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SpaceX targets launch of communication satellite on Monday

SpaceX targets launch of communication satellite on Monday

Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, May 15, 2017, from from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "Everyone at Inmarsat, SpaceX and Boeing is really, really pumped about this launch". Inmarsat-5 F4 communications satellite, the heaviest spacecraft yet to be delivered by a Falcon booster into a geostationary transfer orbit some 22,300 miles (35,800 km) above Earth.

Liftoff from historic 39-A is set for 7:20 p.m.

Getting F4 into its intended orbit emptied the Falcon's fuel tanks, leaving no propellant for the booster's first stage to attempt a landing on either a drone barge or the ground. However, since the company has not brought those into commercial flights yet, it made a decision to go with a regular Falcon.

The Orlando Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2rhP2c8) reports that SpaceX will not try to land and recover the spent booster after it delivers its payload because its weight, 13,000 pounds, requires far too much fuel and would make a landing attempt too hard. More than 55,000 watched the broadcast on SpaceX's YouTube site.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 is tuning out to be a real work-horse.

Spectators who have become used to seeing and hearing the landing of the Falcon 9's first stage would be disappointed.

Of the six flights launched by SpaceX so far this year, four stages were successfully recovered, two on off-shore drone ships and two back at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The launch weather forecast looks good, with an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions during a 49-minute window at KSC's pad 39A.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off early Monday, carrying a classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite into orbit. SpaceX's heavy-lift launcher could debut later this year, but for schedule reasons the mission was switched to the latest version of the Falcon 9.


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