A huge U.S.-built, Canadian-owned communications satellite weighing 15,600 pounds, the heaviest spacecraft of its kind ever launched, is mounted to a Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff early Sunday from Cape Canaveral on a heavy-lifting mission that previously would have required SpaceX to throw away the launcher’s first stage booster.
SpaceX is preparing this week for the second flight of the upgraded “Block 5” version of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, and a hold-down firing of the booster was accomplished Wednesday at Cape Canaveral ahead of a middle-of-the-night launch this weekend with a Canadian-owned commercial communications satellite. The static fire test occurred at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) Wednesday.
A commercial cargo carrier owned and operated by SpaceX pulled into port at the International Space Station on Monday, three days after launching from Cape Canaveral with a NASA Earth science instrument, a spare hand for the lab’s Canadian robotic arm, and an AI-powered helper bot for the research lab’s six-person crew.
A commercial SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule packed with a robot assistant for the International Space Station’s crew, pouches of extra strong coffee, and a NASA science instrument designed to track the health of plants on Earth left Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9 rocket Friday on a three-day pursuit of the orbiting research lab.