SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch Friday
Private space transport corporation, Space X, officially announced the date of its updated Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket will transport Thaicom Plc’s Thaicom 6 television satellite on January 3, 2014 at approximately 5:50 p.m. Eastern Time.
SpaceX will be utilizing a leased historic Kennedy Space Center launch pad in Florida for this event. The company believes the launch has an open window that extends until approximately 7:17 p.m. They also reported yesterday that they have already concluded a successful static fire test which included running through the entire countdown routine with the vehicle and launch pad systems without actually igniting the Falcon 9’s engines.
The SpaceX company, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, its current CEO, is currently reviewing all pertinent information gathered during that test. Emily Shanklin, SpaceX spokesperson, told NASASpaceFlight.com: “Static fire was today (December 28) and it went well,” adding that they are “still reviewing data but all looks good.”
If successful, this will be the Hawthorne, California-based company’s second launch of its updated Falcon 9 rocket. It would also be the second launch of a communications satellite to an orbit of over 22,000 miles above the Earth following the December 3 launch of its SES-8.
Constructed by Orbital Sciences Corporation in Huntington Beach, California, the commercial satellite weighs in at almost 7,300 pounds. According to NASASpaceFlight.com it will be located at 78.5 degrees East Longitude. The Thaicom 6 satellite is expected to last for about 15 years and will provide television access to residents of South and Southeast Asia as well as Southern Africa according to sources at USA Today.
(Image courtesy of UniverseToday)