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Update (Nov. 30): SpaceX again delayed this mission, slated to launch early Dec. 1, due to the need for additional Falcon 9 checkouts. A new launch window has not yet been announced; stay tuned at floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Update (Nov. 29): SpaceX delayed this mission late Tuesday due to the need for "additional pre-flight checkouts." The next attempt to fly is now scheduled for 3:37 a.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 1. Weather during that window is expected to be 80% "go."
Weather conditions will likely be excellent for SpaceX's next Florida launch, a unique mission slated to fly a Japanese lander to the moon early Wednesday.
If conditions hold, weather forecasters on Monday said conditions should be nearly 100% "go" for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Launch Complex 40. A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 3:39 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 30, then return for a land-based recovery at the Cape's Landing Zone 1.
Residents and spectators should be prepared for sonic booms generated by the 162-foot first stage as it returns to landing site, also known as RTLS. That will occur within 10 minutes after liftoff toward the northeast.
"High pressure builds across the eastern U.S. ... bringing dry conditions to start the week," Space Launch Delta 45 forecasters said. "The associated front is expected to remain well west of the area going into the primary launch opportunity early Wednesday morning with breezy southeasterly flow."
That's good news for ispace, a Japanese company aiming to put its HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lander on the surface of the moon. The spacecraft is designed to host payloads from other private and government organizations, like science investigations and small rovers.
If everything goes according to plan, it will take up to five months to reach the moon before preparing for landing. The company says the longer-than-usual process is designed to save fuel.
Ispace was established in 2010 with the goal of developing systems to deliver payloads to the moon. The company says it "balances reliability and low cost by employing proven technologies and components from around the world."
For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Rocket launch Wednesday, Nov. 30
Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
Mission: HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander
Launch Time: 3:39 a.m. EST
Launch Complex: 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Liftoff Weather: 90%+ "go"
Landing: Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral
Visit floridatoday.com/space at 2 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 30, for live video and real-time updates.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX delays launch of Japanese moon lander; includes booster landing