A week after a test-firing of SpaceX’s new crew capsule went awry, SpaceX successfully completed a hold-down firing of its next Falcon 9 launcher Saturday morning at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a predawn liftoff Wednesday carrying several tons of food, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.
A $110 million NASA science instrument twice targeted for cancellation by the Trump administration is set for launch Tuesday inside the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule for delivery to the International Space Station, where it will spend three years charting changing carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere.
SpaceX is gearing up for the first commercial launch of its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket as soon as early April with a communications satellite for Arabsat, and the U.S. Air Force hopes the two side boosters from the Arabsat mission can be safely landed and reused for the military’s first Falcon Heavy mission this summer, an exercise officials said will help certify previously-flown hardware for future national security launches.
Engineers working for Spaceflight, a Seattle-based launch services company, are in the final steps of preparing for the first launch of new robotic free flyers carrying more than 70 small government and commercial satellites into polar orbit later this year aboard a dedicated flight of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The head of the launch enterprise directorate at the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Claire Leon, spoke with reporters March 15 about the military’s award of a GPS launch contract to SpaceX, and she discussed plans for more head-to-head launch contract competitions in the coming months.