SpaceX Aims for Friday Sunset Launch After Boats and Winds Delay Falcon 9 Liftoff and Landing Attempt – Live Webcast

Sunset view of SpaceX Falcon 9 after aborted launch of SES-9 communications satellite on Feb 28, 2016. Liffoff now slated for March 4, 2016 from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, FL after four scrubs due to weather and technical issues. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – Alas SpaceX is now targeting Friday March 4 for the 5th attempt to launch their upgraded Falcon 9 carrying the powerful SES-9 commercial telecommunications satellite, following another pair of launch scrubs earlier this week due to errant boats and strong winds aloft.

“We’re now targeting Friday, March 4 at 6:35 pm ET for launch of SES-9,” said SpaceX spokesman Phil Larson. Sunset is at 6:25 pm.

SpaceX hopes for a liftoff of the Cape’s first Falcon 9 launch of 2016 from SpaceX’s seaside Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. at the opening of a 91-minute launch window.

“The window extends to 8:06 pm ET.”

The weather prognosis looks very favorable. Air Force meteorologists are predicting a 90% percent chance of favorable weather conditions at launch time Friday evening.

The view, if all goes well, should be absolutely spectacular Falcon roars off the launch pad and thunders to space.

The only concern at this time is for cumulus clouds and upper-level winds.

“A stray shower may accompany a weak frontal boundary as it nears the Space Coast late Thursday night through mid-day Friday,” says the Air Force.

“The front should move through the Spaceport by Friday afternoon, bringing gusty northwest surface winds, which will weaken after sunset. Skies are also expected to clear behind the boundary with only a slight weather concern of lingering cumulus clouds. Maximum upper-level winds will be from the west at 100 knots at 37,000 feet.

A live webcast will be available at: SpaceX.com/webcast

It begins about 20 minutes before liftoff, at approximately 6:15 p.m. EST on Friday, March 4.

Pelican aloft as SpaceX Falcon 9 sits on launch pad 40 with SES-9 communications satellite at Cape Canaveral, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

The fourth attempt to launch was scrubbed early on Tuesday afternoon, March 1, long before fueling of the rocket began, due to the threat of dangerous high altitude winds that could result in destruction of the rocket.

“Pushing launch to Friday due to extreme high altitude wind shear,” tweeted SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk.

“Hits like a sledgehammer when going up supersonic.”

SpaceX Falcon 9 venting during countdown leading to aborted launch attempt of SES-9 communications satellite on Feb 28, 2016. Liffoff now slated for March 4, 2016 from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, FL after four scrubs due to weather and technical issues. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

Since strong high altitude winds were expected to persist for several days, the launch was postponed to Friday.

“Unfortunately upper-level winds continue to exceed acceptable limits and are expected to get worse as we approach tonight’s launch window, so we are forgoing today’s launch attempt,” Larson explained.

“Winds are forecast to exceed acceptable limits through Thursday. Our team will continue working with the Air Force’s Launch Weather Officer to evaluate the best available opportunity for flight in the coming days.”

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket came with a second of liftoff on Sunday, Feb 28 when the launch was aborted by a low-thrust alarm.

Watch this dramatic video view of the launch abort:

Video credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now

Watch for Ken’s onsite launch reports direct from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer

Upgraded SpaceX Falcon 9 awaits launch of SES-9 communications satellite on Mar. 4, 2016 from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

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Learn more about SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, ULA Atlas rocket, Orbital ATK Cygnus, ISS, Boeing, Space Taxis, Mars rovers, Orion, SLS, Antares, NASA missions and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events:

Mar 4: “SpaceX, ULA, SLS, Orion, Commercial crew, Curiosity explores Mars, Pluto and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings

Sunset view of SpaceX Falcon 9 awaiting launch of SES-9 communications satellite on Feb. 28, 2016 from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, FL after two fueling scrubs. This attempt was scrubbed. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com
Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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