Two launch pads at Cape Canaveral could host a pair of satellite launches separated by fewer than 17 hours Thursday, a rapid-fire turnaround made possible by an automated range safety mechanism and other upgrades to cut the time between missions at the Florida spaceport.
A spokesperson for Hispasat, which owns a communications satellite set for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, told Spaceflight Now on Monday that the mission is scheduled for liftoff shortly after midnight Thursday, Florida time.
The Falcon 9’s two-hour launch window opens at 12:34 a.m. EST (0534 GMT) Wednesday, pending final approval from the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, which runs the Eastern Range at Cape Canaveral, a network of communications, tracking and safety installations used by every launch from Florida’s Space Coast.
Assuming Air Force officials grant SpaceX’s request for a launch date Wednesday, it would be the first of two blastoffs from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in a span of around 16-and-a-half hours.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is on track for launch Thursday during a two-hour launch window beginning at 5:02 p.m. EST (2202 GMT).
I’d say “Faster, please,” but in this case that feels presumptuous.