Cape Canaveral weather mostly OK for SpaceX's next Falcon 9 sunset launch
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Update: Launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 with two SES satellites at 7:38 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The first-stage booster successfully landed on a drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean a short time later.Read our full post-launch story here.
SpaceX is set to wrap up the work week around sunset on Friday with its second launch in just four days.
Windy conditions around Cape Canaveral Space Force Station may pose a challenge for liftoff, but forecasters expect weather to be otherwise mostly favorable. The latest report by the Space Force detailed a 70% chance of "go" conditions for the Falcon 9 launch from Launch Complex 40, currently set to fly during a window from 7:28 p.m. to 8:26 p.m. EDT.
Sunset is expected at 7:31 p.m. EDT, making for potentially ideal lighting conditions at liftoff.
Windy conditions will be fueled by a cold front that "will bring southerly winds, shifting southeasterly and becoming gusty in the late afternoon and evening due to the sea breeze," Space Launch Delta 45 forecasters said Wednesday. "While there is little risk of a lightning launch commit criteria violation, the near-surface winds will likely be approaching liftoff wind constraints during the launch window."
Rocket launch schedule: Upcoming Florida launches and landings
Tucked inside the rocket's payload fairing will be two satellites for Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES. Once operational in orbit, the spacecraft will help deliver data and digital television services to homes across the United States.
After liftoff, Falcon 9 will fly an easterly trajectory. Just after stage separation, the booster will backflip and attempt to land aboard a drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Forecasters predicted post-launch conditions, including upper-level winds high above the launch site and recovery conditions at sea, to be "low risk."
Beyond that on Monday, March 20, Relativity Space is targeting afternoon for its third attempt at launching the world's first 3D-printed rocket, Terran 1, from the Cape's Launch Complex 16. Federal marine warnings point to a liftoff between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. EDT.
Look for FLORIDA TODAY's live coverage of both missions to begin 90 minutes before the launch window opening at https://www.floridatoday.com/space/.
For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Jamie Groh is a space reporter for Florida Today. You can contact her at JGroh@floridatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AlteredJamie.
Launch Friday, March 17
Company / Agency: SpaceX for SES
Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
Location: Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Launch Window: 7:28 p.m. to 8:26 p.m. EDT
Weather: 70% "go"
Landing: Drone ship
Live coverage: Starts 90 minutes before liftoff at floridatoday.com/space
About: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES 18 & 19 satellites for Luxembourg satellite operator SES. The communications satellites are primarily designed to deliver data and digital television services to homes in the United States.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Cape Canaveral weather mostly OK for Friday's SpaceX Falcon 9 launch