A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Thursday, carrying a payload of three very different spacecraft: an Indonesian telecommunications satellite, an experimental spacecraft for the US military and the first commercial mission to attempt a landing on the Moon. Falcon is due to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) during a 32-minute window that opens at 20:45 Eastern Time (01:45 UTC on Friday).
The primary payload for Thursday’s launch is Nusantara Satu, a high-throughput communications satellite that will be operated by Indonesia’s PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), however much attention in the build up to launch has been paid to the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft that is piggy-backing on the Falcon 9 launch.
Beresheet will attempt to become the first Israeli spacecraft, and the first privately-operated mission, to land on the Moon. The third satellite aboard Thursday’s launch is S5, a space situational awareness demonstrator for the US Air Force Research Laboratory which will be deployed by Nusantara Satu at a later date.
Previously known as PSN VI or PSN-6, the Nusantara Satu satellite was built by Space Systems Loral around the SSL-1300 platform. Bound for a slot in geostationary orbit above the Earth’s equator at ...