SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral early Thursday, heading due east over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver the Inmarsat 5 F4 communications satellite into orbit 32 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 7:21 p.m. EDT (2321 GMT) Thursday at the opening of a 49-minute launch window.
Perched atop the rocket is the Inmarsat 5 F4 communications satellite, a spacecraft made by Boeing, ready to join Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network providing broadband connectivity to airline passengers and maritime crews. The rocket will place the satellite into a high-altitude “supersynchronous” transfer orbit.
The timeline below outlines the launch sequence for the Falcon 9 flight with Inmarsat 5 F4. 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 Inmarsat 5 F4 spacecraft into a high-altitude orbit.
The Falcon 9 does not carry landing legs or grid fins, which are not required for the expendable mission.
The next quartet bound for the International Space Station will wait a bit longer before they can punch their ticket to space after Falcon Heavy delays pushed back the launch of the next Crew Dragon mission, NASA said Tuesday.
SpaceX trucked its Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft — refurbished with a new heat shield and structural enhancements — across the Cape Canaveral spaceport this week for attachment to a Falcon 9 rocket ahead of a planned liftoff next Thursday with four astronauts heading to the International Space Station.