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SpaceX fires Falcon 9 booster on pad 39A, aiming for comsat launch Thursday – Spaceflight Now

An effluent eruption from the flame tap at the cushion 39A during a burnout of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket…

An effluent eruption from the flame tap at the cushion 39A during a burnout of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Monday night. Credit: William Harwood / CBS News

SpaceX tested a Falcon 9 rocket on Monday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and cleared the way for a launch Thursday with Qatars Es ™ hail 2 communications satellite, the first daily move from Florida Space Coast for more than six months.

The rocket is nine Merlin 1D engines in the first step ignited at 8.30 EST Monday (0130 GMT Tuesday) and fired for several seconds as retention restrictions held the Falcon 9 grounded at the 39A cushion, the historical former starting point for many space launches and Saturn 5 moonshots.

SpaceX recovered from an apparently interrupted hotfire attempt Monday morning, charged petroleum and liquid oxygen fuel in the launch, completing the static fire after nightcrafts monday.

The two-stage rocket is set to blow with a previously-flooded first-stage booster recovered on SpaceX’s navy ship in the Atlantic after the July 22 launch of the Telstar 19 VANTAGE communications satellite.

The rocket will be rolled back to the hangar, connected to its commercial satellite payload and returned to the 39A dummy in time for a launch window that opens at 3:46 pm EST (2046 GMT) Thursday.

SpaceX is expected to try further landing of the rocket after Thursday’s liftoff, again aboard the drones “Of Course I Still Love You” a few hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral.

The launch level for Thursday’s launch is Es & hail 2, built in Japan by Mitsubishi Electric Corp., and is owned by Qatar’s national satellite communications company, Es. HailSat. Equipped with Ku-band and Ka-band transponders, Es 2 will provide television broadcasting, broadband and government services to Qatar and neighboring parts of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

The spacecraft also carries the first two amateur radio aerials to fly in geostationary lanes, linking hobbyists over one third of the Earth’s surface in a single jump from as far west as Brazil and as far east as India.

In a statement earlier this year, the Epsilon said new satellite features “sophisticated anti-jamming capabilities” to limit disturbances and significantly expand the company’s offerings currently provided by Es & # 39; hail 1, launched in 2013 on board on an Ariane 5 rocket.

The launch on Thursday will mark the 63th flight of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and this year’s 18th SpaceX mission.

It will also end a race of night launches at Cape Canaveral, stretching back to May 11 when a Falcon 9 rocket last flew from the cushion 39A. A series of launches from Cape Canaveral by SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance over the summer and autumn have all occurred during the night.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .

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