Japan’s Himawari 9 weather satellite will ride into space atop an H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center and reach a preliminary geostationary transfer orbit within 28 minutes of liftoff.
The 7,700-pound (3,500-kilogram) satellite will blast off from Launch Pad No. 1 at the Yoshinobu launch complex at Tanegashina Space Center, a picturesque spaceport carved on the southern edge of Tanegashima Island in southern Japan.
The H-2A rocket carrying Himawari 8 will head east over the Pacific Ocean, dropping its two solid-fueled boosters, nose cone, and a cryogenic core stage in the sea before its upper stage delivers the weather observatory to an orbit stretching more than 22,000 miles above Earth.
A list of the major events during the launch, set for 0620 GMT (2:20 a.m. EDT) Wednesday, is provided below.
It will take approximately one hour for a Japanese H-2A rocket to propel the Hope Mars orbiter on a trajectory to escape Earth’s gravitational bond, kicking off a seven-month journey to the Red Planet.
Preparations for the planned liftoff Thursday of a SpaceX Dragon capsule with a four-person crew to the International Space Station cleared another readiness review Tuesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but officials are tracking marginal wind and sea conditions in downrange abort zones in the Atlantic Ocean that could force a launch delay.