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SpaceX launches a rare consumer mission Tuesday night



  There is a dirty Falcon 9 first stage rocket on the Amos-17 launch pad.
Enlarge / There is a dirty Falcon 9 first stage rocket on the Amos-17 launch tamp.

SpaceX

Less than two and a half years have passed since SpaceX first reused one of the first stages of the Falcon 9 rocket. But in the 28 months since the historic launch of the SES-1

0 communications satellite on a previously flown booster, SpaceX has made reuse routines. The company has now launched the previously floated Falcon 9 stages more than two dozen times.

Since the news of vertical launching a rocket, landing it, and then firing it out again has worn off, there has been a quite remarkable change of sea in attitudes towards this technology. While before the launch of SES-10 satellite skeptics flourished, there are an increasing number of converts to be found worldwide.

Russian aerospace officers have gone from defusing the economy through reusable launches to creating a new design agency with the express purpose of studying and developing reusable launch cars. For a long time, European rocket scientists also wondered about the utility of reuse. Now they are also studying how to develop a Falcon 9-like rocket. Japan's next rocket for its new H3 booster is likely to be reusable, and a number of Chinese companies are also studying – or maybe just copying – the SpaceX model.

It is therefore somewhat surprising to see a SpaceX launch that does not culminate in a rocket landing. But that's what will happen Tuesday during an 87-minute launch window that opens at 1 p.m. 21:21 ET (00:21 UTC Wednesday), as SpaceX will attempt to launch the Amos-17 satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit for Spacecom, an Israeli communications company. SpaceX gives the launch free of charge following a static fire test failure of Falcon 9 in September 2016, which destroyed the Amos-6 satellite.

This first phase previously flew twice for the Telstar-19 VANTAGE mission in July, 2018 and the Es & # 39; hail-2 mission in November 2018. Due to the high energy requirements for this mission – the satellite weighs 6, 5 tonnes – SpaceX will not attempt to recover the first phase. After the launch, SpaceX will attempt to recover one or both of the payload with its recovery vessels Ms. Tree and GO Navigator .

The webcast for Tuesday night's mission from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, should begin approximately 15 minutes before the launch window opens. Weather conditions, with potential for showers or thunderstorms, are not optimal. But given the long-term launch window, the company has a decent shot to start on Tuesday.

Amos-17 webcast.


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