UPDATE: Planet-hunting satellite launch delayed

UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: Space X has canceled its launch today, hoping to try for a Wednesday launch window.

Previous story: A planet-hunting satellite is scheduled to launch tonight from Cape Canaveral aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is scheduled for liftoff at 6:32 p.m. with a 30-second launch window. A backup launch window opens Tuesday at 6:13 p.m.

On its two-year mission, TESS will look for planets smaller than Earth all the way to gas giants. It will do this by monitoring more than 200,000 bright host stars.

Regular dips in the brightness of stars could indicate orbiting planets.

The launch will be webcast on the SpaceX website and NASA TV.

Space X will attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on the “Of course I still love you” drone ship offshore.

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. 

Space X drone ship “Just read the instructions.”

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff.

Today, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is hosting several events to be broadcast live on NASA TV. View the TESS Briefings and Events page for the full list of event participants.

Worlds orbiting other stars are called exoplanets.

Thousands of exoplanets have already been discovered. In 2016, NASA developed a unique way to introduce some of them to the public with an whimsical vacation-planning guide.

Described as being similar to Luke Skywalker’s Tatooine, this planet orbits a pair of stars.
This so-called “rogue planet” doesn’t orbit a parent sun. Artists envisioned a place “Where the nightlife never ends.”

The wonders of space can be difficult for people to grasp because it sometimes comes across as just data, said Joby Harris, a visual strategist with NASA during a 2016 interview.

“Our universe has gotten so much bigger but people aren’t talking about it,” Harris said. “The power of imagery with science really makes the connection with people.”

An artist’s rendition of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.

Tickets for Feb. 6 SpaceX launch of “world’s most powerful rocket” already selling out

SpaceX is preparing to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral and tickets to see the much-anticipated takeoff are on sale at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex or its website.

The Falcon Heavy is touted as the first rocket capable of taking astronauts to Mars with three modified Falcon 9 engines working together to make the “world’s most powerful rocket.”

SpaceX has confirmed a launch date of Feb. 6 for Falcon Heavy. It completed the first static-fire launch pad test Wednesday.

Ticket packages to watch the launch run from the $195 per person for the “Feel the Heat” package to the more humble “Close” package at $35.

Rebecca Shireman, a spokeswoman working with the center on the ticket sales, said the “Feel the Heat” package has sold out.

Too bad. If you have the money, here’s what it includes:

  • Apollo/Saturn V Center (ASVC) Launch Viewing, the closest you can get to the launch pad
  • 2-Day admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
  • Exclusive Shuttle Landing Facility Experience including seeing the final wheel stop for STS-135, space shuttle Atlantis
  • Catered meal
  • (2) Drink tickets
  • Champagne toast with commemorative glass
  • SpaceX hat
  • Digital photo at ASVC
  • Vehicle placard, required for visitor complex parking

The center is calling the launch a “once-in-a-lifetime event” with the rocket taking off from historic launch pad 39A where Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong set course for the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969.

Other ticket packages are as follows:

“Closest” at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (SOLD OUT)
Location: Space Shuttle Atlantis North lawn viewing
Cost: $115 per person
• Two– day admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
• Launch viewing from the Space Shuttle Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Location
• Buffet meal
• Keepsakes such as SpaceX sticker and a commemorative item
• Visitor complex parking*
• Jumbotron access and live, expert commentary of launch and landing
• Live programing
• Launch party featuring a live DJ, beach balls, noise makers, giveaways and more
• Digital photo on the day of the launch with special background options

Package: “Closer”
Location: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Cost: $75 per person
• Two-day admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
• A commemorative keepsake
• Visitor complex parking*
• Full access to the activities, exhibits, shows and displays at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex pre- and post-launch
• Jumbotron access and live, expert commentary of launch and landing
• Digital photo on the day of the launch with special background options

*A limited number of preferred parking passes are available for the above packages at an additional cost of $15

Package: “Close”
Location: ATX Center on Vectorspace Blvd.
Cost: $35
• Viewing access
• Vectorspace parking
• Jumbotron access and live, expert commentary of launch and landing
• Food, beverage and retail items will be available for purchase

Falcon Heavy

Don’t miss: Rocket launch Thursday to paint the sky blue, green and red

A NASA rocket launch scheduled for Thursday is expected to paint the early morning skies in luminescent blues, greens and reds in a test of new equipment for studying Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The launch will take place between 4:25 a.m. and 4:48 a.m. from the Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia with the colorful skies seen from North Carolina to New York.

But it can be watched live on the Wallops Ustream site, and on its Facebook page. 

Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket

Live coverage online begins on the Wallops Ustream site at 3:45 a.m. on launch day and Wallops Facebook Live coverage begins at 4 a.m.

During the flight, 10 soft drink-sized canisters will be deployed forming blue, green and red artificial clouds.

“These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space,” NASA says on its website.

Ground cameras will be stationed at Wallops and in Duck, North Carolina, to view the vapor tracers. Clear skies are required at one of the two ground stations for this test.

Watch live: SpaceX rocket launches tonight

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch tonight in a takeoff that can be watched via webcast or possibly seen from South Florida depending on evening skies.

The launch is scheduled for 7:21 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. The launch window is 49 minutes.

A backup launch date of Tuesday has been set with the same launch time of 7:21 p.m.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon lift off from Launch Pad 39A on Feb. 19, 2017

The 45th Weather Squadron that issues forecasts for launches is giving tonight’s launch an 80 percent chance of going as scheduled.

East winds building cumulous clouds and anvil clouds born of inland storms are the primary concerns.

Falcon 9 is SpaceX’s two-stage rocket. It will carry the Inmarsat 5 F4 communications satellite into orbit.

While the two-stage rocket is designed so that the first stage can land and be reused, Space.com says that won’t happen with this mission because the Falcon 9 won’t have enough fuel to land after carrying the satellite into space.

To see the launch via webcast, go to http://www.spacex.com/webcast.

Breaking: SpaceX successfully launches and lands rocket

SpaceX successfully launched its first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office and landed the rocket for reuse.

The mission, which was originally scheduled for Sunday, launched this morning just after 7 a.m.

Update: Watch live coverage this morning of SpaceX’s second attempt to launch the NROL satellite.

The liftoff of SpaceX, which was originally set for Sunday morning, is now scheduled for Monday at 7 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center.

The SpaceX team halted the launch due to an issue with a sensor on a rocket booster.

Original story:

SpaceX is working on a classified mission with the National Reconnaissance Office that launches this weekend on a Falcon 9 rocket.

The Sunday launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center  has a two-hour window beginning at 7 a.m. It is the first mission SpaceX has attempted with the secretive NRO.

A webcast of Sunday’s launch will be available on SpaceX’s website. 

The launch will take place on the historic Launch Complex 39A, which was originally built to support the Apollo program in the 1960s and modified later to support Space Shuttle launches.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon lift off from Launch Pad 39A on Feb. 19, 2017

Neither group has said much about the payload, but the NRO designs, builds and operates U.S. reconnaissance satellites that provide information to several government agencies. According to Wikipedia, the NRO was established in 1960.

Most NRO rocket launch missions get their own patch. This one is NROL-76.

Sunday’s launch will include an attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The 45th Weather Squadron, which does forecasts for Cape launches, is predicting an 80 percent chance of liftoff with the only concerns being winds and cumulus clouds. Maximum upper-level winds will be from the west at 80 mph at 45,000 feet.

According to Space News: 

Sunday’s launch also stands to be the first national security launch for SpaceX since successfully launching and landing a previously flown Falcon 9 booster March 30 on a mission for commercial satellite fleet operator SES. The U.S. government has yet to certify launches using reused boosters for national security spacecraft.

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Breaking: Watch first live 360-degree view of rocket launch today

NASA and United Launch Alliance will live broadcast the first 360-degree view of a rocket launch today as a cargo payload heads to the International Space Station.

The launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is scheduled for 11:11 a.m. with a 30-minute window. The broadcast begins at 11 a.m.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is seen in a December 2015 image in place at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Credits: United Launch Alliance

To see the launch live, go to NASA’s Youtube channel and use your mouse to manipulate the view.

“While virtual reality and 360 technology have been increasing in popularity, live 360 technology is a brand new capability that has recently emerged,” NASA said in a statement. “Recognizing the exciting possibilities opened by applying this new technology to spaceflight, NASA, ULA and Orbital ATK seized this opportunity to virtually place the public at the base of the rocket during launch.”

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft will be loaded with 7,600 pounds of research, supplies and hardware for the space station. It will launch on ULA’s Atlas V rocket.

Under clear skiess, ULA’s massive rocket may be visible from South Florida.

 

Watch live SpaceX launch Thursday from Cape Canaveral

SpaceX is scheduled to launch its Falcon 9 rocket early Thursday morning on a mission to deliver the EchoStar 23 communications satellite into orbit.

But this launch is for night owls only. while you may be able to see the actual rocket blast off from Cape Canaveral in South Florida, its scheduled launch time is 1:35 a.m.

Related: GOES-R satellite to revolutionize weather forecasting

It can also be watched live on SpaceX’s website. The webcast begins at 1:15 a.m.

Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral in 2015

 

The launch is from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. According to NASA, SpaceX will not attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on this launch.

SpaceX had to scrub a March 14 launch because of high winds, but says the weather conditions are 90 percent favorable for tomorrow’s launch.

Related: First images from GOES-16 weather satellite awe scientists 

Catch Sunday’s SpaceX launch with nearly full moon

SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral early Sunday morning, a mission that coincides with a waxing gibbous moon.

The rocket, which is carrying a commercial communications satellite for SKY Perfect JSAT Corp., is scheduled to take off at 1:26 a.m. with a two hour window of opportunity.

Previous nighttime or early morning rocket launches have left strange contrails over Palm Beach County skies.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Atlas V rocket launch vapor trail on Oct. 2 as seen from West Palm Beach. Photo by Post Photo Editor Greg Lovett
Atlas V rocket launch vapor trail on Oct. 2 as seen from West Palm Beach. Photo by Post Photo Editor Greg Lovett

There’s no guarantee the same will happen with this one, but with the light from a moon at 83 percent full, it may make for an otherworldly site if you’re willing to stay up, or get up, to watch it.

Watch Space X rocket crash on burn on landing attempt. 

Following the launch, the first stage of the Falcon 9 will attempt to land on the drone ship “Of course I still love you.” SpaceX’s 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.

If you haven’t yet, join Kim on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Photo courtesy SpaceX
Photo courtesy SpaceX

Watch SpaceX rocket from Wednesday’s launch crash and burn

SpaceX has had several successful landings since April of its reusable rocket booster.

But Wednesday’s launch wasn’t one of them. The booster, which was supposed to land on one of the company’s drone ships off the coast of Florida, crashed and burned on the tarmac.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said one of the engines cut out before landing on the ship, which caused the crash.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Musk, who said he’s expecting a 70 percent success rate on landings this year, called the crash an “RUD”, or rapid unscheduled disassembly.

“2016 is the year of experimentation,” he said in a Tweet.

While the reusable rocket had a rough landing, the Falcon 9 did deliver two communications satellites into space successfully.

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Delta-4 Heavy rocket launch scrubbed Thursday rescheduled

Update 8:52 a.m.: The Delta-4 Heavy rocket launch has been rescheduled for Saturday with a launch window opening at 1:51 p.m. The live broadcast will begin at 1:31 p.m.

The launch, which is happening at Cape Canaveral, was cancelled Thursday because of stormy weather.

Previous story:

United Launch Alliance’s impressive Delta-4 Heavy rocket is scheduled to launch today from Cape Canaveral with the national defense surveillance satellite NROL-37.

Courtesy Wikipedia.
Courtesy Wikipedia.

The launch, scheduled for 1:59 p.m. will be broadcast live on ULA’s website beginning at 1:39 p.m.

The Delta-4 Heavy is the largest of a family of expendable workhorse rockets, using two additional rocket booster cores operating at full thrust during liftoff.

It is the most powerful version of the Delta IV rockets.

A launch was originally scheduled for June 5, but had to be postponed because of a “last minute unspecified payload issue,” according to Universe Today.

The launch of the spy satellite Thursday will be the 32nd Delta 4 mission since the rocket’s inaugural launch in 2002.

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) was formed in 1960 at the recommendation of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

https://twitter.com/rhaebies/status/740866780625784833

2013 mission patch from NROL launch
2013 mission patch from NROL launch