CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – South Korea’s first military communications satellite now appears to be on target for a Monday launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, though a shift remains possible as SpaceX has not yet officially confirmed the attempt, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
The Air Force has approved the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 during a four-hour window that opens at 5 p.m., a time frame that should see 70% "go" weather conditions. SpaceX had initially been targeting Sunday.
“Somewhat drier air will filter into Central Florida, resulting in decreased coverage of showers tomorrow into Monday,” the 45th Weather Squadron said Saturday, noting that its two main concerns were cumulus clouds and the possibility of rocket-triggered lightning.
Early Saturday, some of the marine fleet responsible for recovering SpaceX hardware at sea departed Port Canaveral for their designated zones. The rocket’s first stage is expected to autonomously land on the Just Read the Instructions drone ship about 400 miles off Florida.
This mission, known as ANASIS II, has been delayed by several days due to hardware issues. The same is true for SpaceX's attempts to launch its 10th batch of Starlink satellites from the Kennedy Space Center, a mission that has been scrubbed three times and delayed even more due to hardware and weather.
ANASIS II, or Army / Navy / Air Force / Satellite Information System, is an Airbus-built communications satellite targeting a geostationary orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth. It is the first dedicated national security satellite for South Korea.
Beyond Monday, the only mission solidly on the Eastern Range’s calendar is NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is scheduled to launch to Mars on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 on July 30.