(FloridaToday.com) - Rocket launches from Cape Canaveral are set to resume Thursday, more than two weeks after an electrical short knocked out a critical Air Force tracking radar and put launches on hold.
The Air Force has reactivated another radar while repairs to the damaged one continue, the 45th Space Wing said in a statement Monday.
With the replacement radar in place, the Eastern Range is preparing to support two launches in a five-day span.
First, launch of a classified national security satellite by an Atlas V rocket is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Thursday, the opening of a 41-minute window.
A forecast released Monday showed a 90 percent chance of weather favorable for a launch.
The United Launch Alliance rocket is expected to return to its Cape Canaveral Air Force Station pad Wednesday morning with a National Reconnaissance Office payload.
The mission first rolled to the Launch Complex 41 pad on March 24. That same day, an electrical short caused a small fire that disabled an Air Force tracking radar across the Banana River on Kennedy Space Center property.
The Eastern Range, which tracks Cape launches and would enable the destruction of a rocket if it veered off course, needed the radar to fulfill its responsibility for public safety.
As a result, launch of the NRO satellite and another of International Space Station cargo were postponed until the replacement radar, which the Air Force said had been in "standby status," could be brought back online.
Following ULA's national security mission, SpaceX's launch of the ISS resupply mission is scheduled for 4:58 p.m. next Monday.
The company's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule had been targeting a March 30 liftoff from Launch Complex 40 when the radar outage occurred.
The Dragon and nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo would plan to berth at the station two days after launch. If they don't get off the ground on the first try, the next launch opportunity would be April 18.