SpaceX is targeting 11:25 PM ET (03:25 UTC) tonight to launch Arabsat BADR-8 to a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). The launch window extends for 127 minutes, which SpaceX may need to use as the weather outlook only shows a 25% chance of acceptable conditions. If weather conditions do not improve, SpaceX has another launch opportunity tomorrow evening at the same time.
Targeting Tuesday, May 23 for Falcon 9’s launch of the @Arabsat BADR-8 mission to geosynchronous transfer orbit from SLC-40 in Florida; weather is currently 25% favorable for liftoff → https://t.co/bJFjLCiTbK
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 22, 2023
Arabsat BADR-8 is the first seventh-generation satellite for the company built by Airbus and will provide telecommunications for the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The satellite will be launched in a 26-degree orbital inclination and will take approximately four to five months after separation from the Falcon 9 second stage to reach its final geostationary orbit.
Launching BADR-8 is B1062, which will now be flying for the 14th time. This Falcon 9 has previously supported 2 crewed missions, multiple Starlink launches, and other commercial payload launches. Just over eight and half minutes after launch, B1062 will perform a landing burn shortly before a planned soft touchdown on the droneship “Just Read the Instructions.”
Another aspect of this launch is the quickest turnaround time of SLC-40, having just previously supported the launch of Starlink Group 6-3 last week. SpaceX has certainly picked up the pace of launches this month, as this will be the 7th launch of the month, with three of those coming SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. If SpaceX is able to launch during their 127-minute window this evening, they could have at least 2 more launches this month, one each from the East and West Coast launch pads.
The SpaceX fleet is also keeping a fast pace this month. The autonomous spaceport drone ships have been deployed almost back to back after launches this month, with them serving as landing platforms for 5 of the missions and also being on alert for the Axiom-2 mission, which launched this past weekend and will return roughly 8 days after launch and will be recovered by either “Megan” or “Shannon,” the two SpaceX Dragon recovery ships. Watch the Falcon 9 launch the BADR-8 launch below!
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