Saturday, April 25, 2015

Weather 60% 'GO' For April 27 SpaceX Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- Weather conditions are forecast to be 60% 'GO' for the next Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Monday.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a telecommunications satellite for Turkmenistan is scheduled to liftoff on April 27, 2015 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.   The launch window opens at 6:14 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

According to the most recent launch weather forecast provided by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions for Monday's launch.  The primary weather concerns will be thick clouds and cumulus clouds. If the launch is moved to Tuesday, weather conditions deteriorate to only a 30% chance of favorable weather conditions.

The satellite's primary contractor, Thales Alenia Space, stated in a release that the TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT will allow Turkmenistan to operate its first national satellite telecommunications system. The satellite is built on a Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000 C2 platform, will weigh 4,500 kg at launch, and offers a design life exceeding 15 years.

The satellite's telecommunications coverage zone encompasses Europe, Central Asia up to the Chinese border and virtually all of Africa. The Turkmenistan Ministry of Communications will use Monaco's 52°E orbital position, via the Monaco-based satellite operator, Space Systems International - Monaco (SSI).

The launch was originally scheduled to take place in November 2014, but was rescheduled until April 2015 due to the Falcon 9's crowded launch manifest.

Image Credit: SpaceX