Launch delays are sometimes part of the equation in determining when specific missions launch in relation to each other. Sometimes, those delays occur to missions for the same agency, as is now the case with TDRS-M and CRS-12. With replacement operations to the TDRS-M omni antenna underway, NASA/United Launch Alliance has requested 10 August for the TDRS-M launch and SpaceX has requested 14 August for the CRS-12 Dragon launch to the International Space Station.
Determining mission priority for two missions for a single agency, as is now the case for TDRS-M and the CRS-12 Dragon resupply mission to the Station, can be somewhat tricky.
Sometimes, launch contracts drive the priority decision. Other times, the immediate need for a particular mission or its impact on subsequent missions/events drives which one gets priority. Still other times, the agency providing the launch vehicle and the launch service is instrumental – based on their own schedules and needs – in determining priority.
As the increasingly busy launch schedule off the Eastern Range in Florida this year has proven, all companies involved in the launch business are more than willing to negotiate launch dates with each other and to act as good neighbors when ...