SpaceX kicks off weekend with rocket launch at Cape Canaveral

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Update (1:30 a.m. EDT Saturday): Falcon 9 take off! The rocket successfully launched the Hotbird 13F satellite from Cape Canaveral at 1:22 a.m. EDT on Saturday, ending the longer-than-usual countdown. Read our full story here.

Follow live as SpaceX targets 1:22 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 15 for the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket and commercial communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Launch Complex 40 crews had a two-hour window to fly Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F satellite into orbit, but two delays pushed the end of tonight’s window. Weather conditions are expected to be 90% “go” at launch. This mission will include the landing of a drone.

Follow live updates below (manual refresh required; for real-time updates, follow this link):

Falcon 9 take off!

1:22 a.m. EDT: Falcon 9 takes off with Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F communication satellite!

Rest of the countdown

1:05 a.m. EDT: What’s left in the countdown before takeoff at 1:22 a.m.:

  • 00:15:00: Spacecraft on internal power
  • 00:07:00: Falcon 9 begins pre-launch engine cooling
  • 00:01:00: Command the flight computer to begin final pre-launch checks
  • 00:01:00: start of propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure
  • 00:00:45: SpaceX launch director checks “go” for launch
  • 00:00:03: Engine controller commands start of engine ignition sequence
  • 00:00:00: Falcon 9 lift off

Facts and figures in the meantime

12:55 a.m. EDT: While waiting for liftoff in 37 minutes, here are some facts and figures about this morning’s launch:

  • Third flight for this Falcon 9 booster
  • 181st launch of a Falcon 9
  • 45th launch of the year for the Space Coast (!)
  • The payload, Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F communications satellite, weighs about 9,000 pounds. Built by Airbus.
  • Targeting Just read the drone landing instructions

The “go” launch director for refueling

12:42 a.m. EDT: SpaceX’s launch director probed “go” for refueling the 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 40. It’s still a 35-minute process that continues until liftoff.

Less than an hour from takeoff

12:25 a.m. EDT: Now less than an hour from the Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral. If teams have resolved the issue — which SpaceX did not disclose — refueling should begin in 20 minutes. Stay tuned.

Another new launch time

11:20 p.m. EDT: SpaceX is now targeting 1:22 a.m. EDT, the end of tonight’s window, to launch Falcon 9 on its 181st mission. This likely has to do with the previously mentioned data reviews that are ongoing. Stay tuned for more.

New launch time

10:30 p.m. EDT: Launch Complex 40 crews are now targeting 12:26 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 15 for launch. It’s about an hour late. Stay tuned for more.

SpaceX said more time was needed for “data review”.

T-minus one hour before take-off

10:26 p.m. EDT: Now an hour before Falcon 9 launches from Cape Canaveral. The weather is beautiful, no technical problems. Refueling should start in 22 minutes from this update.

SpaceX still on track for launch

9:36 p.m. EDT: Cape Town teams are still targeting 11:26 p.m. EDT for the Eutelsat launch tonight. The previously flown booster will fly along an easterly path in mostly clear skies.

Contact Emre Kelly at [email protected] or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and instagram to @EmreKelly.

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