Thursday, April 16, 2009

SpaceX Snares Two Launches

5:03 p.m. Blogger Update: SpaceX officials now say they provided The Flame Trench with inaccurate information. As two of our commenters noted, the satellites will be launched into a sun-synchronous orbits. Consequently, SpaceX officials say the launches will take place from either Vandenberg Air Force Base in California or Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific. We regret the error.

Upstart SpaceX has signed an agreement to launch two Falcon 9 missions for the Argentinian space agency, company officials said today.

The flights will blast off in 2012 and 2013, which is good news for Florida's Space Coast. NASA is expected to cut at least 3,500 of 14,500 jobs at Kennedy Space Center after the agency retires its three-orbiter shuttle fleet in 2010. The SpaceX flights will help fill the gap between shuttle retirement and the first piloted flights of Ares 1 rockets and Orion space capsules in 2015.

"We're just super-stoked about this," said SpaceX spokeswoman Cassie Kloberdanz. "We are so excited to step into the space-hungry world of the Space Coast."

The Falcon 9s both will carry Earth-observation satellites for Argentina's National Commission on Space Activity. The satellites will enable the South American nation to monitor natural resources and provide emergency and disaster management.

SpaceX did not provide the value of the contracts.

Based in Hawthrone, California, Space Exploration Technologies -- more commonly know as SpaceX -- is one of two companies developing commercial means to fly cargo and ultimately crews to and from the International Space Station.

The company intends to fly Falcon 9 rockets from Launch Complex 40, which is a decommissioned Air Force Titan 4 launch site. The company's inaugural Falcon 9 launch is scheduled for no earlier than June of this year.

Two other Falcon 9 missions are tentatively scheduled to fly from the Cape Canaveral this year, including the first flight of the company's Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft is being designed to carry cargo to the International Space Station; the company also intends to upgrade the vehicle to fly crews to and from the outpost.


Anonymous said...

These are not Cape Canaveral launch. Sun synchronous = polar orbit!

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in the release does it say anything about Cape Canaveral or LC-40. Sun-synchronous orbit means polar launch which means they are planning to launch F9 from VAFB by 2012.

Anonymous said...

You go Space X!