More than a year after suffering significant damage in a Falcon 9 explosion, a Florida launch pad is ready to return to service, incorporating improvements that will allow a higher flight rate.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will remain closed through at least Sept. 14 as teams continue to evaluate damage there caused by Hurricane Irma.
NASA and companies that operate launch sites and other facilities at Cape Canaveral are preparing for the arrival of a powerful hurricane that has already postponed one launch on the other side of the country.
Greg Clark, business secretary in the British government, said this week that "we want our companies and universities to continue participating in key EU space programs" such as Copernicus.
Space Launch Complex 40 was damaged last September when a Falcon 9 exploded during preparations for a static fire test.
The Falcon 9 will send a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station, with the first stage landing at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1.
An issue with a first stage sensor delayed launch of NROL-76.
The launch will be the first to use a previously flown first stage, in this case a stage that launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft last April.
The Delta 4 carrying the Wideband Global Satcom 9 satellite lifted off at 8:18 EDT.
The company's insurance went from $13 million to $63 million in liability coverage.
Most launch ranges aren’t equipped to handle reusable rockets, space experts said, despite the technology being widely viewed as a key to reducing launch costs.
The launch was scheduled for March 8, carrying WGS-9, the Air Force’s next Wideband Global Satcom satellite.
It will be the first for SpaceX from Launch Complex 39A, previously used by the shuttle program.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said that launch rate should be possible once it starts flying out of Launch Complex 39A.
The budget proposal includes $17 million to help pay for improvements to Launch Complex 36, the Cape Canaveral launch site that Blue Origin plans to use.
SBIRS GEO-3 launched successfully aboard a ULA Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 20.