SpaceX Set for 1st Cape Launch of 2016 with SES-9 on Feb. 24 after Smooth Static Fire Test – Watch Live

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with SES-8 communications satellite awaits launch from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, FL, file photo. Credit: Ken Kremer/

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – Final preparations are underway for SpaceX’s first launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral during 2016 with the commercial SES-9 television and communications satellite on Wednesday evening Feb. 24, following a smooth static fire engine test on Monday.The 229 foot tall Falcon 9 is slated to lift off from SpaceX’s seaside Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. at 6:46 p.m. EST at the opening of a 97-minute launch window.The launch window closes at approximately 8:23 p.m. EST.The two stage Falcon 9 rocket will boost SES-9 to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite will be deployed approximately 31 minutes after liftoff.The commercial launch was contracted by the Luxembourg based SES, a world-leading satellite operator. SES provides satellite-enabled communications services to broadcasters, Internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, and business and governmental organizations worldwide using its fleet of more than 50 geostationary satellites.The successful full-duration static fire test of the Falcon 9 first stage engines clears the path to Wednesday’s launch of the Falcon 9 in a recently enhanced configuration with upgraded Merlin engines.Following a full countdown demonstration and fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket erect at the pad, all nine first stage Merlin engines were briefly ignited for several seconds. This marks only the second flight of this more powerful version of the SpaceX Falcon.A live webcast will be available at beginning about 20 minutes before liftoff, at approximately 6:26 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 24.If needed, SpaceX has a backup launch opportunity reserved on the Eastern range for Thursday, Feb. 25 at approximately the same time at 6:46 p.m. EST.Air Force meteorologists are predicting a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions at launch time.The main concerns are —> Read More