SpaceX is conducting a Static Fire test on a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday, a key milestone ahead of the rocket’s first launch of a U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane for the OTV-5 mission. The secret military spacecraft is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A on the morning of September 7 in what is likely to be – though not yet confirmed – the final mission off Pad-A prior to the resumption of flight operations at neighboring SLC-40.
The latest launch campaign from SpaceX follows hot on the heels of the successful lofting of the Formosat-5 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Formosat-5 was the twelfth launch of the year for SpaceX and the Falcon 9 and came less than a fortnight after the rocket’s previous launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
While SpaceX’s launch cadence continues to show a positive trend, the safe return of first stage boosters is also achieving a run of successes.
With B1038.1 arriving back in California at the Port of Los Angeles on the deck of the “Just Read The Instructions” drone ship, SpaceX has now returned six boosters to land and 10 at sea.
Notably, sea landings ...