SpaceX targeting November return to flight

SpaceX is targeting a return to flight in November, about three months after a Falcon 9 rocket's recent explosion on its Cape Canaveral launch pad, company President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said today at a space industry conference in Paris, according to news reports.

Speaking at Euroconsult's World Satellite Business Week, Shotwell said she was not sure if the next Falcon 9 would launch from Florida or from California, Space News reported.

 

 

It was not immediately clear if a Florida launch would be possible from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40, which damaged during a pre-launch test on Sept. 1, or if the company might attempt its first flight from nearby pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX has said previously renovations of pad 39A to support Falcon rocket launches should be completed by November.

Shotwell announced the return to flight timeline as the company's "best hope" despite not having yet determined the cause of the explosion, which also destroyed the Amos-6 communications satellite.

 

 

Just last Friday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described the failure investigation as the company's most difficult and complex one ever, and appealed for help from anyone who might have photo, video or audio recordings of the mishap to share.

The mishap will delay until next year the debut of SpaceX's heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket, and it's no longer certain that the mission will fly from KSC. Shotwell said the three-booster rocket could launch in the first quarter of the year from either KSC or Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A company spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the developments.

 

 

Check back for more details.

Contact Dean at 321-242-3668 or jdean@floridatoday.com. And follow on Twitter at @flatoday_jdean and on Facebook at facebook.com/jamesdeanspace.


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