Saturday, 21 July, 2018

SpaceX launches 16th Falcon 9 in 2017, recovers first stage

Theresa Hayes | 30 October, 2017, 22:23

The company's Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 3:34 p.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center on Monday afternoon. With less than 10 per cent weather violating launch rules, the forecast weather is excellent with a two-hour window.

The Falcon 9 will attempt to boost the roughly 8,000-pound Koreasat-5A on its way to an orbit more than 22,000 miles over the equator. And following stage separation the first stage will attempt a landing on the droneship called "Of Course I Still Love You" that will be in the Atlantic Ocean waiting for the landing.

The Falcon 9's first stage completed a successful landing on an off-shore drone ship about eight-and-a-half minutes after launch. That launch happened on a previously launched rocket, marking the third time it had done that. The satellite will provide TV and other communications services to people in South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia, according to the company's website.

KT SAT's fourth satellite, Koreasat-7, also built by Thales, launched in May aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket. Approximately 36 minutes after liftoff, the satellite will be deployed. The spacecraft will circularize its orbit over almost two weeks.

SpaceX's 13th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station will be a big one, slated for launch on December 4, even as the company marches toward an impressive total of 19 or 20 launches before the end of 2017. The Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture flew as often in 2009.

Repairs to complex 40 are nearing completion, and SpaceX plans to resume flights from the Air Force station with the space station resupply flight.

Falcon 9's first stage did not return to Kennedy Space Center. The site has been undergoing repairs and upgrades since a Falcon 9 rocket exploded on its pad there on September 1, 2016.