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.
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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