After a botched launch on Tuesday, the SpaceX Transporter-2 SmallSat Rideshare Program mission on the Falcon 9 rocket is set for launch on Wednesday, June 30 from the Space Launch Complex at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Live: Webcast 15 Minutes Before Liftoff
According to a SpaceX statement, the 58-minute launch window begins at 2:56pm EDT Wednesday. A live webcast of the launch will stream on the SpaceX website 15 minutes before liftoff.
The Falcon 9 is set to launch 88 satellites into space as part of Transporter 2, SpaceX's dedicated rideshare mission. According to a Space.com report, Transporter 2 will be deposited into a polar orbit through a rare launch trajectory. Sonic booms would most likely erupt as Falcon 9 will make a rare return landing at Cape Canaveral's Space-Force station.
The launch was originally set for Tuesday, but it was postponed for Wednesday due to interference from a possible presence of a plane in the area. The launch was called off 11 seconds before liftoff, which was scheduled at 2:56pm EDT from Complex 40 at Cape Caneveral, UPI reported.
Elon Musk Explains Postponement of Launch, Slams FAA
SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk explained the delay in a tweet, saying that an aircraft entered the Federal Aviation Administration-imposed "keep-out" zone that forced SpaceX to cancel the launch. The "keep out" zone was "unreasonably gigantic," per Musk on the UPI report
Musk slammed the FAA over the incident, as he called for regulatory reform. Musk added there was no way for humanity to eventually become "a spacefaring civilization" without the regulatory changes.
"The current regulatory system is broken," Musk declared.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch: Rideshare to Include 2 NASA, 3 Starlink satellites
Part of the Transporter 2 rideshare mission are 36 spacecraft booked by the Spaceflight, a Seattle-based company arranging rideshare missions. Also set to launch in Falcon 9 are two NASA satellites and three SpaceX Starlink communications satellites with CubeSats, microsats, and orbital transfer vehicles, Space.com further noted.
One such orbital transfer vehicle is Spaceflight's Sherpa LTE1, the first-ever electric propulsion vehicle. Sherpa LTE1 is designed to help other small satellites to enter their intended orbit. Spaceflight is likewise building new types of propulsion for such orbital transfer vehicles or space tugs to respond to the needs of the burgeoning space industry.
While the mission will have fewer satellites than Transporter-1, which sent 143 spacecraft to space on January 24, Transporter-2 will be launching more mass to orbit for SpaceX customers.
Transporter 2 is SpaceX's second rideshare mission and 20th launch for 2021, according to Andy Tran, SpaceX Avionics Production Supervisor. It offers small satellite operators opportunities at a competitive price, Tran added in the UPI report.
Among the rideshare participants is British space company In-Space Missions, which will launch its first satellite the Faraday Phoenix set to carry various payloads, including science experiments and Earth observation technology. It will also test a wideband radio capability allowing uploads of new software to conduct space activities.
The U.S. Department of Defense also has three spacecraft in the rideshare mission, Mandrake II, LINCS and POET, which were built by the department's Space Development Agency to gather information on new laser tech to transfer data between spacecraft in orbit.