timeline
Posted: August 2, 2008

T-0 - Liftoff

The Merlin main engine, producing 78,000 pounds of sea level thrust, powers the Falcon 1 rocket away from its launch pad on Omelek Island at Kwajalein Atoll.

T+00:04 - Tower Clear

The 70-foot-tall Falcon 1 rocket clears the launch tower.

T+00:54 - Mach 1

The Falcon 1 rocket passes the speed of sound.

T+01:09 - Max-Q

The Falcon 1 rocket passes through the period of maximum aerodynamic pressure on the vehicle. This point in the flight is often called Max-Q.

T+02:20 - Inertial Guidance

The Falcon 1 guidance system switches to inertial mode.

T+02:25 - Second Stage Pressurization

The second stage's kerosene and liquid oxygen tanks are pressurized in preparation for the ignition of the Kestrel engine.

T+02:38 - MECO

The Merlin engine exhausts its supply of propellant and shuts down.

T+02:39 - Stage Separation

The first and second stage separate.

T+02:43 - Kestrel Ignition

The second stage Kestrel engine ignites and ramps up to 6,900 pounds of thrust.

T+02:48 - Falcon 1 Reaches Space

The Falcon 1 passes an altitude of 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, the internationally-accepted boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space.

T+02:53 - Stiffener Jettison

Structural stiffeners attached to the Kestrel engine nozzle are jettisoned a few seconds after ignition.

T+03:13 - Fairing Jettison

The two halves of the Falcon 1's payload fairing are jettisoned after the rocket completes its flight through the thick layers of the atmosphere. The fairing shields the payloads during the countdown and early portions of the launch.

T+08:47 - Terminal Guidance

As the rocket nears orbital velocity, the Falcon 1 switches to terminal guidance mode.

T+09:37 - SECO

The Kestrel engine shuts down after the rocket reaches orbit.

T+09:47 - Trailblazer Separation

The Trailblazer satellite separates from the ATSB payload adapter to begin its mission for the Department of Defense.

T+10:17 - Loss of Signal

Ground stations lose the radio signal from the Falcon 1 rocket as the vehicle slips below the horizon at Kwajalein Atoll.

T+13:57 - PRESat Separation

NASA's PRESat payload is ejected from the P-POD canister.

T+18:07 - NanoSail-D Separation

NASA's NanoSail-D payload is ejected from the P-POD canister.