SpaceX to launch rocket Dec 19, six months after blast
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 10, 2015
SpaceX on Thursday announced plans to launch its Falcon 9 on December 19, its first mission since a massive explosion after liftoff destroyed the rocket and its space station cargo six months ago.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that the company is preparing for a static fire -- an engine test on the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida -- on December 16, followed by "launch about three days later."
The Falcon rocket will carry 11 satellites for the US company Orbcomm into low-Earth orbit, a company spokesman told AFP.
The spokesman did not say when SpaceX planned to begin sending cargo to the International Space Station again.
SpaceX's only competitor in the commercial resupply industry is Orbital ATK, which also suffered a major setback when its Antares rocket exploded after launching from Wallops Island, Virginia in October 2014.
Orbital ATK launched on Sunday its unmanned Cygnus cargo ship to the ISS, this time aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket while it upgrades the Antares, which previously used a reconditioned Ukrainian rocket engine.
The Falcon 9 exploded on June 28, just over two minutes after launching from Cape Canaveral with its Dragon cargo ship loaded with supplies for the astronauts living in space.
Musk said the blast was due to a faulty strut.
The accident was a blow to the California-based company, which was the first commercial outfit to send a cargo craft to space under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.
The Falcon 9 rocket that is scheduled to fly December 19 is a new version that is 30 percent more powerful and designed to improve the controlled landing of the rocket's first stage, a mission that SpaceX has been attempting to refine in the hope of one day making rockets as reusable as airplanes.
SpaceX has tried multiple times to land its rocket upright on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean, without success.
For this next launch, SpaceX said it plans to attempt a touchdown on land for the first time.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, an Internet entrepreneur who like Musk also owns a rocket company, announced on November 24 that he had successfully landed his New Shepard rocket after a suborbital flight.
While Bezos touted the achievement, Musk and other experts pointed out that it would have been much easier to control the landing of a rocket that flies lower in altitude than the first stage of the Falcon 9.
Once rockets do become reusable, analysts say the practice will save millions of dollars in equipment and launch costs.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.