Fresh off an effective flight campaign in 2018, which included a record 21 missions, SpaceX comes back to the launchpad Friday for its first mission of the new year. The quick launch window opens at 10:31am ET (15:31 UTC).
This will be SpaceX’s eighth and last launch to build out a constellation of 75 modern communications satellites for Iridium. For this mission, SpaceX will be launching 10 of the Iridium NEXT satellites to a low Earth polar orbit.
The first stage for this mission previously flew in September, launching the Telstar 18 Vantage mission into geostationary transfer orbit. It made an on-target ocean landing in generally high seas amid the middle of the Atlantic hurricane season. This time, the rocket will attempt to land on the droneship Just Read the Instructions positioned in the Pacific Ocean.
All things considered, this ought to be a genuinely standard mission for SpaceX, with no crazy flight profiles or trial tests. All things considered, a Falcon 9 rocket has flown this approximate mission seven times previously, and this first stage is “proven” in the sense that it has already flown once.
SpaceX isn’t expected to attempt a payload-fairing recovery, as the organization is as yet idealizing its technique for doing as such. In addition to studying information acquired from before launches, SpaceX has been dropping a fairing half from a helicopter off the California coast and attempting to catch it with the vessel Mr. Steven. Earlier this week, the organization released some rather arresting footage of one of those tests.
After 18 missions in 2017 and 21 missions in 2018, it isn’t realized what number of rocket launches SpaceX will focus in 2019. In any case, a reasonable guess is that the organization will attempt 16 to 20 Falcon 9 launches and two to three Falcon Heavy flights.
A webcast for Friday morning’s launch attempt should start around 15 minutes before the launch window opens. Should inclement weather (a 60 percent shot of ideal conditions) or a technical issue preclude a launch attempt, SpaceX has a back-up window accessible on Saturday morning at 15:25 UTC.