With its 18th February launch window approaching, Space X has installed its Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad in preparation. This is a historic event and one that has many Space X staff honoured by the opportunity, as the Cape Canaveral launch complex was where the original 1969 Saturn V launch took place, sending man to the moon for the first time.
The upcoming launch will see Space X look to deliver the third generation of SAGE Earth-observing instruments system, which will attach to the International Space Station to give it a unique position to monitor things like Earth’s ozone, water vapour and other gases in Earth’s atmosphere. It will be the first launch to take place at the KSC LC-39A launch pad since the last launch of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
To commemorate the event, Space X CEO Elon Musk made a special post on his personal instagram account, highlighting how honoured he and fellow Space X workers were by the opportunity.
This will be the second launch Space X has conducted since its big refuelling failure in late 2016, which saw the Falcon 9 rocket and its satellite payload explode on the launchpad. If successful, it will help rebuild confidence in the platform ahead of its March launch of the SES-10 communication satellite, which will be the first payload ever to fly using a repurposed first stage rocket.
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KitGuru Says: As historic as this next launch will be, the one in March will be far bigger. If Space X can prove its reusable rocket system is viable, it will begin making big savings on future rocket launches and can price itself accordingly. If it goes wrong though, it could push the program back years.