— Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (@ExploreSpaceKSC) May 7, 2018
The rocket’s debut this week marks a significant step towards returning astronauts to space from U.S. soil, as NASA will certify it to launch human beings on. BUT FIRST, it needs to launch #Bangabandhu1:https://t.co/hCzev7vpFD
The rocket will be carrying a communications satellite for Bangadesh called the Bangabandhu Satellite-1. It is the first communications satellite for Bangladesh.
According to Florida Today: “The nearly 8,000-pound satellite will deliver communications services to Asia ranging from Turkmenistan to the Philippines with the Bangladesh Communications Satellite Company, located roughly in the middle, as its operator. Bangladesh will become the 58th country in history to operate a geostationary satellite after it reaches orbit.”
Targeting Falcon 9 Block 5 launch of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 on May 10 from Pad 39A in Florida.
On Monday, a Space X Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 6:32 p.m. with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a spacecraft that will monitor more than 200,000 stars looking for small planets.
Space X just announced it plans to fly two “private citizens” around the moon next year, and has already collected a deposit to pay for the mission.
“Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration,” the company said in a press release.
According to the company, the Dragon Spacecraft, which is used to send supplies to the International Space Station, was “designed from the beginning” to carry humans.
This year, an unmanned test mission will be launched to the ISS. The second mission, which will include a crew, is scheduled to fly in 2018.
“Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, Space X will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth,” Space X said. “This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the solar system than any before them.”
The launch will be made from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A, which was used by the Apollo and shuttle programs.
In its press release, Space X says the moon tour is an important milestone “as we work towards our ultimate goal of transporting humans to Mars.”
Space X was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk. It was the first private company to fly to the International Space Station and the first to land it’s cost-saving rocket after it carried a payload into space.
According to The Washington Post, Musk wouldn’t name the two people who are paying for the private lunar flyby.
UPDATE 7:30 p.m.: Space X launch stopped during final countdown. Tonight’s failed launch was the third attempt in the past week.
There was a ship initially in the “keep out” area that put the launch on hold. Then there was a launch attempt at 7:21 but it was aborted at last second.
No new launch date set yet.
Space X scrubbed two launches from Cape Canaveral last week, but has rescheduled for tonight with a launch window opening at 6:46 p.m. for its Falcon 9 rocket.
According to Universe Today, Space X stopped the launches on Wednesday and Thursday because of rocket fueling issues with liquid oxygen propellant.
The window for tonight’s launch will last about 90 minutes through 8:23 p.m. A backup date of Monday has also been scheduled in case this latest attempt is also unsuccessful.
The Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying the commercial SES-9 television and communications satellite. Tonight’s mission will also involve an attempt to recover the rocket’s first stage at sea via the “Of course I still love you” drone ship.
“Given this unique GTO profile, a successful landing is not expected,” SpaceX wrote in a press release.
The company made history in December when it landed the first stage safely back at Cape Canaveral.
South Florida should be able to see the launch. Sunset is at 6:21 p.m. with last light at 6:45 p.m. The watch is also expected to be webcast at SpaceX.com/webcast.