If all goes according to plan, at 2:12am Thursday morning, United Launch Alliance will succeed in launching a U.S. national security mission atop its Delta IV Heavy rocket, something not to miss if at all possible given the wonder of a typical night launch, and this launch won’t be typical – it’s the Delta IV Heavy, and it will ferry the spacecraft called the NROL-44, a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
The launch will take place from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
So, for the Space Coast, and the entire state and nation, that alone is a big deal… but wait – there are two more in the cue for this week. That’s right – if all goes well, we’re setting records this week in rocket launches from Florida – three launches in one week!
After the Delta IV Heavy will be a pair of SpaceX Falcon 9 launches – and sonic booms for one of them.
The first Falcon 9 launch is set for 7:19 p.m. on Friday from Launch Complex 40, and SpaceX will be charged with placing an Argentinian communications satellite known as SAOCOM-1B on a southbound polar trajectory. That hasn’t happened in 51 years from Cape Canaveral as it is not a simple task as rockets need to avoid flying directly over South Florida and then in the direction of Cuba.
As we have become accustomed to from Elon Musk’s SpaceX team, Falcon 9’s first stage will target an autonomous landing at the Cape’s Landing Zone 1, which will trigger a sonic boom on the way down back to earth… actual earth – since it will not be aiming for a drone ship this time around.
Last but not least this Sunday at 10:08am, a Falcon 9 rocket will carry SpaceX’s 12th batch of about 60 Starlink internet satellites from Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A.
So, it’s a flurry of action on the Space Coast, and so let’s hope for great weather and great success by all!