SpaceX ties ULA's annual launch record with 16th launch this year

Oct 31, 2017, 00:17

Visitors to the Kennedy Space Center on Monday will have access to two viewing areas for the launch.

The U.S. Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron released its launch forecast, in which officials said there was a 90-percent chance weather would cooperate for launch. The primary concern is cumulus clouds.

After launch and following stage separation, the rocket will return to Earth for a soft landing onto a SpaceX "drone ship" stationed off of the Florida coast.

To that end, the company is also gearing up to fly its first test of the long-awaited Falcon Heavy rocket - a large launcher created to bring bigger payloads to orbit and beyond in the near future. A 2 hour, 24 minute window for the launch is scheduled to open at 3:34 p.m.

Koreasat-5A is the second satellite launched this year for South Korean satellite operator KT Sat, following an Ariane 5 dual launch of Koreasat-7 and Brazil's SGDC satellite in May.

Following Monday's attempt, it is likely that SpaceX will launch two or three additional missions in 2017, which would bring the company's tally for the year to 19 missions.

The upcoming mission is expected to take roughly 30 minutes from liftoff to the satellite's deployment in an initial orbit reaching as high as 37,000 miles.

Manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and located at 113°E, Koreasat-5A will provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcast, broadband, and backhaul services with its Ku-Band capacity. This satellite in particular will provide coverage of the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, South China Sea and the East China Sea, according to SpaceX.

Zuma's launch is now targeted for a two-hour window opening at 8 p.m. EST on November 15 (0100 GMT on November 16).

It was the third successful launch in the McLean, Virginia-based company's campaign to replace its entire globe-circling fleet with a total of 75 next-generation communications satellites.

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