The Florida Spaceport will have a busy week after Hurricane Ian halted launches for a few days until the weather improves.
Before Ian made landfall in southwest Florida, NASA’s Artemis-1 rocket, Space Launch System, Had to retreat to the hangar at the Kennedy Space Center. Even as the Gulf Coast made landfall, Central Florida’s Space Coast experienced massive flooding, hurricane-force winds, and rain.
Delayed launch from Hurricane Ian It means that NASA is now targeting November to launch a lunar rocket for the first time. Meanwhile, ULA, SpaceX and NASA have plans for an unrelated back-to-back launch this week that will keep the Space Coast busy for three days.
ULA is targeting 5:36 p.m. EDT Tuesday to launch an Atlas V rocket with SES 20 and 21 communications satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Base.
The Atlas V rocket will send the satellites into geosynchronous orbit for the SES satellite operator.
SpaceX and NASA are working Towards the launch of four astronauts Wednesday noon from the Kennedy Space Center. Crew-5 launch mission, made up of American, Russian and Japanese space explorers, will be for 6 months to the International Space Station.
The launch has been postponed from October 3 to allow more time to assess KSC facilities for any potential damage from Ian.
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Casada, JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos astronaut Anna Kekina will launch atop Falcon 9 in the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
To wrap up the week, SpaceX Falcon 9 will launch Intelsat’s Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34 commercial communications satellites at 7:07 p.m. EDT Thursday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Base.
The Falcon 9 will deliver Intelsat satellites into geosynchronous orbit, providing communications services across North America.
Florida’s rainy season ends with Ian
Weather plays a huge role in launching any missile. The Space Force’s 45 Weather Squadron is working with ULA, SpaceX and NASA to provide launch forecasts days, hours and minutes before any liftoff.
Inundated by Ian’s record of rainfall, Florida is experiencing a welcome dry stretch ending the rainy season, but scattered rain is expected to return later in the week.
For those who are going to witness this triple launch week in person or even a single launch, the weather couldn’t be better. The FOX forecast center tracks highs just above 80 degrees or just below over the weekend with partly cloudy skies. A strong chance of rain doesn’t show up in the forecast until next week for the Florida space coast.
ULA has an 80% chance in proper launch weather for a communications satellite launch on Tuesday. The main concern will be cumulus clouds. The chance of a backup launch on Wednesday has a better outlook with favorable conditions at 90%.
The NASA Crew-5 launch with SpaceX will continue to take advantage of the cool, dry air from Hurricane Ian. The main concerns are cumulus and rain with a greater than 90% chance of favorable conditions.
The launch of the Galaxy 33 and 34 satellites on the Falcon 9 on Thursday should have excellent weather with more than 90% chances of a favorable take-off. The main concern will be cumulus clouds.
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