SpaceX had to delay the launch of Falcon 9’s first geostationary transfer mission until Dec. 3, with a launch window set for 5:37 p.m. EST, 2:37 p.m. PST. The live stream will begin at 5 p.m. EST, 2 p.m. PST.
It was supposed to be the Space Exploration Technologies’ first commercial mission but technical glitches on Nov. 25 and on Thanksgiving delayed the launch until Monday. On Twitter, Elon Musk said the first delay was due to pressure fluctuations while the second delay was due to slower-than-expected thrust buildup. On Nov. 28, SpaceX announced a third attempt for Dec. 2 but moved the launch back to Dec. 3 for precautionary reasons.
All known rocket anomalies resolved. Will spend another day rechecking to be sure. Launch attempt tmrw eve w Wed as backup.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2013
As reported by Reuters, the Falcon 9 has a perfect flight record, including two resupply missions to the International Space Station, the Cassiope satellite launch and three test flights. The three launches have been to low-Earth orbits, and the launch of the Canadian Space Agency’s Cassiope satellite was the first for the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, now equipped with Merlin 1D engines.
The seventh Falcon 9 launch would be its first geostationary transfer orbit mission and its first commercial mission. The rocket is carrying the SES-8 telecommunications satellite, ordered from SES World Skies and manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corp. The satellite would serve South Asia and Indo-China while boosting existing capabilities. The SES-8 launch is also the first commercial satellite launch from Cape Canaveral in four years, Reuters reported.
SpaceX has several commercial contracts in addition to its ISS resupply contract with NASA. Reuters reports the company has 50 scheduled launches totaling close to $4 billion, and the launch of the SES-8 satellite is worth $55 million. In addition to supply and commercial missions, SpaceX hopes to have manned missions using the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft.
The Falcon 9 SES-8 launch live stream can be viewed below, beginning at 5 p.m. EST, 2 p.m. PST.
Charles Poladian joined IBTimes in October 2012 and, when not reporting on all things topical, can be found reading or photographing concerts.