After a few days of delay, SpaceX appears to have stabilized on Thursday, January 7th, for the first of several dozen Falcon 9 launches planned for 2021.
SpaceX’s Turksat 5A communications satellite was scheduled to launch as early as January 4, and TBD was “placed due to mission guarantee” January 1 – an unfortunate euphemism often used by launch providers rather than any real explanation for the delay. Regardless, Next space flight Reports indicate that the Turksat 5A will be the fourth launch of the Falcon 9 B1060, a milestone that reached the first (booster) stage only six months after its maiden flight.
Despite the slight delay, SpaceX’s current goal is Four launches this month Still within reach even though the slide is an uphill battle the company will face as it aims to hit CEO Elon Musk’s goal. 48 launch In 2021. The weather is currently 60% suitable for SpaceX’s first launch of this year and Turksat 5A is scheduled to launch no later than 8:28 PM EST on January 7 (01:28 UTC, Jan 8).
Good timing, too – the 45th said SpaceX’s next launch of Turksat “was subsequently scheduled due to a mission warranty.”
– EmreKelly January 1, 2021
New forecast (60% favorable) and risk area: pic.twitter.com/cEapdSd2DP
– EmreKelly January 5, 2021
Unfortunately, the first launch of SpaceX for the new year took place Unprecedented controversy Of the company, including the first-ever mass protests at its headquarters and factory in Hawthorne, California. The reason: TurkSat 5A, although partly dedicated to civil communications, will also support the Turkish military, which supported Azerbaijan after the country – without provocation – reignited a long-running conflict in the Nagorno Karabakh region in September 2020.
As a result of events that have occurred over the past several centuries, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and Turkish intervention are extraordinarily complex and chaotic. In the 1920s and 1920s, Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire) committed infamous atrocities against the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek communities within its occupied territories in a process of “Turkification”, killing 1-3 million people systematically in what was to be called in the end Genocide . In a separate but related conflict, Turkey ultimately chose to support Azerbaijan’s claim to ethnic Armenian lands (75–90%), and to support the state against Armenia in the First Nagorno-Karabakh War of the 1990s.
Azerbaijan re-ignited the conflict in 2020, killing at least 6,000 fighters and civilians on both sides, and ultimately securing a large portion of Nagorno-Karabakh territory as part of the November 2020 ceasefire agreement. To some extent, the Nagorno borders have returned. Karabakh is now somewhat of what it was before the first war in the 1990s. While the avoidable loss of life is regrettable in nature, it is extremely difficult to determine whether Azerbaijan is justified, but Turkey’s history of systematic and discriminatory hostility towards Armenians leaves little benefit from the doubt worth giving.
Ultimately, this cloud of ambiguity makes it difficult for SpaceX to directly fault it for choosing to launch Turksat 5A or its contracts to launch Turksat 5B and future locally manufactured satellites. Plus, if SpaceX Should After being criticized for willingly launching the satellite, Airbus – which Turkey contracted to build Turksat 5A – deserves the criticism at least but was never included in the protest speech despite the Turkish production contract was publicly announced in 2017.
In the history of spaceflight, never a fully-fledged satellite has been heard and never launched, as it is clear that the bureaucratic and financial stalemate behind the launch campaign just months away from its scheduled launch is monumental. Even if SpaceX accepts heavy financial penalties and withdraws its contract, Arianespace, Roscosmos or ULA will certainly accept any alternative contract.
For protesters still bent on making an impact, the smart move would be to redirect attention to future Turkish satellite projects like Turksat 5B, 6A and beyond with the intention of killing contracts in the bud – a more viable goal.
Stay tuned for more launch details as SpaceX approaches its first mission in 2021.