Now that SpaceX have issued confirmation that it had what is reported to be a “good hot fire test” of the Falcon 9 rocket, preparations are currently underway for a Saturday launch of the Telstar communications satellite.
SpaceX tested the nine engines of their Falcon 9 rocket on September 5, conducting what is known as a static-fire test. According to Space, after this successful test, SpaceX announced on Twitter that the upcoming launch would be taking place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida on September 8.
“Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete—targeting September 8 launch of Telstar 18 VANTAGE from Pad 40 in Florida.”
Despite delays, SpaceX has set a launch window over the space of four hours on Saturday, with this window beginning at 11:28 p.m. EDT.
The next thing that will be done to prepare for the launch of the Falcon 9 will involve actually hooking up the payload, which in this particular case is the Telstar 18 Vantage communications satellite, otherwise known as the Telstar 18V.
This important satellite will be used by Hong Kong’s APT Satellite Co. Ltd. It should be noted that in July, SpaceX launched the Telstar 19V and that the upcoming launch of the Telstar 18V will mark the third satellite of this series.
No change to the 45th Weather Squadron's L-2 Launch Mission Execution Forecast for Saturday's SpaceX Falcon 9 launch with Telstar 18V. Launch window opens at 11:28pm EDT with 60% of acceptable conditions pic.twitter.com/pJKpPc18OA
— NASA Nate (@NASA_Nerd) September 6, 2018
It will be the Falcon 9 “Block 5” that will carry the Telstar into space and launch it into geostationary orbit. Once fully in place and operating, the new satellite will be working with communications that run from Pakistan and India and that stretch as far away as Hawaii, making it an invaluable tool, and it is estimated that the Telstar 18V will be in use for as long as 15 years.
SpaceX will once again work to land the Block 5 first stage so that this can be used again on other missions, as was done in July when launching the 19V. The first stage will be hitting Earth once again when it lands on the drone ship that has been given the endearing name Of Course I Still Love You. A few days after reaching the drone ship, it will be back again at Port Canaveral so that it can be completely refurbished for its next mission.
According to the U.S. Air Force, the weather is looking good for Saturday, and as of this writing, there is a 60 percent chance that conditions will render it favorable for SpaceX to launch the Falcon 9 with the accompanying Telstar satellite on Saturday within the four-hour time frame that they have planned.