SpaceX and ULA set to launch same day in Florida

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On Tuesday, a nearly 200ft Atlas V rocket rolled out to its pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, paving the way for back-to-back launches on the same day this week, which the Space Coast hasn’t. not seen for decades.

If schedules are met, United Launch Alliance will launch a military surveillance satellite aboard an Atlas V rocket first thing in the morning on Thursday, August 4. Less than thirteen hours later, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will also fly from a nearby Cape Canaveral platform. with South Korea’s first lunar mission.

That both launches end the day – Atlas V just before sunrise, Falcon 9 before sunset – is a rare event for the Space Coast. This kind of rapid rate of fire was seen in the Space Race nearly 60 years ago, but today it’s seen more as a potential need than a one-time achievement.

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With the Space Coast expected to host up to 50 launches this year and even more in the years to come, back-to-back launches are expected to become more common in the future.

First launch: Atlas V

First up are United Launch Alliance teams at Launch Complex 41: Atlas V is scheduled to launch a military surveillance satellite, known as SBIRS GEO-6, at 6:29 a.m. EDT. The weather is likely to be 70% “go” for the attempt.

“Isolated showers are expected to develop over Atlantic coastal waters near sunrise, and there is a minor concern of a violation of the cumulus rule during the initial launch attempt,” said Tuesday. Space Launch Delta 45 forecasters.

If postponed to Friday, conditions worsen to 50% “go” due to increased chance of morning thunderstorms.

The sixth and final geosynchronous Earth-orbiting satellite of the Space Force Space Infrared System is primarily designed to detect ballistic missile launches as part of a broader warning system. The satellites for the Department of Defense’s multi-billion dollar program were built by Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, Calif., before airlift to the Space Coast.

Atlas V will fly east.

Second launch: Falcon 9

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station before a Starlink mission to boost internet-streaming satellites into orbit.

Thirteen hours after the smoke from Atlas V cleared, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at nearby Launch Complex 40 is scheduled to fly South Korea’s first lunar mission at 7:08 p.m. EDT.

The weather for the attempt, according to the Space Force, should be 80% “go”.

“A passing Atlantic shower or more developed cumulus clouds cannot be ruled out…but models suggest the threat is low for the early Thursday evening launch window,” the forecasters said.

The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, or KPLO, is a satellite designed to orbit the moon with a suite of South Korean experiments and a US-built instrument, according to NASA. It will study the lunar environment and topography, identify potential landing sites for future missions and demonstrate the capabilities of the “space internet”.

The Falcon 9 will also fly east, then drop off its first-stage thruster for a drone ship landing in the Atlantic Ocean. It should sail to Port Canaveral for crates and refurbishment before the end of the weekend.

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Contact Emre Kelly at [email protected] or 321-242-3715. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly.

Launch Thursday, August 4

  • Rocket: ULA Atlas V
  • Mission: SBIRS GEO-6 Military Surveillance Satellite
  • Launch time: 6:29 a.m. EDT
  • Launch Complex: 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Weather: 70% “leave”
  • Trajectory: East

Launch Thursday, August 4

  • Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Mission: Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter
  • Launch time: 7:08 p.m. EDT
  • Launch Complex: 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Take-off weather: 80% “go”
  • Trajectory: East
  • Landing: drone ship
  • Weather on landing: low risk

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