Cargo flight first of many SpaceX launches planned for 2015

December 29, 2012 – 02:33 pm

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is seen at Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad before going vertical. Credit: SpaceXSpaceX will kick off a busy 2015 calendar playing catch-up, with liftoff of a Dragon supply ship for the International Space Station set for Tuesday after a delay from December.

At least a dozen — and perhaps as many as 16 — space missions are on SpaceX’s manifest this year, launching cargo to the space station, commercial communications satellites, and scientific spacecraft for NASA.

Also in SpaceX’s plans for 2015: The first launch of the company’s Falcon Heavy mega-rocket, which will be powered by 27 engines when it blasts off from the Apollo- and shuttle-era launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Critical abort tests of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship are also on tap for this year, but they are not counted on the company’s operational manifest.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company has about one launch per month over the next year. Other sources also said SpaceX has at least 12 launches scheduled for 2015, but company’s customers appear to be expecting SpaceX to deliver even more.

SpaceX had a similar number of flights on its docket in 2014, including the Falcon Heavy’s debut launch and the Dragon abort tests, which slipped to some time this year. Six Falcon 9 rockets ended up blasting off last year.

Most of the missions will take off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch facility. The Falcon Heavy test flight will launch from nearby pad 39A, and one or two flights are expected to launch from SpaceX’s West Coast launch pad in California, according to a source not authorized to speak on the record.

“The manifest is busy, ” said Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of mission assurance, without specifying how many launches the company plans for 2015. “On the bright side, this will now include more launch sites. Vandenberg will be more active.”


Source: spaceflightnow.com

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