SpaceX Announces Plan to Launch Falcon 9 Rocket On December 19
On Thursday, SpaceX announced that it is planning to launch its Falcon 9 rocket on December 19, 2015. It will be the first mission the company will attempt for after the massive explosion of its space station cargo six months ago.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Thursday also said that the company is planning to test fire Falcon 9’s main engines on Wednesday at Launch Complex 40, then launch about three days later.
The launch scheduled to take place on December 19 would be SpaceX’s first since a Falcon 9 rocket exploded two minutes after its liftoff on June 28. The cargo was all set to take necessary supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). The strut in the rocket’s upper-stage oxidizer tank was blamed for the accident.
Orbcomm Inc., whose 11 OG2 satellites will ride to low Earth orbit on the upcoming launch, said the liftoff would occur between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET. CEO Marc Eisenberg on Wednesday said that the satellites were fueled and were attached to their dispensers and were waiting for SpaceX to confirm a launch date.
In addition, NASA recently made an announcement that SpaceX's next launch of a Dragon capsule carrying ISS cargo will be planned for no earlier than January 8.
Ven Feng, manager of NASA's ISS Transportation Integration Office, after Sunday’s launch of an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft, said, “We’re looking forward to having them whenever they’re ready to come to station”.
The Orbcomm mission would be SpaceX's seventh launch of 2015, including the failure, and bring to 17 the total number of Cape Canaveral launches this year.