SpaceX conducts hotfire test for another middle-of-the-night launch – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX conducts hotfire test for another middle-of-the-night launch – Spaceflight Now

Credit: Ken Kremer / kenkremer.com / spaceupclose.com

Gearing up for the third Falcon 9 launch in lower than two-and-a-half weeks, SpaceX fired up a rocket booster at Cape Canaveral on Thursday forward of an early morning launch Tuesday with an Indonesian communications satellite tv for pc.

Nine first stage engines on the Falcon 9 rocket ignited round 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT) Thursday at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad, firing for a number of seconds earlier than a shutdown command. SpaceX confirmed the static fireplace test in a tweet later Thursday afternoon.

The static fireplace test is a routine step in SpaceX’s launch campaigns, throughout which the corporate’s launch staff oversees the loading of kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 rocket earlier than a short hold-down engine firing. The test serves as a checkout of the launch automobile and floor techniques, and an train for the SpaceX launch staff.

Ground crews will decrease the Falcon 9 rocket and return it to a close-by hangar for attachment of the Merah Putih spacecraft this weekend. The launcher will roll again to the pad upfront of a two-hour launch window opening at 1:18 a.m. EDT (0518 GMT) Tuesday.

If the flight takes off on time, SpaceX’s subsequent launch will mark the third Falcon 9 flight in 16 days, one of many busiest durations of launch exercise within the firm’s historical past. It would be the 15th launch by SpaceX to date this 12 months.

Photos of the Falcon 9 launcher at Complex 40 taken Thursday confirmed soot markings suggesting the primary stage was flown on a earlier mission, seemingly in May on the launch of the Bangabandhu 1 communications satellite tv for pc. That mission marked the inaugural flight of SpaceX’s upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 automobile, sporting enhancements to make the primary stage simpler to get well and reuse.

A SpaceX spokesperson didn’t reply to an inquiry in regards to the identification of the Falcon 9 first stage set to fly with the Merah Putih satellite tv for pc.

The Merah Putih satellite tv for pc, previously generally known as Telkom Four, will present C-band telecommunications companies over Indonesia and India. The new telecom craft was constructed by SSL in Palo Alto, California.

Officials renamed the satellite tv for pc Merah Putih to signify the purple and white of the Indonesian flag, in keeping with SSL.

SSL accomplished development of the Merah Putih satellite tv for pc forward of schedule, in keeping with Telkom Indonesia, also referred to as PT Telkom. The new satellite tv for pc will exchange Telkom 1, which failed in a mysterious debris-shedding occasion in geostationary orbit final 12 months.

The Merah Putih spacecraft. Credit: SSL

Officials from Telkom Indonesia anticipated the Telkom 1 satellite tv for pc, which launched in 1999, to stay operational till Merah Putih’s launch. But Telkom 1’s failure final 12 months pressured the operator to re-route communications site visitors by different satellites.

The Merah Putih satellite tv for pc is designed for a 16-year life, its proprietor stated in an announcement. The spacecraft might be positioned in geostationary orbit greater than 22,000 miles (almost 36,000 kilometers) over the equator at 108 levels east longitude.

“Satellite plays a vital role in our telecommunications infrastructure,” stated Zulhelfi Abidin, chief expertise officer of Telkom Indonesia, in a press launch earlier this 12 months. “SSL has been a wonderful spacecraft provider and has accomplished the satellite tv for pc development forward of schedule. We sit up for touring to Florida to see the satellite tv for pc launch later this summer season.”

Merah Putih carries 60 C-band transponders with protection throughout the Indonesian archipelago, and different elements of South and Southeast Asia. The satellite tv for pc will present Internet, phone and mobile backhaul companies, in keeping with SSL.

The launch may also hold intact a summertime streak of middle-of-the-night and early morning launches from Cape Canaveral. The final three Falcon 9 missions from Florida’s Space Coast since early June have launched within the wee hours, and two extra liftoffs are scheduled to happen in the midst of the night time or predawn hours later this month.

A United Launch Alliance Delta Four-Heavy rocket is scheduled for liftoff Aug. 11 with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in a launch window opening round three:48 a.m. EDT (0748 GMT). The subsequent Falcon 9 launch after the Merah Putih mission is ready for launch no sooner than Aug. 23, six days later than beforehand deliberate, with the Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications satellite tv for pc, in accordance Gerald Nagler, a Telesat spokesperson.

The launch window for the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission Aug. 23 opens at roughly 11:35 p.m. EDT (0335 GMT on Aug. 24).

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.



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