Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023
SpaceX Preparing for Falcon 9 Mission to Launch Communication Satellites

After conducting back-to-back rocket launches, SpaceX is now preparing for another mission. The upcoming Falcon 9 mission is scheduled for Sunday afternoon and will lift two communication satellites into medium-Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The launch window for the SES O3b mPOWER mission on Sunday is set to open at 4:08 p.m. EST and will close at 5:37 p.m. EST. SES, a Luxembourg-based satellite operator, previously launched a pair of O3b mPOWER satellites in April. These satellites were built by Boeing and are aimed at providing reliable broadband internet access to currently underserved areas of the world.

The upcoming mission will be the fifth and sixth satellites launched as part of the SpaceX-powered SES O3b mPOWER missions. In total, 13 satellites will be launched, each entering orbits approximately 5,000 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Following Sunday’s launch, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster will attempt a landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. This landing maneuver allows SpaceX to mitigate sonic booms and minimize disruption to the Space Coast area.

The 45th Weather Squadron of the Space Force has forecasted a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch. The primary weather concerns include cumulus clouds at the Cape and upper-level wind shear that could impact the booster’s landing at sea.

SES has provided updates on its upcoming O3b mPOWER internet constellation. Commercial service for the constellation is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2024. SES has also identified and formulated a plan to address power module issues with the first four satellites already in orbit. Additionally, the company is planning to upgrade and add additional satellites to improve overall capacity and operational life of the constellation.

SpaceX continues to be at the forefront of commercial space launches, contributing to the expansion of global communication capabilities and access to reliable internet services.