SpaceX is targeting Monday, July 20, for its rescheduled launch of a South Korean military satellite called ANASIS-II (Army/Navy/Air Force Satellite Information System 2). The launch had originally been planned for last week, but had to be delayed so the company could “take a closer look at the second stage” and “swap hardware if needed.”
All testing now seemed to be complete, and SpaceX confirmed it would be aiming to make the launch today.
Targeting Monday, July 20 for Falcon 9 launch of ANASIS-II from SLC-40
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 18, 2020
“SpaceX is targeting Monday, July 20 for Falcon 9’s launch of the ANASIS-II mission, which will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida,” the company said in a statement. “The primary launch window opens at 5:00 p.m. EDT, or 21:00 UTC, and closes at 8:55 p.m. EDT, or 00:55 UTC on July 21.”
To watch the launch, you can use the video link above or head to SpaceX’s launch webpage.
Coverage begins 15 minutes before launch, at 4:45 p.m. ET, and will show the vehicle’s liftoff and first stage separation, with the ANASIS-II satellite deploying 32 minutes after liftoff. The first stage will fall to the Atlantic Ocean and SpaceX aims to catch it on its drone ship Just Read the Instructions. Live coverage will end after the landing of the first stage, which the company says is due to the customer’s request, presumably for reasons of security.
This launch will use a Falcon 9 rocket — and not just any Falcon 9. The first stage is the same one that carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station as part of the historic first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon capsule. This event marked the first time that U.S. astronauts had been launched from U.S. soil since the shuttering of the space shuttle program in 2011.
SpaceX has made great strides in making rockets reusable in the last decade, and is now regularly able to reuse rocket first stages for multiple launches. The company is still working on making its second stages reusable, which is a more difficult engineering challenge than reusable first stages due to the fact the rocket is already at orbital velocity when the second stage is discarded.
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