Orbcomm CEO: Waiting on SpaceX to confirm launch date
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — It appears that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket might once again take off through Florida’s hazy skies in about ten days’ time. A recent tweet by ORBCOMM’s CEO, Marc Eisenberg, on Dec. 9, 2015, stated that the spacecraft were set and ready to be launched on the first flight of a Falcon 9 since one of the rockets was lost earlier this year.
Eisenberg noted the following: “All satellites fully fueled and attached to the rings. Waiting on SpaceX to confirm launch date.”
An estimated launch date places the return-to-flight (RTF) of the Falcon 9 on Dec. 19, 2015 – with a roughly three-hour window opening at 8:25 p.m. EST (01:25 GMT).
The last flight of a Falcon 9, the ill-fated Commercial Resupply Services 7 (CRS-7) mission, lasted some two minutes and 19 seconds – before the rocket’s second stage exploded – resulting in the loss of the rocket, the Dragon spacecraft integrated to the top of the F9, and the 4,000 lbs (1,800 kg) of supplies and experiments bound for the International Space Station.
Of particular interest for the RTF Orbcomm mission is the post-launch possibility of a ground landing at Cape Canaveral’s Landing Complex 1.
As has been the case with 18 of the 19 launches of the Falcon 9, the launch of ORBCOMM OG2 will get its start from the Cape’s Space Launch Complex 40 located in Florida. The F9 will then attempt to land near the launch site after it has successfully completed its part in delivering the Orbcomm satellites to orbit.
The Orbcomm OG2 satellites are planned to replace the current first generation versions of these spacecraft currently on-orbit. Initially, the Orbcomm OG2 constellation was set for launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 1e booster. With that rocket now retired, the spacecraft will ride the far more powerful Falcon 9 v1.2 variant of the F9.
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.