Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SpaceX Rocket Launch From Florida Set For March 4

Falcon 9 rocket carrying a SES-9 communications satellite

UPDATE: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the launch has been moved to Friday, March 4, 2016.

UPDATE: SpaceX has scrubbed Tuesday's launch attempt due to high winds.

“Unfortunately upper-level winds continue to exceed acceptable limits and are expected to get worse as we approach tonight’s launch window, so we are forgoing today’s launch attempt. Winds are forecast to exceed acceptable limits through Thursday," SpaceX said in a statement. "Our team will continue working with the Air Force’s Launch Weather Officer to evaluate the best available opportunity for flight in the coming days.”


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- For the fourth time, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a SES-9 communications satellite into orbit. 

The SpaceX rocket launch is scheduled to liftoff at 6:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window ends at 8:05 p.m. EST.

On Sunday, the launch was aborted less than a second after Falcon 9's engines were fired because the U.S. Air Force placed a range safety hold on the launch after a boat was detected in the restricted zone.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the launch delay by over 30 minutes allowed the super-cooled liquid oxygen to warm up while the Falcon 9 sat on the pad waiting for the all clear.

SpaceX to attempt landing on drone ship

If all goes as planned, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver a communications satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit. 

Following stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 will attempt an experimental landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship.  But SpaceX does not expect a successful landing after launch. That's because the Geo Stationary Transfer Orbit requires the first stage rocket to reach a significantly higher altitude than previous missions. This means that Falcon 9's first stage rocket will becoming down faster with less fuel to slow its descent than prior landing attempts.


SES-9 is the largest satellite dedicated to serving the Asia-Pacific region for SES, a commercial satellite communications company. The SES-9 will provide expansion and replacement capacity to serve the video, enterprise, mobility and government sectors across northeast Asia, south Asia and Indonesia. The additional capacity on SES-9 will also enable direct-to-home operators to broadcast more local content and increase their SD and HDTV channel line-up to 22 million households across Asia-Pacific, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The satellite’s Indian Ocean and South East Asian coverage can also provide seamless in-flight connectivity for domestic Asian flights operating in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.

Photo credit: SpaceX