SpaceX launches CRS-13 mission to ISS

SpaceX successfully launched their CRS-13 mission to the International Space Station today marking the return to flight for Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).  The launch was delayed a couple of days to allow SpaceX time to resolve an issue with particles in the 2nd stage fuel system.

This launch also marked the first time that SpaceX had used a flight-proven booster for a NASA CRS mission, the booster 10XX.2 previously launched the CRS-11 mission in June 2017.  This was the second time a flight-proven Dragon capsule was used, having previously flown on the CRS-6 mission in April 2015.

This was SpaceX’s 17th launch for 2017 and the 45th flight of Falcon 9, and the 14th landing with 20 overall.

SpaceX return LC-40 to operations with CRS-13 static fire test

SpaceX returned their Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) to operation today following a successful static fire test of the booster designated to take CRS-13 to the International Space Station next week.

The pad which was damaged during the AMOS 6 accident in September 2016 has been repaired and a new Transport Erector has been created to allow launches to return to the pad that first launched the Falcon 9.

While the accident caused a four-month delay in launches for SpaceX the loss of LC-40 wasn’t a damaging for the company as it could have been because they have a second launch pad in Florida thanks to the 20 year lease of Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) which they had been modifying for Falcon 9 crewed launches and Falcon Heavy.

SpaceX is currently targetting to launch the CRS-13 mission from LC-40 on 12th December.

ULA launches JPSS-1

United Launch Alliance launched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration JPSS-1 satellite on the penultimate Delta II rocket.

The launch was delayed several times due to technical issues with the rocket then upper-level winds but finally launched successfully at 4:47 am EST today.

Orbital ATK launches Cygnus on OA-8 mission

Following a one day delay, due to a wayward plane during the countdown yesterday, Orbital ATK successfully launched their Cygnus spacecraft, S.S. Gene Cernan today for an International Space Station rendezvous on Tuesday.

This was the second Cygnus launch on the companies own Antares 230 vehicle, which uses the Russia RD-181 engines.  This was the seventh launch of Antares with six successfully completing their missions and one failure.  That failure led to the redesign of the Antares rocket which caused a two-year delay in launches, during that time Orbital made use of United Launch Alliances Atlas V to launch Cygnus to the ISS.

SpaceX launches Koreasat 5A, doubles previous year launch count

SpaceX continued their record settings year with the launch of the Koreasat 5A payload today from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.  This was the 16th launch of the year for SpaceX doubling last years launch total with potentially three more to come and was the 13th landing with the first stage returning to the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Of Course I Still Love You”.

Following a smooth countdown, the Falcon 9 lifted off at 3:34 pm EDT from LC-39A and successfully delivered the payload to orbit 35m 38s later.

SpaceX Launch/Landing Stats can be found here

Thales Alenia Space confirmed successful acquisition of signal

Blue Origin completes BE-4 hot fire test

Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin sent a tweet out today with the news that they had completed the first hot fire test of their BE-4 engine which will be used to power their New Glenn rocket and could also be selected by United Launch Alliance (ULA) to power their Vulcan rocket.

While results of the test are not currently available this is an important step for Blue Origin as it moves them closer to both New Glenn and also selection by ULA. We look forward to seeing how the tests progress.

SpaceX launches SES 11/EchoStar 105

SpaceX completed their 15th launch of 2017 with the delivery of the SES 11/EchoStar 105 satellite to orbit this evening, this was the 3rd launch using a flight-proven booster.

Following a smooth countdown the rocket lifted off at 6:53 pm EDT and 37 minutes later delivered the payload to orbit.

Following the successful launch, the first stage returned to the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Of Course I Still Love You” making this the 18th time they have landed a stage.

This was the 43rd launch of the Falcon 9 for SpaceX.

SpaceX completes Iriduim-3 launch

This morning SpaceX completed the third of their Iridium Next launches delivery another ten satellites to orbit.

As with the previous Iridium launches the rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s Vandenburg launch site at 8:37 am EDT.  Once in orbit, the ten satellites were delivered to their destinations successfully.  After separation, the first stage of the rocket landed back on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read The Instructions”.

This was the 14th launch for SpaceX in 2017 and 42nd overall for the Falcon 9.  This was the 11th landing this year with a total of 17 to date.

 

SpaceX launches OTV-5

SpaceX completed another important milestone with the successful launch of the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 5 (OTV-5) today. Despite the weather showing only a 50% chance that it would cooperate SpaceX was able to lift off at 10:00 am EDT.

Due to the secrecy of the launch, SpaceX only showed the launch until stage separation and the landing of the stage.

This was SpaceX’s 13th launch of 2017 and 10th landing.

We are not sure at this time if there will be further updates from SpaceX or USAF on the status of the X-37B, if they are posted we will update the article.

SpaceX launches Formosat 5

SpaceX completed another launch today with the deployment of the Formosat 5 satellite following an on-time launch from Vandenburg.

Following separation of the first stage, the booster returned to land on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read the Instructions” in the Pacific ocean.

This was the 12th launch for SpaceX this year and 9th landing. With this launch, SpaceX still has more launches than any other country so far in 2017.