For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL – Severe weather racing across the US towards the East Coast, southeast and central Florida threatens to derail the April 1 liftoff of the next SpaceX Falcon 9 on the firms 4th commercial rideshare missions with a host of 40 varied small satellites on a southerly trajectory from the Space Coast.
On the day before Friday’s noontime launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter 4 mission the weather odds are only 30% favorable at launch time with the potential for damaging high gusty winds, tornadoes, several inches of torrential drenching rain storms and multiple lightning strikes on the way to the pad from the west after impacting central Florida.
More than four dozen flights have already been cancelled at nearby Orlando International Airport on Thursday, March 31 and deadly tornadoes struck the Florida panhandle killing two people.
Liftoff of the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rather sooty SpaceX recycled Falcon 9 on the Transporter-4 mission is targeted for 12:24 p.m. EDT, or 1624 GMT, on Friday, April 1, from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida during an instantaneous launch window to a sun-synchronous orbit
“Targeting Friday, April 1 for launch of our fourth dedicated smallsat rideshare mission; teams are keeping an eye on weather as the latest forecast shows a 30% chance of favorable liftoff conditions,” SpaceX tweeted today, Thursday, March 31
Targeting Friday, April 1 for launch of our fourth dedicated smallsat rideshare mission; teams are keeping an eye on weather as the latest forecast shows a 30% chance of favorable liftoff conditions https://t.co/3NjRWNw8Dh pic.twitter.com/hGQumIG0qX
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 31, 2022
Enjoy our photos of the SpaceX Falcon 9 for Transporter 4 vertical at pad 40 taken by the Space UpClose team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright.
Threatening clouds can be seen overhead in our photos.
Continuing rain, storms and overall poor weather is expected to pummel the Space Coast from today through most of Friday.
A back up launch opportunity is available on Saturday, April 2, where the weather outlook improves to 50% GO.
The SpaceX team then has to stand down on Sunday, April 3, to make way for the WDR fueling test by NASA of the mammoth SLS Moon rocket which will last much of the day
Falcon 9’s first stage booster B1061 previously launched Crew-1, Crew-2, SXM-8, CRS-23, IXPE, and one Starlink mission.
Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the Just Read the Instructions droneship (JRTI) stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Transporter-4 is SpaceX’s fourth dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.
The nose cone encapsulates 40 spacecraft of many sizes altogether – these include “CubeSats, microsats, picosats, non-deploying hosted payloads, and an orbital transfer vehicle carrying spacecraft to be deployed at a later time,” says SpaceX.
Exolaunch is one of the commercial customers carrying 12 satellites from 9 countries: :
We are counting down to our next launch with @SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying 12 customer satellites from 9 countries 🇺🇸🇫🇷🇱🇹🇮🇳🇸🇰🇧🇷🇳🇴🇦🇷🇩🇰
Check out our mission infographics and stay tuned for our official press-release in a few hours!#Transporter4 pic.twitter.com/9uO9pdtybf
— Exolaunch (@EXOLAUNCH) April 1, 2022
The hosted satellite deployments start at T + 14 minutes and continue more than an hour to T + 1 hour 26 minutes
You can watch a live SpaceX webcast of this mission that will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff
WFTV Channel 9 ABC News Orlando featured Ken’s comments about busy times on the Space Coast with SLS WDR and upcoming Artemis 1 launch and two SpaceX Crew Dragon launches to ISS NET April 6 & April 20 and Mark Vande Hei return:
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about SpaceX Starlink, SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, Artemis, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, DART, Lucy Asteroid mission, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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