What time is the SpaceX launch?
The Falcon 9 rocket is due to lift-off between 9.23pm and 11.37pm on Tuesday January 30, according to Space.com (4.23pm-6.37pm local time).
The launch takes place at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and will mark Falcon 9’s 48th mission since its maiden flight back in 2010.
Falcon 9’s payload will be a GovSat-1 satellite, which it is carrying into orbit on behalf of the government of Luxembourg and the world’s leading satellite operator SES.
After testing the rocket late last week, SpaceX tweeted: “Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete — targeting January 30 launch of GovSat-1 from Pad 40 in Florida.”
Patrick Biewer, CEO of GovSat, said: “We are committed to our mission of providing secure satellite communication services for governments and institutions.
“GovSat-1, with its highly flexible payload featuring advanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities, will further secure the connectivity for our users’ applications.
“We are incredibly excited about the upcoming launch of this satellite.”
Once in place, the GovSat-1 will operate from 21.5 degrees east and will be positioned to “address communications and provide highly reliable and flexible interconnectivity within Europe, Middle East and Africa.”
The satellite will be capable of assisting in maritime operations over the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
Describing the space tech, GovSat said: “GovSat-1 is designed for dual use, supporting both defence and civil security applications, including mobile and fixed communications.
“It also provides enhanced resilience capabilities – with anti-jamming features, encrypted Telemetry and Control, and use of military frequencies.
“It is the first time that such an extensive security-enhanced satellite communications capability is being provided out of a public-private venture, where world-leading satellite operator SES combines its expertise with the ambitions and values of the Luxembourg Government.”
The launch comes after SpaceX was forced to defend its record earlier this month after questions were raised about the potential failure of the highly-secretive Zuma mission.
Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of build and flight reliability, said: “Falcon 9 performed as specified. It actually performed very well.
“We’re picking up the launches by the end of the month, as we planned.”
SES have voiced their confidence in SpaceX to deliver the satellite safely.
The company tweeted last week: “Looking forward to @GovSatLu 1st satellite launch with SpaceX.
“Following Zuma mission, our engineering staff have reviewed all relevant launch vehicle flight data following last Falcon 9 launcher mission.
“We are confident on SpaceX readiness and set for Govsat-1 launch late Jan!”