SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral on Thursday, heading due east over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver the Turkish Turksat 5A communications satellite into orbit around 33 minutes later.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket is poised for launch from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida during a four-hour launch window opening at 8:28 p.m. EST Thursday (0128 GMT Friday).
Perched atop the rocket is the Turksat 5A communications satellite, a spacecraft manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space in Toulouse, France, and owned by the Turkish operator Turksat.
After deployment from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket in an elliptical transfer orbit, the Turksat 5A spacecraft will use its on-board electric thrusters to boost itself into a circular geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.
Based on Airbus’s Eurostar E3000EOR satellite design, Turksat will provide data relay and TV broadcast services for commercial customers and the Turkish government.
The Falcon 9 first stage booster set to loft the Turksat 5A payload has three previous flights to its credit. Each half of the Falcon 9’s reusable payload shroud has flown on one prior mission.
The timeline below outlines the launch sequence for the Falcon 9 flight with Turksat 5A.
The most powerful configuration of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket blasted off April 14 from Cape Canaveral, hauling multiple U.S. Air Force satellites to a perch high above the equator after piercing a clear evening sky over Florida’s Space Coast with 2.6 million pounds of thrust.
Debuting lighter structural components to carry heavier satellites into orbit, a Russian Proton rocket fired into space from Kazakhstan on Thursday and successfully placed a U.S.-built television broadcast craft into orbit for Intelsat and DirecTV.
The Dragon supply ship set for liftoff from Florida next month was the last of SpaceX’s first-generation cargo capsules off the production line, meaning future logistics deliveries to the International Space Station will fly on recycled spacecraft until a new Dragon variant is ready.