BulgariaSat-1 will launch into space atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this coming Saturday afternoon from Cape Canaveral, FL, USA.
In addition to being the nation’s first geostationary communications satellite, this launch will also add a note to the history of spaceflight as the second such launch to utilize a previously flown booster. The flight is the latest in SpaceX’s ambitious development program to make reusable launch vehicles 100% reusable in the hopes of reducing the overall cost of access to space by an order of magnitude. The first stage of this particular rocket was launched on January 14 and carried multiple satellites to add to the Iridium communications constellation before successfully landing under its own power.
“Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have convinced me that people like them bring us closer to a new quality of life through providing access to cutting-edge technology,” stated BulgariaSat chief executive Maxim Zayakov. “This is a chance for Bulgaria to join the efforts to develop these new aspects of space industry.”
The scheduled two-hour long launch window opens at 1410 EDT (1810 UTC) from the historic Launch Complex 39A, the former launching pad of the American Space Shuttle. The launch will be streamed live from SpaceX’s YouTube channel and at spacex.com.
Jeff here, Take Back the Sky‘s resident rocket scientist. Those of you who were tuning in with us over the past week for the launch of the Falcon 9 and the SES-8 satellite but aren’t familiar with “the way of things” in the space business may feel a little put-out and running out of patience with the multiple false starts. Those of us who’ve always been space advocates and those of us who live in Florida understand, though, that, for rocket scientists and astronauts, re-scheduling launches, or “scrubbing,” is a fact of life. Having a rocket, whether it’s a Falcon or the space shuttle take off on the first try is actually kind of rare. Continue Reading
So, the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch scheduled for earlier this week had some minor hardware glitches and had to be “scrubbed” or re-scheduled–it happens. The new launch of the first payload to geostationary orbit (commonly referred to by rocket scientists as “GEO”, where it’s flying high and fast enough to always hover over the same spot on the Earth’s surface) has been moved to Thursday evening, the soonest that the skies will be clear.
Falcon 9 sits on the pad at Kennedy Space Center, carrying a major communications satellite that will provide service to Asia.
While it’s no doubt generating mixed feelings among the SpaceX workforce (Thanksgiving at home with the family versus launching a rocket…), it works out just shiny for us Browncoats: Football not your thing? Then why not tune in to the SpaceX live stream after dinner? What could be a better geek Thanksgiving than gathering around after the feast to watch a rocket ascend upon a column of brilliant flames? Watch with us, then comment on your reactions on our sites!