Update: SpaceX Counting Down to Orbcomm OG-2 Launch


Update from SpaceX:

The ORBCOMM OG2 launch is currently targeted for liftoff on Monday, July 14, 2014 at 11:44am ET. A live launch webcast will begin here at approximately 11:25am EDT. Out of an abundance of caution, the team took some extra time this morning to look at a potential ground systems issue; we have resolved any concern there and are moving forward with the countdown with a new T-0 of 11:44am.

Original story

After conducting a successful static fire on Friday afternoon, SpaceX is once again counting down for the launch of six Orbcomm OG 2 satellites. The launch, which has been delayed on several occasions and for a variety of reasons, including weather, payload issues, range issues and three different issues with the Falcon 9 booster, is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40 in a launch window which opens at 9:21 am EDT.

Encapsulated inside booster’s 5.2 meter carbon composite payload fairing is the first 6 of a planned constellation of 17 OG-2 next generation satellites built by Sierra Nevada Corporation. The machine to machine (M2M) spacecraft will significantly upgrade the scope of services offered by Orbcomm through its original constellation of 25 OG-1 spacecraft. The first Orbcomm OG-2 demonstration satellite met a quick and untimely demise during the course of the SpaceX CRS-1 launch to ISS on October 8, 2012 when a Falcon 9 first stage engine failure led to a slightly extended second stage burn to reach its target orbit for the primary payload, the Dragon spacecraft.  Due to strict NASA safety protocols regarding the probability of a full secondary burn, the Orbcomm satellite was necessarily deposited in a very low orbit due which quickly decayed.

In addition to the primary mission of the Orbcomm launch, SpaceX will once again attempt to re-ignite the Falcon 9 first stage and bring it back for a controlled, soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean. With a morning launch time, very calm sea conditions in the estimated landing zone, and a long summer day within which to conduct daylight recovery operations, conditions should be ideal for the attempt.

For SpaceX however, as important as a successful first stage recovery might be, (and surely it would) delivering the Orbcomm satellites safely to orbit and maintaining a successful launch record are the day’s most important objectives.

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