There is always something spectacular about a rocket launch, especially when the rocket in question is using super-cold oxygen and can land vertically on a floating drone ship.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, promising the next generation of space flight, and the company’s Falcon 9 rockets are working on an ambitious launch calendar for all your space-related needs. We’re talking commercial and government satellite launches, NASA resupply missions to the International Space Station, and astronaut flights to and from the ISS on track for late 2018. Since launches can be delayed for all sorts of reasons — from accidents to inclement weather, the calendar changes regularly. This is what we know: SpaceX is essentially planning a launch every few weeks for the next few months. You can watch live webcasts of SpaceX launches — and the droneship landings — at spacex.com/webcast.
The SpaceX Calendar
Until the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket (which is currently scheduled for the fall) all upcoming SpaceX launches use Falcon 9 rockets.
April 30, 2017 — Falcon 9, National Reconnaissance Office Launch
Between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Eastern time, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Kennedy Space Center. This mission is the first launch for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, and the details of the spacecraft payload is classified. This launch is delayed from April 16.
Watch live coverage of the pre-launch hotfire test on April 25.
May 15, 2017 — Falcon 9, Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Network
Between 7:20 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. Eastern time, this Falcon 9 mission will carry the fourth installment of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network satellites, a project that will offer a high-speed broadband network across the globe. This launch was delayed from April 30.
May 31, 2017 — Falcon 9, Cargo Resupply Mission
The 11th cargo resupply mission will launch from the Kennedy Space Center at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time carrying 7,000 pounds of scientific equipment and supplies to deliver to the International Space Station. This flight has been delayed several times from June 2, August 15, January 13, February 1, April 9 and May 14 but should finally take place on the 30th, fingers crossed.
- In mid-June (TBD), there will be a Falcon 9 launch carrying the BulgariaSat 1 communications satellite, the first communications satellite owned by a Bulgarian company that will provide broadband connectivity throughout Eastern Europe.
- Also in June will be the Falcon 9 Intelsat 35e launch sometime in June, which will launch the Intelsat 35e satellite into orbit as part of the Intelsat’s “Epic” fleet that will provide communications services over eastern North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Africa. But, this launch has already been rescheduled from April.
- The Iridium launch scheduled for mid-April has now been moved sometime into June, according to a press statement from Iridium on February 16. Iridium expects the remainder of its SpaceX satellite launches to occur every two months starting in June, however this mission has already been delayed from October, December, and April.
- SpaceX’s first launch of the Falcon Heavy, the world’s largest rocket, has been pushed back from June for some time in the late summer or early fall. Official dates are still to be set, but it will certainly be a sight to enjoy when the demo flight launches from the Kennedy Space Center.