Launch Double Feature on Tap for Wednesday

Ariane 5 liftoff (Credit: ESA)

If you like rocket launches — and who doesn’t? — you’re in for a treat on Wednesday with two liftoffs 15 minutes apart.

Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5
Payloads: Galileo 23-26 navigation satellites
Launch time: 7:25:01 a.m. EDT; 4:25:01 PDT (1125:01 GMT)
Launch site: Kourou, French Guiana
Webcast: (Coverage begins at 7:00 a.m. EDT/1100 GMT)

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payloads: Iridium Next 56-65 communications satellites
Launch Time: 7:39:26 a.m. EDT; 4:39:26 a.m. PDT (1139:26 GMT)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Webcast: (Coverage begins 20 minutes before launch)

The timing is perfect for folks on the East Coast and in Europe, but not so much for us out here in California. If I can roll out of bed in time, I’ll try to take some video of the Falcon 9 launch from here in Mojave. No promises.

The launch will be the 13th for the Falcon 9 and the 14th flight overall for Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2018. The company’s other launch was the successful maiden flight of Falcon Heavy in February.

A successful mission on Wednesday will put the United States in a tie with China with 20 launches apiece this year. The two launches will bring the worldwide total to 61 for the year.

Ariane 5 will be launching for the third time this year. It will also be the fourth launch of 2018 from Kourou.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Congratulations on another success for SpaceX!

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Another great AM for Iridium and SpaceX. No sunlit propellant spill to admire. My colleague on Kitt Peak went out to look and could only see the engine glow.

  • Douglas Messier

    Slept through this one. Night launches are something to see from here in Mojave, especially if there are SRBs attached. Hopefully next time.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The beauty of SX capturing so much of the international launch market is there’ll always be another launch on another day. The Delta II launches were pretty amazing back in the original Iridium launch campaign. Even from Tucson you could see the strap on SRB’s falling away and venting vapors as they fell. I’m waiting for a F9H out of there. Any optical satellite going into sun sync is going to have favorable sun geometry for illuminating the exhaust plume. A F9H under those conditions is going to make for one amazing show. I can imagine in your sky it will be all the more amazing.