It’s a busy weekend ahead for SpaceX. The brainchild of Entrepreneur Elon Musk, SpaceX has been working on lowering the cost of space travel as well as developing recoverable and reusable parts. Two of such instances will be seen this weekend when SpaceX is scheduled to launch a batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from the west coast of the United States and then, a cargo resupply ship (CRS-14) to the International Space Station on April 2.
Per the manifest, SpaceX will launch the fifth set of 10 satellites on March 30 i.e. on Friday with a backup window open for Saturday. The launch will take place at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Then on April 2, SpaceX will launch the CRS-14 mission to the ISS from Cape Canaveral in Florida on April 2.
Presently, engineers at SpaceX are sorting few issues with the payload after which, it will be strapped on a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch window as said is 10:13 am EST where 10 Iridium NEXT satellites will launch from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to the Low-Earth Orbit. The first stage booster used in this mission was actually used in the Iridium-3 mission that was successfully performed in October 2017. SpaceX will recover the booster using its drone-ship, however, it would not be likely used in its third mission until SpaceX doesn’t roll out it’s Falcon 9 Block V which has a higher degree of reusability with enhances capabilities and efficiency.
SpaceX will attempt to catch the payload fairings which is the covering that protects the payload from harsh environment and damage during the launch. Mr. Steven, the drone-ship that missed catching the payload fairings this February by few hundreds of meters.
Then, SpaceX will perform Cargo Resupply Ship (CRS-14) mission that will be lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Launchpad in Florida on April 2 at 4:30 am EST. It will carry a payload of 1.7tonnes of pressurized cargo and 926kg of unpressurized cargo aboard its Dragon spacecraft. Similar to Iridium, the first stage used in the mission was earlier used in the CRS-12 mission. However, SpaceX has revealed that it will not perform a land-based landing for the boosters.
Soon after the two launches, SpaceX will shift its focus to the next launch scheduled on April 16 when it will launch NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). At the end of April 2018, SpaceX will launch Bangabandhu-1 satellite that will be launched aboard the new Falcon 9 Block V rocket which is the fifth iteration of the Falcon 9 rocket which will debut at the end of April.