SpaceX Set for First Ever Deep Space Launch on Sunday Evening

With the successful completion of a static test fire, the stage is now set for a SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft on the evening of Sunday, February 8th. Liftoff must take place in an instantaneous window occurring at 6:10 PM EST. If needed, a backup date is reserved for Monday, with liftoff taking place at 6:07 PM.

The DSCOVR launch, which is being conducted under a three party agreement involving the USAF, NOAA and NASA, will see the Falcon 9 V1.1 boost the refrigerator sized 570 kg spacecraft to the gravitationally stable Earth -Sun Lagrange 1 point one million miles away.

 

DSCOVR_diagramL1

As such, it marks the first deep space launch for SpaceX, as well as the first launch to be conducted under the auspices of the USAF. In this case, however the launch is being managed under the OSP-3 program, as opposed to the highly restrictive EELV program for which the company has yet to be certified to bid.

In addition to what is already a significant mission for the company which hopes to lead the way to Mars, Sunday’s flight will also feature a second attempt at landing the Falcon 9 first stage on the company’s “autonomous spaceport drone ship.”

Following a near miss on the January 10th CRS-5 launch in which the returning stage exhausted its supply of hydraulic fluid for the four hypersonic grid fins with only seconds to go, resulting in a loss of control and fiery crash on the deck of the ship, SpaceX has increased the reservoir capacity, raising hopes that a historic first stage recovery could be in the offing.

A prelaunch news conference is scheduled for 1 PM EST on Saturday, and launch day coverage will begin at 3:30 PM. Both will be available on NASA TV and at NASA.gov.

 

 

 

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12 Comments on "SpaceX Set for First Ever Deep Space Launch on Sunday Evening"

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  1. Nice Logo of Mars the moon and a rocket. Also love this site and any others that are covering space X.
    My best guess for the next landing attempt is that, (if the weather is good Falcon will land with at least two feet inside the inner circle.)

  2. Anton says:

    It is obviously the sun in both pics…

  3. Dan says:

    You should define acronyms with parentheticals the first time you use them in an article. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) are not vernacular to most people.

  4. Vonn-Chinn says:

    So excited for this launch. This is my second Superbowl.

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