SpaceX Aims for Launch/Landing Repeat With JCSAT-16 Tonight

The Morning After JCSAT-14 on Drone Ship Credit: SpaceX

The Morning After
JCSAT-14 on Drone Ship
Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX is preparing for another overnight launch out of Cape Canaveral.

Scheduled to liftoff at 1:26 AM ET (5:26 AM UDT) early Sunday morning is JCSAT-16, a commercial communications satellite for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.  The launch, which will take place from Space Launch Complex 40 aboard a Falcon 9 and has a 2-hour window, is a virtual replay of the launch of Sky Perfect’s JCSAT-14 on May 9th.

That mission resulted in the company’s second consecutive first stage landing at sea aboard the automated spaceport drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, and the first to return successfully from a high speed geostationary transfer flight. For tonight’s launch, SpaceX will be hoping to repeat that success and improve its ultimate outcome. Although the JCSAT-14 first stage did indeed land, Elon Musk later noted that the stage had suffered “max damage” and would not be a candidate for subsequent re-flight.

Instead, the stage was shipped back to the company’s McGregor, Texas development facility where it has since undergone three full length test firings in its new role as an endurance test article.

Landing Sequence Info-Graphic Courtesy SpaceX

Landing Sequence Info-Graphic (with previous ASDS “Just Read the Instructions”)
Courtesy SpaceX

The 45th Space Wing weather forecast for tonight’s launch is mostly favorable, projecting a 20% chance of rule violation, with the chances increasing to 30% in the event a one day delay is required. As usual, the launch broadcast is scheduled to begin approximately 20 minutes before liftoff.


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