SpaceX has an enormous launch on faucet for this night, delivering a beneficial satellite tv for pc into orbit for the US Space Force. With a liftoff time of 9:43pm ET (01:43 UTC Saturday), the corporate’s Falcon 9 rocket is due to ship a fourth GPS III satellite tv for pc into geostationary switch orbit. Weather circumstances look good, with a 70 p.c likelihood of “go” circumstances.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the GPS III satellites have been designed to modernize the present Global Positioning System constellation, offering 3 times better accuracy and improved anti-jamming capabilities. This mission will launch on a brand new Falcon 9 first stage, however SpaceX and the Space Force have reached an settlement that may enable future GPS missions to launch on flight-confirmed rockets.
While the payload is essential, maybe extra intriguing this night in Florida will probably be whether or not this mission truly will get off the launch pad. The final week has seen a succession of US launch attempts canceled for points primarily associated to floor methods.
Here’s a rundown of all the delayed launches within the final week from launch pads in Florida, Texas, and Virginia:
Table of Contents
New Shepard, experimental flight
September twenty fifth: As the suborbital New Shepard launch system was counting down towards liftoff, the launch was known as off due an unspecified “technical issue.”
New launch date: At the time, Blue Origin mentioned a brand new launch goal can be “forthcoming,” however no new date has been set.
Delta IV Heavy, NROL-44 mission
September twenty sixth: A day earlier than liftoff, the categorised mission is delayed due to an issue with the launch pad’s swing arm retraction system.
September twenty ninth: Lightning within the space, and a hydraulic leak within the Mobile Service scrubbed the launch hours earlier than liftoff.
September thirtieth: Scrubbed at T-7 seconds due to “an unexpected condition” prior to the engine begin sequence.
New launch date: United Launch Alliance has not set a brand new date for what would be the fifth launch try of this mission.
Falcon 9, Starlink-12 mission
October 1: At T-18 seconds, an “unexpected ground sensor reading” triggered an automated abort.
New launch date: The unconfirmed launch goal is 8:34am ET (12:34 UTC) on Saturday.
Antares 230, NASA provide mission
October 1: At T-2 minutes 40 seconds, launch scrubbed due to floor software program problem.
New launch date: Northrup Grumman says it can try to launch once more at 9:16pm ET Friday (01:16 UTC Saturday).
Back-to-back launches forward
As a results of these six scrubs in per week, it’s a bit exceptional to suppose that the final rocket to truly raise off from US soil got here again on September 12. Can you guess which one? It was truly Astra’s Rocket 3.1, flying briefly from a spaceport in Kodiak Alaska. The final rocket to achieve delivering a payload to orbit was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, with the Starlink-11 mission on September 3.
Depending on how their countdowns proceed on Friday night, it is attainable that Northrop’s Antares rocket may launch from Wallops Island, Virginia, and the Falcon 9 rocket may take off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station lower than half an hour later.
Additionally, ought to SpaceX efficiently launch the GPS III satellite tv for pc on Friday night, there may be the potential to launch its Starlink-12 mission from a separate Florida pad—Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center—lower than 12 hours later. This would shatter the corporate’s present report of just below 48 hours between a December 3, 2018 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and a December 5 launch from Cape Canaveral.
Listing picture by SpaceX