Launch Spotlight: SpaceX to launch Italian radar satellite

Thursday evening SpaceX is preparing to launch the second COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite for the Italian Space Agency. This will take off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. This mission will feature a booster landing at Landing Zone 1, also located at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Launch Date: Sunday, January 30, 6:11 p.m. EST

Rocket: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 (1052-3)

Payload: COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation 2 (CSG-2)

Launch Pad: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

Destination: Sun-Synchronous Orbit

Landing Site: Landing Zone 1, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

What is the Falcon 9?

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is the workhorse of commercial launches into Earth orbit. Nine Merlin engines power the partially reusable rocket on the first stage and a single vacuum optimized Merlin on the second stage. The Falcon 9 has launched a total of 137 times with a 98% success rate, making it a highly trusted vehicle among the commercial, scientific, and defense sectors.

The Booster

The booster for this mission will be Booster 1052. While this rocket has launched twice before, this will be the first time it will fly as Falcon 9 booster. In its previous two missions, it served as a Falcon Heavy side booster for Arabsat-6A and STP-2. However, since those two launches in 2019, it has been repurposed as a Falcon 9 first stage.

Weather

The latest weather forecast from Space Launch Delta 45 shows a greater than 90% chance of acceptable launch conditions with the primary concern being cumulus clouds. In the event of a 24-hour delay, the weather remains greater than 90% go with the primary concern being cumulus clouds. Both days feature low risks. (Updated: Jan. 30, 12 p.m. EST)

Where to watch?

You can find coverage of Friday’s Starlink launch on SpaceX’s YouTube channel. The live stream will usually go live about 15 minutes before liftoff and will offer the best views of the launch.

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