BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Florida’s Space Coast is home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the busiest launch sites in the world, and the blast off rate is only increasing.
To help you stay in the know, we’ve compiled a list of upcoming Space Coast launches to keep on your calendar. Keep checking back because as most space enthusiasts know, launch schedules are subject to change due to weather, technical reasons and range restrictions.
SpaceX, Air Force GPS-III 4 satellite
Where: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40
What: SpaceX is set to launch a GPS satellite for the U.S. Space Force and Air Force. SpaceX last attempted to launch the satellite on Oct. 2.
Landing: Yes, at sea on a droneship.
ULA Delta IV Heavy NROL-44
Where: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 37
What: United Launch Alliance will again attempt to launch a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office on ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rocket. This will mark the sixth attempt since late August to launch the secret mission for the NRO. Technical and weather violations have led to at least six scrubs.
ULA said in an Oct. 16 update they are still testing and evaluating an issue with the swing arm retraction system.
The #NROL44 launch date is now indefinite on the range. With continued emphasis on mission success, our team will continue to test and evaluate the swing arm retraction system prior to the launch of the #DeltaIVHeavy. We will confirm a launch date as soon as possible.— ULA (@ulalaunch) October 16, 2020
SpaceX Crew-1 launch
When: Early November, exact date TBD
Where: Kennedy Space Center Launchpad 39A
What: This will mark the first operational launch for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts to the International Space Station. Three NASA astronauts and a Japanese astronaut will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket in the Dragon capsule in early November, arriving at the International Space Station the next day. The launch was scheduled for Oct. 31 but delayed to allow SpaceX more time to complete hardware testing and data reviews for an issue detected during an unrelated launch attempt.
NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi have named their Dragon capsule Resilience.
Boeing Starliner orbital flight test -- take two
When: Early January, subject to change
Where: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41
What: Boeing will try again to launch the company’s CST-100 Starliner astronaut capsule on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station. ULA’s Atlas V rocket will blast off with the spacecraft putting it on course with the ISS. This will be the second attempt for the orbital test flight, or OFT, for Starliner after the first try in December 2019 failed to reach the space station after a computer timing issue, forcing Starliner to land back on Earth less than 48 hours after launch.
After an extensive investigation by Boeing and NASA, the company is targeting early next year for another OFT.