CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX is targeting no earlier than this week for its upcoming Falcon 9 launch from Florida, a rare polar mission that will see the rocket pivot south and hug the state’s east coast, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
The company on Friday confirmed teams were targeting no earlier than 2:56 p.m. Tuesday, June 29, for the 230-foot rocket’s flight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The mission named Transporter-2 was originally slated to fly from Launch Complex 40 on Friday, June 25.
“This mission will launch 88 spacecraft to orbit and more customer mass than SpaceX’s previous dedicated rideshare mission,” SpaceX said Friday.
SpaceX’s Transporter missions allow several organizations, ranging from military to scientific research, to split launch costs by flying smaller payloads alongside dozens of others. One of the tradeoffs is that all the spacecraft need to follow a similar flightpath.
In January, SpaceX’s first rideshare mission took a record-breaking 143 payloads on a nearly straight north-to-south polar trajectory also known as a sun-synchronous orbit. Tuesday’s launch will follow a similar process.
Most missions launching from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station or Kennedy Space Center fly toward the northeast or, in some cases, straight out east over the Atlantic. Rockets do not fly west over populated areas.
The difference between then and now, however, is the method of booster recovery: about eight minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s 162-foot first stage will return to the Cape’s Landing Zone 1 for a land-based touchdown. Spectators and residents should be prepared for the loud sonic booms that will be generated as Falcon 9 slows down past the sound barrier threshold.
On the weather front, the Space Force is expected to issue a fresh forecast sometime Saturday. The local weather squadron’s estimates for next week show a high likelihood of overcast conditions and 40% chance of rain in the afternoon.