Flight-proven Falcon 9 with SES-10 scheduled for NET March 29
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s first launch using a recovered Falcon 9 first stage will now take place no earlier than March 29, 2017. The two-day postponement of the SES-10 mission was due to range availability.
United Launch Alliance announced March 20 that it was delaying its Atlas V mission to send the S.S. John Glenn Cygnus cargo ship to the International Space Station by three days to March 27. As such, according to Florida Today, SpaceX is now targeting two days later.
SES-10 is an 11,700-pound (5,300-kilogram) communications satellite that will broadcast video and television to Central and South America. It was delivered to Cape Canaveral from Toulouse, France, back in January after being built and tested by Airbus Defence and Space. Since then, it has undergone final launch preparations including being fueled with hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide on March 16.
According to Spaceflight Now, the spacecraft was expected to be encapsulated inside the Falcon 9’s 43-foot (13.1-meter) tall, 17-foot (5.2-meter) wide fairing between March 18 and 19.
For the recovered booster, it has also gone through final pre-flight testing since its delivery from SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas. Since landing on the Of Course I Still Love You – SpaceX’s autonomous drone ship – after the CRS-8 mission on April 8, 2016, it has been cleaned, refurbished, and test fired.
For March 29, SpaceX has a 2.5-hour window, opening at 4:59 p.m. EDT (20:59 GMT), to launch SES-10 from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. If all goes well, the flight-proven booster will make its second landing on the Of Course I Still Love You downrange in the Atlantic Ocean.
If the Atlas V and Falcon 9 launch on their current schedules, it will mark four fights out of the Space Coast in two weeks.
Derek Richardson is a student studying mass media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is currently the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also writes a blog, called Orbital Velocity, about the space station. His passion for space ignited when he watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on Oct. 29, 1998. He saw his first in-person launch on July 8, 2011 when the space shuttle launched for the final time. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.