SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral early Thursday, heading due east over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver the EchoStar 23 communications satellite into orbit 34 minutes later.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket is poised for launch from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:35 a.m. EDT (0535 GMT) Thursday at the opening of a 150-minute launch window.
Perched atop the rocket is the EchoStar 23 communications satellite, a spacecraft made by Space Systems/Loral, ready to beam television programming across Brazil for EchoStar Satellite Services 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 EchoStar 23. On this mission, SpaceX does not plan to attempt a recovery of the rocket’s first stage booster due to the high performance required to place the heavy EchoStar 23 spacecraft into a high-altitude orbit.
The Falcon 9 does not carry landing legs, the first SpaceX launch without landing gear since April 2015.
A Russian Proton rocket lifted off Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the AsiaSat 9 satellite destined to provide television broadcast, video networking and data delivery services over the Asia-Pacific region. Launch occurred at 1852:16 GMT (2:52:16 p.m. EDT), beginning a series of maneuvers expected to last nine hours before AsiaSat 9 is deployed from the rocket.
Take a look back at the Dec. 22 liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a launch that was visible across Southern California and as far away as Arizona as the booster climbed into sunlight at dusk to deliver 10 commercial communications satellites to orbit.
A Chinese Long March 3B rocket fired into space Wednesday with Shijian 13, also known as Chinasat 16, to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of China, airline travelers and high-speed trains.