After several weeks without a launch, SpaceX is set to return to action next week with the static fire and launch of Es’hail 2 – a telecommunications satellite for the Qatar Satellite Company. Meanwhile, SpaceX was recently certified to fly the most valuable scientific payloads in NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP).
The last SpaceX launch was on October 6th, when a Falcon 9 successfully sent SAOCOM 1A into orbit. A several week gap between launches has been a rarity for SpaceX in 2018.
Next week’s mission – Es’hail 2 – will tie SpaceX’s 2017 record of 18 launches in a single year with four more launches still remaining in 2018 after this upcoming mission.
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The Falcon 9 will place Es’hail 2 into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) – before the Mitsubishi built spacecraft utilizes its onboard thrusters to reach its final destination.
The routine pre-launch static fire test for the mission is currently scheduled for November 11th.
During the static fire test, a fully fueled Falcon 9 rocket will ignite its nine Merlin engines for a few seconds to validate that all systems on the vehicle are operating nominally.