SpaceX Flight Schedule Firming Up

With a possible return to flight mission on tap for as soon as Saturday evening, SpaceX’s schedule for the next several launches is coming into focus.

Pending the outcome of a first-stage test firing test firing expected to take place on Wednesday, SpaceX will be counting down towards the launch of 11 Orbcomm OG-2 satellites into low Earth orbit during a launch window which runs from 8-9 PM ET.

If the launch takes place without incident, then SpaceX will quickly turn its attention to working down a manifest which now stretches to as many as 50 launches.

Next up will most likely be the SES-9 communications satellite, which is headed for a geostationary transfer orbit. SES announced on December 10th that its spacecraft has safely arrived at Cape Canaveral awaiting a launch in “Mid January.”

At one point, it appeared as if the SES spacecraft would be the first to fly on the upgraded Falcon 9, but following the June 28th loss of the NASA CRS-7 mission, the Luxembourg based company expressed hesitation over being first for what will be a demanding launch for the rebooted booster.

Around the same time, the last Falcon V1.1 will be undergoing preparations for launch of the NASA/NOAA JASON-3 ocean altimetry satellite out of Vandenberg, Ca. Liftoff is scheduled for 10:42 AM PT on January 17th, with a backup slot reserved for the following day.

Following the West Coast finale for the V1.1. series from the same pad where it made its debut on the Cassiope mission in September 2013, SpaceX will then shift its focus back to Cape Canaveral with the upcoming CRS-8 resupply flight to the International Space Station. The date for that flight has not been set, but currently appears to have a NET or “No Earlier Than” date of February.

Finally, while there is still no word on whether or not plans for a return to “the hard” at Cape Canaveral have been approved, a Friday evening tweet from Orbcomm CEO Marc Eisenberg is raising expectations.


Posted in: SpaceX

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