Tag Archives: Cassiope

The second static fire test of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, planned for yesterday, has been rescheduled for Wednesday.

The second static fire test of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, planned for yesterday, has been rescheduled for Wednesday.

A delay until the end of September for the actually launch is now certain, since the launch facility and range will be tied up in the interim with other activities.

When will SpaceX launch the upgraded Falcon 9? We have competing news stories:

When will SpaceX launch the upgraded Falcon 9? We have competing news stories:

  • The Canadian Space Agency sent out a press release today saying Cassiope will launch on September 15 on its Falcon 9 rocket.
  • Elon Musk sent out a twitter report of yesterday’s static fire test, noting there were anomalies and that the launch date is still to be determined.

This is very puzzling. That the Canadian release was sent out today suggests that they have information we don’t have about the static fire test and thus knew they could announce the launch date. That Musk is more circumspect however suggests that the information the Canadians have is not correct.

Update: Stephen Clark at Spaceflight Now has more information. It appears the launch will not happen on Sunday, as SpaceX plans a second launchpad static test tomorrow to iron out the unexplained “anomalies” in yesterday’s static test.

SpaceX successfully completed a static test of the 9 first stage engines of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket today.

SpaceX successfully completed a static test of the 9 first stage engines of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket today.

SpaceX’s upgraded Falcon 9 rocket briefly fired nine Merlin 1D engines on the launch pad Thursday, but engineers will review data from the prelaunch static fire test before confirming the mission’s targeted Sunday launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sources familiar with SpaceX’s launch preparations said.

Today’s static fire test and launch rehearsal of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was scrubbed.

Wednesday’s static fire test and launch rehearsal of SpaceX’s Falcon 9R rocket was scrubbed.

I hear rumors that there was a fuel leak, but this is not confirmed. Regardless, this scrub could cause another delay of Sunday’s planned launch of the upgraded Falcon 9R with its first commercial payload, as the company wants to do this test prior to launch.

The first commercial launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has been pushed back to September 14.

The first commercial launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has been pushed back to September 14.

I must apologize to my readers. I completely missed this news item last week. However, in my defense SpaceX has been unusually tight-lipped this time with information.

The launch itself also seems dependent on a hot fire engine test that SpaceX wishes to do first, which means that the September 14 date might still be pushed back again.

SpaceX has signed a contract with MDA to launch all three of Canada’s next generation Radarsat satellites.

The competition heats up: SpaceX has signed a contract with MDA to launch all three of Canada’s next generation Radarsat satellites.

MDA’s willingness to go with SpaceX prior to the September 5 launch of its Cassiope satellite on the Falcon 9 illustrates again the confidence they have in SpaceX. At the same time, this contract is for launches expected to occur around 2018, which is a long way away. Much can happen till then, including the possibility that SpaceX will go bust.

In other words, right now it is the successful launch of Falcon 9 that is of significance, not these new contracts. Only if those launches succeed will these contracts then become really significant.

SpaceX has begun assembly of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket that will launch its first commercial payload in early September.

The competition heats up: SpaceX has begun assembly of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket that will launch its first commercial payload in early September.

This launch has been significantly delayed because the company was testing the actual engines to be used in the rocket, and had a series of engine aborts during testing (as outlined in the article above). Once the engines completed a full duration burn last week, however, the way was cleared for launch.

The article is very detailed, and also outlines the other new features of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket to be flown for the first time in September. I must admit that this list makes me nervous. A lot rides on the success of this launch, both for SpaceX and for the entire new commercial space industry.