Science

SpaceX targets launch of communication satellite on Monday

SpaceX targets launch of communication satellite on Monday

Unlike in past launches, SpaceX said that due to "mission requirements", it will not attempt to land the first-stage booster.

The Inmarsat-5 satellite, weighing in at almost 13,500 pounds (6,123.4 kgs), atop the rocket, will blast off from SpaceX's seaside Launch Complex 39A on NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:21 p.m. EDT (or 23:21 UTC) Monday, May 15. SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk explained the reasoning behind recovering the booster rockets in previous missions, pointing out that one of the company's goals is to make launches cheaper by reusing booster rockets. The Falcon Heavy is now expected to debut before the end of the year, SpaceX representatives said. According to Universe Today, SpaceX is targeting for launch at twilight which will provide a rare sky show for those within the area.

The rocket will carry a communications satellite from Inmarsat of London. The satellite that's going up tonight will join three additional I-5 probes already in orbit, making up the Global Xpress constellation for Inmarsat. The rocket's launch follows the critical static hot-fire test that was successfully completed last May 11. Considering the explosions from their 2015 and 2016 launches, the rocket company can not guarantee success for now. The satellite was built by Boeing at a cost of around US$220 to US$250 million and will round-out the company's Global Xpress program.

The launch will come from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.




Delays after the accident cost SpaceX a second launch with Inmarsat.

Tonight's launch will be the sixth of more than 20 missions planned by SpaceX this year and the 34th flight since the Falcon 9 rocket debuted in June 2010.

"Following the delay in SpaceX's launch schedule, Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat took the decision to move the condosat to an Arianespace launch", Inmarsat representatives said in a December 8 press release.


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