Dec. 19 launch for SpaceX Falcon 9 unlikely
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX did not conduct a static test fire of the Hawthorne, California-based aerospace firm’s Falcon 9 v1.2 rocket today (Wednesday, Dec. 16). This means the oft-stated Saturday, Dec. 19, launch attempt – the first for the v1.2 version of the F9, and the return-to-flight mission for the rocket – will likely take place on a later date.
SpaceFlight Insider reached out to SpaceX for additional information regarding this test. As of this writing, we have not received a reply.
Once the static test fire is conducted, SpaceX normally conducts a launch two to three days later.
This upcoming first flight of the v1.2 variant is being carried out to send 11 second-generation Orbcomm satellites to orbit. Orbcomm, the customer on this flight, changed places with global satellite operator SES.
It is likely that, if things go according to what SpaceX has planned, this mission will not be remembered as another “routine” satellite delivery run, but rather, the mission that changed how space flight is conducted.
SpaceX has been working to have the first stage of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters conduct controlled landings after they have completed the task of ferrying cargo to orbital destinations. The NewSpace firm has stated that it will attempt a ground landing on this mission at what was Space Launch Complex 13 (since renamed Landing Complex 1).
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.