by Chris Tobias
Ladies and menfolk, there’s a launch to be done!
If all goes according to plan (and that’s a big IF, given all the variables that go into the business of launching rockets), SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 on Wednesday evening, February 24 at 6:46pm EST that will carry the SES-9 commercial communications satellite into the black and deliver it to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit.
An evening launch is planned for tomorrow from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. There is a launch window of approximately 90 minutes that opens at 6:46:14pm EST, but a back-up launch window will open at 6:46:17pm EST on Thursday, February 25 if it becomes necessary. (Right now the weather is about 60% GO for launch.) Regardless of when the Falcon 9 breaks atmo, though, the satellite will be deployed a little over a half hour after liftoff.
After stage separation, SpaceX will attempt another landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9 on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You. The SpaceX press kit for the SES-9 mission calls the landing attempt “experimental” and cautions that “… a successful landing is not expected.” SpaceX already made history with the successful landing of the first stage of a Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral in December of last year, but they have yet to land a Falcon 9 successfully on a droneship at sea despite several attempts. Although the odds for a successful landing may not be in their favor, Elon Musk and company have done the impossible before, so we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they bring that rocket in like a downy feather after all!
You can watch all the spectacular action along with us and the rest of the ‘verse starting approximately 20 minutes before launch at www.spacex.com/webcast. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #SpaceXSerenityCrew for any social media posts before, during and after the launch, so we can let SpaceX know that we’re all in favor of the name Serenity for their first Crew Dragon that will break atmo with a crew of American astronauts next year.
Here’s to a shiny launch day. Peace, love and rockets…