Saturday, October 17, 2015

A SpaceX Christmas


Click here to watch the SpaceX CRS-7 launch and loss. Video source: NASAKennedy YouTube channel.

SpaceX fans will find return to flight as a stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Multiple media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today, reporting that the next launch from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral will be in six to eight weeks.

The first launch will be for Orbcomm, which issued this October 16 press release. The mission will deploy eleven OG2 satellites. Known was Machine To Machine (M2M) satellites, they are “designed to remotely track, monitor, and control fixed and mobile assets in core vertical markets including transportation & distribution, heavy equipment, industrial fixed assets, oil & gas, maritime, mining and government,” according to the press release.

After deploying the satellites, SpaceX will test the upper-stage engine in orbit. This will prepare the company for a second mission in late October, launching a commercial satellite for global satellite provider SES.

Never shy about pushing the envelope, SpaceX will also use the mission to once again attempt landing its Falcon 9 booster on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, or what most of us incorrectly call a barge.

It appears that this will delay the next Dragon cargo delivery until January 2016. CRS-8 will deliver the Bigelow BEAM to the International Space Station. The BEAM will spend two years attached to the ISS testing the company's expandable habitat technology.

Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo ship is scheduled to launch December 3 from Pad 41 at the Cape atop an Atlas V, so it would seem logical that NASA would want that Cygnus to clear the station before sending up Dragon.

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