SpaceX Falcon 9 Dazzles with Dramatic SES-9 Sunset Launch – Photo/Video Gallery

Ignition and liftoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 as umbilical’s fly away from rocket carrying SES-9 satellite to orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on March 4, 2016. As seen from remote camera set near rocket on launch pad 40.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – SpaceX’s Falcon 9 finally put on a dazzling sky show after the commercial booster at last took flight on the fifth launch attempt, shortly after sunset on Friday, March 4, 2014.

Launches around sunset are often the most beautiful. And the coincident clear blue and darkening skies did not disappoint, affording photographers the opportunity to capture dramatic photos and videos with brilliant hues as the accelerating rocket sped skywards to sunlight.

The primary mission for the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission was to carry the SES-9 commercial communications satellite payload to orbit providing services used by everyone 24/7, such as cable TV, high speed internet, voice and data transmissions.

SES-9 is the largest satellite dedicated to serving the Asia-Pacific region for the Luxembourg based SES. With its payload of 81 high-powered Ku-band transponder equivalents, SES-9 will be the 7th SES satellite providing unparalleled coverage to over 20 countries in the region, says SES.

Enjoy the gorgeous and expanding collection of launch photos and videos herein from myself, colleagues and friends. The view was so clear that we could see the separation of the first and second stages, and opening and jettisoning of the payload fairing halves.

Strong high altitude winds, difficulties loading the super chilled liquid oxygen propellant and boaters who apparently ignored warnings forced a total of four postponements from the originally intended launch date nearly two weeks earlier on Tuesday Feb. 25, 2016.

But with a forecast of 90 percent GO weather and moderating upper altitude wind, the SpaceX Falcon 9 soared aloft right at the opening of the launch window.

See the ignition and liftoff and initial powerful puff of exhaust up close – from my remote launch pad 40 camera above as pyros fire and the umbilicals separate and fly away from rocket.

Here’s a pair of time lapse streak shots as the rocket arcs over eastwards to Africa:

Check out these pair of launch videos taken by Mobius wide angle remote cameras set up close around the SpaceX pad at Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.

https://youtu.be/N1cen99mBaM

Video caption: Sunset launch of the SES-9 communication satellite by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on March 4, 2016 from Pad 40 of the CCAFS. Credit: Jeff Seibert/AmericaSpace

https://youtu.be/eP4IDKpCVPE

Video caption: Spectacular blastoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying SES-9 communications satellite from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL shortly after sunset at 6:35 p.m. EST on March 4, 2016. Up close movie captured by Mobius remote video camera placed at launch pad. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

This video is a focused up close view showing the umbilicals flying away moments after blastoff:

https://youtu.be/np6D2ySql90

Video caption: Time lapse, SpaceX Falcon 9 strong back and upper umbilical motion before and during the launch of the SES9 telecommunication satellite launch on March 4, 2016. Credit: Jeff Seibert/AmericaSpace

The SES-9 launch marked the second successful Falcon-9 launch in a row during 2016, and the first of this year from Cape Canaveral.

The Boeing built SES-9 satellite has a dry mass of 2,835 kg and a fueled mass of 5,271 kg. The huge satellite sports a wingspan of 48 meters with two solar wings. In addition each wing is outfitted with six additional solar panels on each wing.

Watch for Ken’s onsite launch reports direct from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer

The post SpaceX Falcon 9 Dazzles with Dramatic SES-9 Sunset Launch – Photo/Video Gallery appeared first on Universe Today.

SpaceX Resets Launch of Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket for Serene Sunday Sunset on Feb. 28 – Watch Live

Sunset view of SpaceX Falcon 9 awaiting launch of SES-9 communications satellite on Feb. 28, 2016 from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, FL after two fueling scrubs. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – Following a pair of back to back launch scrubs this week on Wednesday and Thursday due to rocket fueling issues with the liquid oxygen propellant, SpaceX has reset the blast off of their upgraded Falcon 9 rocket – carrying the commercial SES-9 television and communications satellite – to coincidentally coincide with a serene sunset on Sunday, Feb. 28.

Spectators have flocked to the Florida space coast in hopes of catching a glimpse of what could prove to be a spectacular evening streak to orbit after miserable mid-week weather finally departed the sunshine state in favor of glorious blue skies – to the delight of everyone!

SpaceX engineers are now targeting liftoff of the Cape’s first Falcon 9 launch of 2016 for 6:46 p.m. EST from SpaceX’s seaside Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. at the opening of a 97-minute launch window.

The first launch scrub on Wednesday was called some 45 minutes before launch.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the team opted to hold launch for today to ensure liquid oxygen temperatures are as cold as possible in an effort to maximize performance of the vehicle,” SpaceX said in a statement.”

The rocket and spacecraft were otherwise nominal.

“The Falcon 9 remains healthy in advance of SpaceX and SES’s mission to deliver the SES-9 satellite to Geostationary Transfer Orbit.”

The second scrub was called at 1 minute forty seconds before T zero when engineers were concerned about aspects of the liquid oxygen fuel loading and internal temperatures.

“Countdown held for the day. Teams are reviewing the data and next available launch date,” tweeted SpaceX post scrub.

SpaceX is cooling the liquid oxygen propellant in the upgraded Falcon 9 to lower temperatures compared to the rockets prior version, in order to increase its density and provide more fuel aboard the rocket for the engines to burn.

Both stages of the 229 foot tall Falcon 9 are fueled by liquid oxygen and RP-1kerosene which burn in the Merlin engines.

Air Force meteorologists are predicting an almost unheard of >95% percent chance of favorable weather conditions at launch time Sunday – which could result in an absolutely spectacular view as Falcon roars off the launch pad thunders to space, if all goes well.

The only potential concern at this time is for cumulus clouds associated with onshore flow.

A live webcast will be available at SpaceX.com/webcast beginning about 20 minutes before liftoff, at approximately 6:26 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 28.

The launch window closes at approximately 8:23 p.m. EST.

The weather prognosis changes only slightly to 90 percent GO on Monday, again with a concern for cumulus clouds.

If needed, SpaceX has a backup launch opportunity reserved on the Eastern range for Monday, Feb. 29 at approximately the same time at 6:46 p.m. EST.

The goal of Sunday’s launch is to boost the commercial SES-9 television and communications satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite will be deployed approximately 31 minutes after liftoff.

The commercial launch was contracted by the Luxembourg based SES, a world-leading satellite operator. SES provides satellite-enabled communications services to broadcasters, Internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, and business and governmental organizations worldwide using its fleet of more than 50 geostationary satellites.

Watch for Ken’s onsite launch reports direct from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer

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Learn more about SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, ULA Atlas rocket, Orbital ATK Cygnus, ISS, Boeing, Space Taxis, Mars rovers, Orion, SLS, Antares, NASA missions and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events:

Feb 27/28: “SpaceX, ULA, SLS, Orion, Commercial crew, Curiosity explores Mars, Pluto and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings

The post SpaceX Resets Launch of Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket for Serene Sunday Sunset on Feb. 28 – Watch Live appeared first on Universe Today.

SpaceX Set for 1st Cape Launch of 2016 with SES-9 on Feb. 24 after Smooth Static Fire Test – Watch Live

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with SES-8 communications satellite awaits launch from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, FL, file photo. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – Final preparations are underway for SpaceX’s first launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral during 2016 with the commercial SES-9 television and communications satellite on Wednesday evening Feb. 24, following a smooth static fire engine test on Monday.

The 229 foot tall Falcon 9 is slated to lift off from SpaceX’s seaside Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. at 6:46 p.m. EST at the opening of a 97-minute launch window.

The launch window closes at approximately 8:23 p.m. EST.

The two stage Falcon 9 rocket will boost SES-9 to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite will be deployed approximately 31 minutes after liftoff.

The commercial launch was contracted by the Luxembourg based SES, a world-leading satellite operator. SES provides satellite-enabled communications services to broadcasters, Internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, and business and governmental organizations worldwide using its fleet of more than 50 geostationary satellites.

The successful full-duration static fire test of the Falcon 9 first stage engines clears the path to Wednesday’s launch of the Falcon 9 in a recently enhanced configuration with upgraded Merlin engines.

Following a full countdown demonstration and fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket erect at the pad, all nine first stage Merlin engines were briefly ignited for several seconds.

This marks only the second flight of this more powerful version of the SpaceX Falcon.

A live webcast will be available at SpaceX.com/webcast beginning about 20 minutes before liftoff, at approximately 6:26 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

If needed, SpaceX has a backup launch opportunity reserved on the Eastern range for Thursday, Feb. 25 at approximately the same time at 6:46 p.m. EST.

Air Force meteorologists are predicting a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions at launch time.

The main concerns are rain and winds.

The weather prognosis increases to 80 percent GO on Thursday.

SpaceX previously launched the SES-8 satellite for SES on Dec. 3, 2013.

The primary mission of the liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 is to carry the SES-9 payload to orbit.

SES-9 is the largest satellite dedicated to serving the Asia-Pacific region for SES.

With its payload of 81 high-powered Ku-band transponder equivalents, SES-9 will be the 7th SES satellite providing unparalleled coverage to over 20 countries in the region, according to SES.

The Boeing built SES-9 satellite has a dry mass of 2,835 kg and a fueled mass of 5,271 kg. The huge satellite sports a wingspan of 48 meters with two solar wings. In addition each wing is outfitted with six additional solar panels on each wing.

It is designed to operate for 15 years. It will be co-located with the SES-7 satellite at the prime orbital location of 108.2 degrees East.

The secondary test objective of SpaceX is to land the Falcon 9 rockets first stage on an ocean going barge about 300 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

The droneship barge is named “Of Course I Still Love You.”

SpaceX opfficials say they are not optimistic of a successful barge landing.

“Given this mission’s unique GTO profile, a successful landing is not expected.”

Three prior attempts to land on a barge off both US coasts came very close with pinpoint approaches to the vessel in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. But the rocket tipped over in the final moments and was destroyed.

Last December SpaceX did accomplish a dramatically successful propulsive soft landing on land for the first time in history at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 complex located a few miles south of launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral.

Watch for Ken’s onsite launch reports direct from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer

The post SpaceX Set for 1st Cape Launch of 2016 with SES-9 on Feb. 24 after Smooth Static Fire Test – Watch Live appeared first on Universe Today.

SpaceX Sets Ambitious Falcon 9 ‘Return to Flight’ Agenda with Dual December Blastoffs

SpaceX plans an ambitious ‘Return to Flight’ agenda with their Falcon 9 rocket comprising dual launches this coming December, nearly six months after their failed launch in June 2015 that culminated in the total mid-air loss of the rocket and NASA cargo bound for the crew aboard International Space Station (ISS). The double barreled salvo […]