SpaceX is planning to launch the EchoStar 23 communication satellite on March 14th. For the occasion, the company also set out a live webcast, one that will transmit the event as it is taking place.
On its official website, SpaceX revealed details about its upcoming launch. One of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying the EchoStar 23 satellite. This will be deployed on a GTO or Geostationary Transfer Orbit.
SpaceX is planning on launching the EchoStar 23 on Tuesday, March 14th, at 5:34 a.m. UTC or 1:34 a.m. EDT.
According to a company press release, SpaceX also has a backup plan. In case the Tuesday take off fails to take place, it already determined a second launch window. This was set for Thursday, March 16th. The time frame will be approximately the same. This was set for 5:35 a.m. UTC or 1:35 a.m. EDT.
Initially, the EchoStar 23 was set to lift off last year. However, a series of events caused it to be pushed back several times. For example, the company’s decision to ground its rockets for a specific period of time. As it is, SpaceX will be looking to launch the satellite tomorrow. Tuesday’s prospective launch will also have a new location.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellite will be launched from Pad 39A. This a historic location housed by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Most of the Apollo moon missions lifted off from this pad. Back in 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-year lease which gave it permission to use the location.
Nonetheless, EchoStar 23 will only be its second launch from Pad 39A. The first lift-off took place last month and also involved a Falcon 9 rocket. On Tuesday, the aerospace company will have a 2 hours launch window. According to the company, the satellite will be deployed around 34 minutes after the lift off.
For this event, SpaceX also set up a webcast which will offer a live transmission.
This can be accessed here. In the same release that announced the webcast, SpaceX also stated the following. The company will not try to land the rocket’s first stage. Until now, the company successfully landed 8 such Falcon 9 rocket parts. However, this will be quite impossible on Tuesday. Reportedly, the rocket will not have enough fuel left in order to attempt a landing.
This is because the EchoStar 23 is quite heavy and large, coming up to 12,100 lbs. It will also be aiming high as it will target a GTO. According to Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and owner, the first stage will be “too hot and heavy” to re-land.
If all goes according to plan, the EchoStar communication satellite should become operational by the end of June 2017. It will be a part of the EchoStar Corporation global satellite network.
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