With a busy year already in the books, the Eastern and Western Ranges in the United States are readying for the next salvo of missions from SpaceX and United Launch Alliance following a stand down of launch operations to provide time for maintenance. Specifically for the Eastern Range, the stand down period allowed the Air Force to complete more than 70 operations that will enable the Range to maintain its commitment and support to its users.
Eastern Range maintenance and stand down:
While not usually visible to the public, this year’s first semi-annual multi-day stand down period on the Eastern Range became a much more noticeable affair thanks to SpaceX’s rapid fire pace of missions which from 1 May through 5 July averaged an impressive one launch every two weeks off of LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
With this rapid pace of missions, the last month has been a newly strange time on the Eastern Range with a total launch drought of 39 days (assuming a 13 August launch of SpaceX’s CRS-12 mission to the Space Station) seeming like a time of “nothing’s happening.”
Indeed, that could not be further from the truth.
While part of the launch drought ...