HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) has certified as a Category 3 launch vehicle. Category 3 launch vehicles are certified to support NASA’s highest cost and most complex scientific missions. The following statement is from SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell:
“LSP Category 3 certification is a major achievement for the Falcon 9 team and represents another key milestone in our close partnership with NASA. We are honored to have the opportunity to provide cost-effective and reliable launch services to the country’s most critical scientific payloads.’
The process of designating launch vehicles as Category 3 is designed to assure the highest practical probability of success. Falcon 9 has completed over 60 missions, including the NASA LSP missions Jason-3 and TESS.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been delayed until Wednesday, Feb. 21. The launch had been previously scheduled for Feb. 16 and Feb. 18.
The primary payload is the Paz satellite for Hisdesat of Spain. The spacecraft will provide radar imaging as well as ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage.
Elon Musk’s company will also launch two of its own satellites, Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, that will demonstration technologies needed to provide global broadband services. The company plans to orbit 12,000 in two separate constellations for its Starlink broadband service.
Here is the launch schedule for the next two weeks. Check for updates here.
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payload: Paz Launch Time: 9:17 a.m. EST; 6:17 a.m. PST (1417 GMT) Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Built by Airbus Defense and Space, Hisdesat’s Paz satellite will provide radar imaging as well as ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage.
Launch Vehicle: H-2A Payload: IGS Optical 6 Launch Window: 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. EST on Feb. 24 (0400-0600 GMT on Feb. 25) Launch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan
The Japanese government’s Information Gathering Satellite carries an optical reconnaissance payload.
NASA will not publicly release the results of its own investigation into the catastrophic failure of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched a Dragon resupply ship into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2015.
After saying it would release a summary of the agency’s investigation, NASA passed the buck to the FAA on an accident that destroyed $118 million worth of cargo the space agency was sending to the International Space Station (ISS).
“Since it was an FAA licensed flight, NASA is not required to complete a formal final report or public summary, and has deferred any additional products related to the matter at this time,” the agency’s Public Affairs Office (PAO) said in an email.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Jason-3, a U.S.-European oceanography satellite mission with NASA participation that will continue a nearly quarter-century record of tracking global sea level rise, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday at 10:42 a.m. PST (1:42 p.m. EST) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The launch of Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to continue U.S.- European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surfaces, is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016.
Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4 East is targeted for 10:42:18 a.m. PST (1:42:18 p.m. EST) at the opening of a 30-second launch window.
NASA TV launch commentary coverage of the countdown will begin at 8 a.m. PST (11 a.m. EST). Spacecraft separation from the rocket occurs 55 minutes after launch.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Preparations are proceeding smoothly at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for the planned Sunday launch of the Jason-3 environmental satellite. The 30-second launch window on Jan. 17 opens at 10:42:18 a.m. PST.
With the failure of the Falcon 9 on Sunday, SpaceX’s only launch vehicle will be grounded for an unknown number of months while engineers identify the cause of the crash and make necessary changes to ensure that failure won’t happen again.