SpaceX, which made history in April with a dramatic sea landing of its reusable rocket booster, is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Wednesday with two communications satellites.
It will attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic, but it was unclear this morning which drone ship will be used.
The April mission was the second successful landing of the reusable booster, but the first time it stuck a landing on a drone ship anchored off Florida’s coast. It was the fifth attempt to land a booster on the ship dubbed “Of course I still love you.”
The second drone ship is named “Just read the instructions.” The names were chosen by SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk to honor the sci-fi author Iain M. Banks.
Wednesday’s launch is scheduled to for 10:29 a.m. The launch window is open until 11:17 a.m.
Matt Bragaw, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said there’s an 80 percent chance the weather will cooperate for the launch.
The only concern is a slight chance of thunderstorms in the morning. But he believes the storms will hold off until afternoon when the sea breeze starts to stir things up.
“From what we can see, it doesn’t look like a high risk of problems,” Bragaw said. “The launch window closes just about the time the sea breezes usually begin to develop.”
The rocket will carry the Eutelsat and ABS-2A satellites into space. Eutelsat, built by Boeing, will provide Latin America with video, data and mobile services.
The ABS-2A, also built by Boeing, will provide coverage for Asia, Rusia, the Middle East and Africa.
On Saturday, America’s most powerful rocket took off from the Cape with a defense surveillance satellite.
United Launch Alliance’s impressive Delta-4 Heavy rocket is the largest of a family of expendable workhorse rockets, using two additional rocket booster cores operating at full thrust during liftoff.