Launch Stories August 11

In a widely anticipated announcement, U.S. Space Force and Air Force officials awarded Phase II of U.S. national security missions launch contracts to ULA and SpaceX as the primary launch providers through 2027. The NSSL (National Security Space Launch) Contract is a firm-fixed-price that will support launches planned from fiscal 2022 – fiscal 2027.

These contracts include early integration studies, launch service support, fleet surveillance, launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations, mission assurance, spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for each mission.

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Launch Stories July 20

Update: SpaceX targeting 5:30 p.m. EDT due to local weather in Florida.


SpaceX will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida today at 5 p.m. EDT. The launch window will be open for 3 hours 55 minutes. SpaceX is sending a communications satellite called ANASIS 2 to space for the South Korean military.

The first stage of the two-staged rocket was previously used to send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the historic SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt to land for a second time 8 minutes 31 seconds after liftoff. The ANASIS 2 satellite will be deployed 32 minutes 29 seconds after launch.

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Launch Stories July 15

Northrop Grumman’s 78-foot-tall Minotaur IV expendable launch system is lifting off from NASA’s Wallops Island flight facility in Virginia. The launch is the first Minotaur IV launch from Virginia’s Space Coast and the first National Reconnaissance Office launch using the Minotaur IV system.

Today’s Minotaur IV launch is also the first use of the expendable launch system since August 2017. The system has been used for a total of seven launches since April 2010, and one to two additional launches are already planned. NASA says the next launch from Wallops Flight Facility will be sometime in mid-August.

Minotaur rockets are created using decommissioned MX Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles created in the late 80s and early 90s.

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Launch Stories July 11

Update on July 11: “Standing down from today’s launch of the tenth Starlink mission to allow more time for checkouts; team is working to identify the next launch opportunity. Will announce a new target date once confirmed with the Range,” SpaceX announced.


SpaceX will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday at 10:54 a.m. EDT. SpaceX is sending its tenth batch of Starlink satellites to space. These satellites will be used for a new global broadband service that will focus on bringing internet connectivity to underserved areas.

The rocket launch is also a ridesharing mission that will include two BlackSky satellites. Today’s mission will mark the second ridesharing mission for SpaceX Starlink launches.

Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt to land 8 minutes 24 seconds after liftoff. The 59 satellite payload will be deployed in space shortly after 1 hour from liftoff.

Watch the launch, landing, and deployment below.

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Launch Stories July 2

Update July 2: Rocket Lab is pushing the launch back two days to July 5 in hopes of better launch weather conditions.

Update July 3: Now the launch is set for July 4! Watch live below:

Update 3: July 4: Rocket Lab reports a loss of vehicle and payload during the mission. More details to come.


Rocket Lab will be ready for its next launch just three weeks after Saturday’s mission “Don’t Stop Me Now,” reinforcing the increasingly fast launch capabilities of the small satellite launch company.

The new mission is named “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen” after the number of Earth imaging satellites being deployed in space. The next Electron launch is scheduled to take place from Launch Complex 1 Pad A at the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand on July 3.

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Launch Stories June 30

SpaceX will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this afternoon at 3:55 p.m. EDT. SpaceX is sending the GPS III Space Vehicle 3 to space to join a constellation of 31 existing global positioning system satellites operated by the United States.

Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt to land on the SpaceX droneship “Just Read the Instructions” in the Atlantic Ocean 8 minutes 30 seconds after liftoff. The GPS III satellite payload will be deployed in space 1 hour and 29 minutes after liftoff.

Watch the launch, landing, and deployment below.

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Launch Stories June 11

Updates June 10-June 12:

  • Liftoff from New Zealand will be at 10:13 p.m. PT/1:13 a.m. ET.
  • Launch countdown is currently on hold due to high wind speeds in the area. The clock will recycle to T-12 minutes if weather improves.
  • Out of hold! 2:08 a.m. ET liftoff.
  • Hold again at 2:06 a.m. ET. 13 minutes left to recycle the countdown to T-12 minutes before the launch window closes until tomorrow.
  • Scrubbed due to wind speeds on first launch attempt. Next attempt will be June 13, 12:43 a.m. ET.
  • New launch target: June 13, 12:53 a.m. ET … now 1:12 a.m. ET.
  • Success!

 


Rocket Lab plans to launch payloads into space for three customers including NASA this week from its launch site in New Zealand. The small satellite launch service provider will use its Electron rocket to deploy satellites in Earth orbit on a mission called “Don’t Stop Me Now” as soon as Thursday, June 11.

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Launch Stories June 8

Update June 11: Livestream for Starlink launch on May 13 at 5:21 a.m. now available.


SpaceX is flexing its rocket-launching muscles in June. Four days after its historic crewed launch on May 30, SpaceX prepared the next Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff on June 3.

If the rest of the month goes as planned, SpaceX will have hit a new company record with four launches in a single month. SpaceX first hit three launches in a single month in June 2017, a launch cadence not seen since January 2020.

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Current launch target:Thursday, July 30, at 750 a.m. EDT with August 15 deadline extension


Mars 2020 is the next big mission for NASA after sending the first astronauts to the space station on a SpaceX rocket. In July, NASA’s newest Mars rover named ‘Perseverance’ will launch for Mars from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

From studying signs of past life on Mars to preparing for human life, the new Mars rover will have four long-term science goals once it reaches Martian soil:

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Launch Stories June 3

It’s been four days since SpaceX launched something into orbit, and that can only mean one thing. It’s time to prepare a Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff and do it all over again.

Only this time the cargo won’t be NASA astronauts. SpaceX is deploying its latest round of Starlink satellites for its upcoming global internet service for less populated parts of the world.

If weather conditions allow, SpaceX will launch tonight at 9:25 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Watch the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch live stream below starting at 9:15 p.m. EDT.

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