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I was watching a falcon 9 launch.

After SECO, stable orbit was achieved and the primary payload was deployed. The 2nd stage coasted for an hour (no burns in between) and then deployed rideshare payloads.

What is the purpose of this delay?
Does it increase separation?

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There are a number of reasons why this might be the case. There are two main things that a rocket has to do. The first is to get them to the right orbit, and the second is to make sure the payloads get deployed safely. The reasons why such a long wait might include:

  1. The satellite needed to be deployed over a specific area to ensure it received sunlight when it was deployed.
  2. The primary payload might have wanted to make sure it could deploy its antennas and solar panels and even execute a small burn to get it further from the rocket before secondary deployment.
  3. They might want the deployment to happen at a location where the rocket is in communication with the ground.

And there are likely others. The bottom line, if the deployment happens after a long coast, it must be for the benefit of the spacecraft to do so.

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