SpaceX targeting early Tuesday Falcon 9 launch from KSC

SpaceX is targeting an early Tuesday morning launch of a commercial communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center.

A Falcon 9 rocket completed a test-firing of its nine main engines on Thursday evening at KSC's Launch Complex 39A.

If preparations stay on track, SpaceX will attempt a liftoff at 1:34 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, with the EchoStar 23 satellite bound for a geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles over the equator.

There's a 70 percent chance of favorable weather during a window extending until 4:04 a.m.

No attempt will be made to land the Falcon booster. With a heavy satellite launching to a high orbit, not enough fuel can be saved for a landing attempt at sea, as is sometimes possible with similar missions.If the launch does not happen Tuesday, the next potential attempt would be around the same time Thursday.

With SpaceX planning a launch attempt Tuesday, a Delta IV rocket launch of a military communications satellite appears likely to slip to the following week.

United Launch Alliance had been targeting a March 8 launch of the Delta IV from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station when an engine issue was discovered. The mission could have been ready to fly March 14, but the Eastern Range belongs to SpaceX that day.

As a result, the Delta IV is expected to hold until after ULA’s planned launch late on March 19 of an Atlas V rocket and an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft carrying International Space Station supplies.

Contact Dean at 321-242-3668 orjdean@floridatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter at@flatoday_jdean.

Florida Today


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