SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral early Sunday, heading due east over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver the JCSAT 16 communications satellite into orbit 32 minutes later.
The 229-foot-tall rocket is poised for launch from Complex 40 at 1:26 a.m. EDT (0526 GMT) Sunday at the opening of a 120-minute launch window.
Perched atop the rocket is the JCSAT 16 communications satellite, a spacecraft made by Space Systems/Loral, ready to beam television programming and data services across Japan and the Asia-Pacific. The rocket will place the satellite into a high-altitude geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The timeline below outlines the launch sequence for the Falcon 9 flight with JCSAT 16. It does not include times for the experimental descent and landing attempt of the first stage booster on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX’s landing platform is positioned about 370 miles (600 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral for the first stage landing attempt, which is expected around 10 minutes after liftoff.
Arianespace’s launch team loaded an Ariane 5 rocket full of super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants Tuesday for a fiery sunset blastoff from French Guiana at 2139 GMT (4:39 p.m. EST) with two European-built television broadcast satellites for Brazil and Indonesia.
A Japanese H-2A rocket took off Tuesday with a communications satellite to relay messages and commands among the country’s defense forces, part of a $1.1 billion program to reduce Japan’s reliance on commercial and international providers to connect its military units.