Cape Canaveral to host 2 launches in 1 week

SpaceX, ULA both targeting launches this week

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

The Falcon 9 booster supporting the AMOS-17 launch previously launched Telstar 19 VANTAGE and Es’hail-2 missions. (Image: SpaceX)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The eastern range will be busy for this week hosting two launches for two different rockets.

SpaceX is currently targeting Tuesday evening to launch Israeli satellite company SpaceCom’s satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40. The AMOS-17 spacecraft, manufactured by Boeing, will provide TV, phone and internet services to Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The launch window opens at 6:53 p.m. and ends at 8:21 p.m. Air Force weather officials are predicting a 40% chance of good favorable launch weather for Tuesday evening.

The launch is a do-over of sorts for SpaceX after the another SpaceCom satellite was destroyed in 2016 when a Falcon 9 exploded on the launch pad during fueling for a test fire.

Facebook had planned to use some of the satellite's capacity to expand its Internet.org initiative in Africa.

Spacecom CEO David Pollack said during a media event ahead of the AMOS-17 launch that the decision to work with SpaceX again was made after looking at it from scratch, like the company would any other launch.

“We had a lot of discussions (and) at the end of the day, we agreed on the terms of this launch,” Pollack said.

The Falcon 9 booster supporting the AMOS-17 previously launched twice but due to the requirements of this launch, it will not be recovered after liftoff.

Also this week, United Launch Alliance Atlas V will lift off from Cape Canaveral with an Air Force satellite.

The payload, AEHF-5, is the fifth communications satellite in the Lockheed Martin-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency series for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Atlas V rockets launched the first four AEHF satellites from 2010 to 2018.

The AEHF satellites provide secure, jam-proof connectivity between the U.S. government and deployed military.

ULA is set for an early morning launch Thursday from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The two-hour launch window opens at 5:44 a.m. Air Force weather officials are predicting a 70% chance of good launch conditions.

The good news for both SpaceX and ULA launches is that the forecast will improve next week after a rainy week due to a weak tropical wave spreading a lot of rain across Central Florida.

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