Spaceflight Insider

SpaceX launch of Falcon 9 with Eutelsat 115 slips to NET March 1

658-spacex_falcon_9_dscovr-jared_haworth - Copy

Photo Credit: Jared Haworth / SpaceFlight Insider

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — California-based Space Exploration Technologies, more commonly known as “SpaceX”, has opted to push back the launch date for the flight of the Eutelsat 115 (Satmex 7) and ABS 3A satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40). The mission, originally scheduled to take place on February 28, is now slated to occur no-earlier-than  March 1 at 10:49 p.m.EST (0349 GMT). SpaceX will have a 45 minute window in which to get the rocket and its precious cargo off the pad – and into the sky.

Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 Eutelsat 115 ABS SpaceX photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

The payload fairing for the Eutelsat 115 / ABS 3A mission. Photo Credit: SpaceX

The payload for this mission, the ABS 3A and Eutelsat 115 spacecraft are communications satellites and were constructed by aerospace giant Boeing’s Satellite Systems and are designed to provide services throughout the Americas. ABS 3A will support VSAT services, TV distribution, IP, cellular and maritime services.

This version of the company’s Falcon 9 v1.1 boosters — with its extended fuel tanks and nine Merlin 1D engines — arranged in the “Octaweb” configuration, has been in service since 2013, and has greatly increased SpaceX’s capabilities.

SpaceX has a pretty busy launch manifest for 2015, with 15 additional missions scheduled to take place throughout the course of this year. Past experience suggests that this schedule is unlikely to take place. Since the Falcon 9 first took to the skies in 2010, it has only been launched a total of 15 times.

As noted, 2015 could be a banner year for SpaceX, with the company planning on resuming launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 4E in California. SpaceX also has two abort tests for the firm’s Dragon spacecraft and the first flight of the Heavy version of the Falcon booster.

SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 NOAA NASA DSCOVR launch Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 SLC-40 photo credit Jared Haworth SpaceFlight Insider

Photo Credit: Jared Haworth / SpaceFlight Insider



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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,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

Why arn’t spacex launches not posted on nasa’s launch shedule

Because ones like this are strictly private. The same reason why ESA launches from Guiana aren’t on NASA’s launch schedule. They have nothing to do with NASA.

SpaceX launches are listed on the NASA list whenever they launch a NASA satellite. Since it is a private company which also launches private communications satellites, NASA doesn’t list those launches, since the government isn’t supposed to give private businesses free advertising.

Thanks for the reply ! There are no listing of supply launches to the ISS on nasa launch schedule either

The article has one serious mis-statement. While the Falcon has only been launched 15 times with commercial payloads, with 100% success, because the Falcon is designed to be recoverable, several prototypes were launched over and over. There seems to be considerable anti-SpaceX and pro-ULA bias in Spaceflight Insider. But the bottom line is that ULA has no demonstrated ability to launch multiple satellites into different orbits with a single launch, especially to geosynchronous orbit. SpaceX is 30-40 years ahead of ULA.

I’m also sick of the ‘Orion’ crapola. It’s news only for a day, not continually slyly forced upon us in every News item afterwards. They are also big on Antares, not mentioning the Russian made engines, or discounting it so that it ‘Really doesn’t matter’, like hillary would say !

You haven’t been paying attention. ULA (or was it Boeing at the time) even launched part of the original Iridium constellation on a Delta II. That was certainly multiple sats to different orbits. They launch payloads where their customer wants them.

And I’ll believe the Falcon 9 is recoverable when 1 finally is recovered.

Actually, the Delta II Iridium launches were one satellite one launch. Even then the satellites were launched into 6 orbital planes. ULA does not have the capability, even with the VLEO Iridium satellites to launch multiple satellites into different orbits. The Falcon could launch 3 at a time (limited by the fairing size) into different orbital planes because the upper stage is operationally restartable whereas the Delta upper stage is technically restartable.

SpaceX has been practicing Falcon landings for a couple of years. You can see a lot of the milestone landings on their web site. They have reused one rocket as many as six times. The Falcon is designed to return to land, not a barge. Landing on a concrete pad is a great deal easier than landing on a barge. It is a lot closer to success than you seem to think. SpaceX is 30-40 years ahead of ULA.

Atlas, Delta and Falcon all have operationally restartable upper stages so not sure where you’re going with this? Most spaceflight missions have multiple burns to deploy payloads, and there have been several missions where payloads have been deployed to different orbits, most recently with Delta II SMAP, where there was a third burn to deploy cubesats after delivery of SMAP. Falcon 9 has launched 6 primary payloads (more than any Atlas or Delta) at once with Orbcomm OG2, but those all went to the same orbit. SpaceX certainly has a leg up in the industry with reusability and price point, and with upcoming certification by the Air Force they will make huge waves in the launch industry (already have), but don’t make stuff up about capability that hasn’t been demonstrated or is equal to competitors.

Full disclosure: I’m a ULA employee, but everything I post is either my own opinion or information readily available online. Willing to provide links if requested.

The only “mis-statement” – is your own. The Falcon 9 has only launched 15 times. We take accusations of bias very seriously. Especially ones devoid of truth. Think we have an anti-SpaceX bias? Please review these posts and try repeating that statement:

I found these after a cursory review. The only reason I can think of as to why you were unable to do so – is that it dismantles the narrative you’re trying to make.

It appears that unless a review gushes praise for SpaceX it has a “bias.” Essentially, you’re asking us to make factually-devoid statements and only post talking points that cast the company in a positive light. When SpaceX does good – we report it. When ULA does bad – we report that too. The real issue here is we’re not biased in favor of one company or another. Doing so? Isn’t journalism – that’s PR. I’ve personally covered almost every Falcon 9 launch and think you’re confusing Falcon 1 flights – with the Falcon 9. Anyone with Google can review just how many times the F9 has launched and I’m uncertain what prevented you from doing so.

Jason Rhian – Editor, SpaceFlight Insider


Feb 24 hey Jason. Thank you for such a generous, compassionate and thoughtful response. Keep up the good work. Your comments are as smart as a rocket scientist.

Actually Jason, I would think that one whose training was in law enforcement would be much more concerned with illegal activities and a little less likely to take the part of law breakers. For example, I see no coverage of Congressional hearings into cost overruns by Lockheed/Boeing/Grumman/ULA or of the CBO reports of routine bid-rigging. A great deal of the bias rests with simply ignoring the bid-rigging scandals and the truly massive “engineered” cost overruns, late deliveries, and the truly massive transfers of technology to China and Russia.

It was this very sort of thing that brought us the disastrous space shuttle, the worthless ISS, and cost this country 40 years in manned space exploration.

Given you ignored all of the positive press we’ve paid SpaceX as well as the positive statements about the company within this article and focused on the one inconvenient fact that counters your views? Speaks volumes. You attacked this site for an imagined biased, when it was proven your allegations were false you questioned my ethics. This sort of behavior destroys open conversations & violates our commenting policy.

Your comment to Mike, where you state: “I can’t hold your hand for this sort of simplistic search.” – is comical considering you failed to conduct either a simplistic search of past SpaceX articles on this site which prove a lack of bias or conduct a Google search yourself as to how many actual F9 launches have taken place.

Our team are almost entirely volunteers, we cover as much as we can, but we can’t cover everything. Moreover, our format trends toward more general articles, this is due to the fact we don’t have a large staff or budget.

Suggesting we’re somehow responsible for future disasters is reprehensible. How someone could assail another’s ethics while making such a statement is beyond me. The only person who has shown a bias here is you and you appear willing to stoop to any level to attack those who contradict you. You’ve conveniently gerrymandered information, posted information of questionable veracity and tried to silence any view differing from your own.

As a former law enforcement officer, I hold the law and ethics in high regard. Hypocritical attacks that serve only to smear those who disagree with you? Suggests commenting on ethical matters is outside of your purview. Moreover, the simple fact you suggest I’m “siding with lawbreakers” – because we don’t just post glowing praise for SpaceX or assail ULA or whatever deformed notion you have as to what we should be doing – says more about you than us.

The cause of the Challenger disaster can be linked to a management structure which had grown arrogant, who thought spaceflight had become “routine.” The only company who has used that phrase recently – is SpaceX. I’d argue the cultish behavior of some fans who behave as you have, who want one company or another to have a “blank check,” and who will assail anyone who questions them are far more likely to cause a disaster than those trying to ensure accountability is maintained.

I, like another commentor, couldn’t care less who is doing the launching so long as it furthers the cause of space exploration. Consider this, the more launches that take place – the more business for a space news media outlet to report on. Your suggestion we wouldn’t want that to happen – makes no sense. The one bias I have, is against those who feel it’s acceptable to lie or make libelous statements to further an agenda.

SpaceFlight Insider has a strict commenting policy, one requiring those posting comments to not conduct personal attacks. You’ve spent the better part of two days violating this tenant all the while failing to address flaws in your argument and posting ad hominem comments. Your commenting privileges have been suspended. If you want them reactivated – you must agree to apologize to those you’ve made false claims about and attacked.

This isn’t about New or OldSpace. There are several pro-NewSpace supporters who post comments here regularly. There are also more than a handful of OldSpace supporters who won’t be allowed to post comments again. I know some will try to suggest SFI stifles dissent. In fact, SFI enjoys dissent – it’s disrespect that we work to stifle. It’s not about “what” you’re saying – it’s about the manner in which you say it.

Hang in there Jason, I know you are passionate about space and this site and these “old space and new space” aggressive comments can make it hard to not be annoyed. You guys are doing good work and I hope you guys keep it up.

George Worthington

I drove to Florida to watch Spacex’s last flight. I never watched a launch before. My reason for going now was because I believe that when Spacex recovers their first booster, it is the beginning of a new age, the affordable reusable rocket age. To me to witness this, compares to watching the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.
After The launch I drove to Jacksonville to checkout the possibilities to see recovered booster on the barge when it came into port. I found that from the bridge on Hickscher Dr. You can safely get at good view of the dock where they will remove the rocket, place it on stand before loading it on a truck. I took pictures with my cell, some through my binoculars. Please check out my twitter account @dtarsgeorge to see my pictures and aerial Maps. At the east north end of the bridge is a public area where people fish were you can park.

I don’t understand why everyone roots launch providers like they would a sports franchise. I just want to see success in space exploration…no matter who does it. Now I’ll admit to a little patriotic bias in that I enjoy seeing US companies making strides towards returning to a US based manned launch capability, but this inter-company bickering I just don’t understand. I want them all to thrive and have nothing but spactacular success. That’s what moves us forward.

There are really two causes of the “inter-company bickering”:

1) The United Launch Alliance has perfected the art of hiring Pentagon and NASA procurement officers into cushy post-retirement jobs in return for rigged no-bid contracts that are set up in such a was as to guarantee massive cost overruns and late deliveries. Read up on the F-35 to see how the American taxpayer was fleeced out of a half trillion dollars this way. ULA will not be able to compete on a level playing field.
2) SpaceX is 30-40 years ahead of ULA which is using primarily 1960’s technology from NASA and 1970’s technology from Russia and China. Especially in the area of reusability of launch vehicles, ULA cannot remain competitive. The ESA is already considering getting pout of the space launch business for this reason. This is why ULA is desperately attacking SpaceX and conducting smear campaigns within NASA and the Pentagon. They portray Musk as a “foreigner” and a “wildcat” who will “destroy the defense industry.”

The actual bickering is pretty much one-sided. Musk just lets the courts decide.

Chris, Please site sources, especially for the allegations of cost overruns and late deliveries. Also making accusations of bribes and slander such as you “quoted” above makes you sound petty especially when you have nothing to back it up.

As far as bickering being one-sided:

All you have to do is google “Boeing Lockheed ULA cost overruns.” I can’t hold your hand for this sort of simplistic search. There are literally thousands of articles, Congressional testimony, whstleblower reports, CBO reports, SEC reports, et alia that document it very, very well. Pay particular to the testimony about the F-35 and how it was used by the three major launch providers to systematically loot the US taxpayer via criminal activity.

I would also suggest using google scholar in addition to get some of the more technical reports, especially on why ULA is so far behind current technology.

The courts supported Musk’s Air Force accusation, so it is no longer an accusation. It is legally settled law — res judicata.


Hello Don B. Interesting topic you initiated. Chris C. has posted very thoughtful comments. I plan to keep his comments handy. As fo me I say a big Hooray for Hyperloop / Tesla motor cars / the batteries to be made at the GigaFactory in Reno NV / the Solar Panels to be made at SolarCity at RiverBend in Buffalo NY / PayPal / the SpaceX satalite office to make new satalites / the SpaceX Hawthorn headquarters that make Rocket engines and rocketships from rolls of raw materials that are brought to the facility / the Falcon rockets / the Merlin and Draco motors / the Dragon version 2 / the video clips of the factory / pad 39 at Kennedy / the pad at Vandenberg / the test pad in Texas / the Grasshopper videos / Gyeene who runs SpaceX and has booked $5 Billion in launches. SpaceX – Tesla Electric Cars – SolarCity solar Power – Tesla Home Batteries for Storage – the Tesla Rapoadster / S / X / 3 – and that guy who says Mars is a “fixer-upper” planet all make me a fan. I enjoy following my team cuz I can’t do that stuff myself so I am thrilled Elon Musk thinks up stuff to do and gets it done. Stay tuned. JOHN LONGENECKER, DGA – Academy Award Winner

Jason–“The cause of the Challenger disaster can be linked to a management structure which had grown arrogant, who thought spaceflight had become “routine.””

I relate the Challenger disaster to politics. Morton-Thiokol built the shuttle solid fuel boosters in Utah which was a gift to the Utah politicians (can’t recall which). Since the boosters were built in Utah they could not be made in one piece but were made in sections requiring “O” rings to join the sections. It was a failure of one of these “O” rings that caused the flame to shoot out the side and started the failure cascade. I believe the sections were shipped by rail.

Had the boosters been built in Alabama or Texas and shipped by barge to the launch site they would have been one piece with no “O” rings to fail.


As I recall the story that made a lasting impression on me was that an engineer realized trouble lurked ahead because he thought that the O Rings might not withstand the freezing temperatures but he had no plan in place to call a supervisor so he could not stop the launch that was going to be disastrous. Mike, your Utah booster in sections shipped by train adds the enderlying system / political cause. Bill Nye says that the NASA budgets get approved because NASA work is done in many states each with their own Members of Congress and Senators. At SpaceX raw rocket and engine stuff arrives at SpaceX in Hawthorn CA and the rocket ship is all made right there and travels to It’s launch site.

SpaceX has employees across the country and around the globe, with headquarters in Hawthorne, CA; testing facilities in McGregor, TX; launch facilities at the Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral FL and Vandenberg CA and the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and offices in Huntsville, AL; Washington, DC.; Chantilly Virginia; SpaceX Seattle in WA, an autonomous reusable landing ship in the Atlantic off the Florida coast and pick up ships off the California coast. That is not enough Members of Congress and Senators involved to be very popular like NASA projects but there are no wasted political favor costs. Used Railway wheel assemblies for rocket launch transport are found and bought off eBay. The folks who buy stuff are personally told by Elon Musk to buy stuff as if the money was coming right out of their own pocket. No splurging with the company credit card. 2015-style technological innovation and thrift keep the SpaceX costs where they are. No one pays SpaceX until the Falcon 9 reliably completes each mission.

It’s sure is a good thing that no one working for the U.S. military-industrial complex; at United Launch Alliance; the Pentagon; in coal / oil / natural gas / tar sands corporations; with the big three automakers; the American car dealers; the electricity utility corporations; the bullet train companies in California: battery cell manufacturers and electricity storage businesses: solar power system installers; BMW / Mini Cooper executives or just about anyone else; no one is after Elon Musk thank goodness.

Jason: I did not see any mention of whether this Falcon 9 launch included an attempt at recovery of the first stage. I am eager to see SpaceX reach this goal, so I am very curious about when they attempt it. Please post if you have any info.

Hi Bruce,
Thanks for pointing that out and apologies for not including it. The last word we had was that SpaceX would try again on Apr. 8 – during the CRS-6 mission.
Sincerely and with kind regards, Jason Rhian, Editor, SpaceFlight Insider


This launch was higher in the sky and used more fuel.
So, there was not enough fuel to come back and land on the barge.
SpaceX decid d to not attach the landing legs this time cuz of that.

The new landing pad in Florida is built for one rocket to land
On the Falcon Heavy there are three returnable rockets with 9 engines each / valuable.
What is the SpaceX plan for landin all three rockets?.



Hi John,
SpaceX has released the following information about the possibility of Falcon Heavy being reusable:

Sincerely and with kind regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, SpaceFlight Insider

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