SpaceX is targeting launches of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy later this evening. The Falcon 9 carrying SES O3b mPower satellite is scheduled for launch at 5:12 PM ET and has a 88-minute launch window.
The Falcon Heavy has a 57-minute launch window opening at 7:29 PM ET (23:29 UTC). The Falcon 9 (B1078) launching O3b mPower is flying for the 2nd time and will perform a landing on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.” The weather outlook is currently only showing a 30 percent chance of favorable conditions for launch. However, if the weather does not hold, SpaceX has another opportunity tomorrow evening at the same time.
Sat tucked away in the fairing is the ViaSat-3 communication satellite, which aims to provide increased coverage over North and South America. Two more satellites are also riding along with ViaSat-3, a telecommunications satellite named Arcturus, built and operated by Astranis Space Technologies. This satellite will provide internet coverage in the remote regions of Alaska. The third is a cube satellite called G-Space 1 that will host multiple payloads.
This Falcon Heavy may look a bit different than usual as it will be flying in its fully expendable variation. SpaceX removed all of the landing legs and grid fins from the boosters as they need the rocket’s full performance to deliver the satellites to Geostationary Earth Orbit.
The side boosters on this flight are veterans, with B1052 on its 8th flight and B1053 on its 3rd flight. The center core, B1068, is flying for the first and only time, which will extend the streak of no recoveries for a Falcon Heavy center core.
If the weather holds off, this will be the 6th flight of the Falcon Heavy and the 2nd this year. Following this launch, only 2 more Falcon Heavy rockets are currently scheduled to launch this year.