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article imageFalcon 9 with Telstar communications satellite launches tonight

By Karen Graham     Jul 21, 2018 in Technology
Cape Canaveral - SpaceX will launch a powerful Telstar communications satellite into orbit early Sunday morning (July 22), testing out the spaceflight company's new Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket for the second time.
After several months of preparation and a successful first launch of its Falcon 9 rocket, known as the Block 5, on May 11, 2018, SpaceX is now ready for its second launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5 in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The launch window is set to occur Sunday between 1:50 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. EDT (0550 to 0950 GMT) from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, reports
On Wednesday, July 18, SpaceX successfully test-fired the first stage's nine Merlin engines at full power, before lowering the rocket and rolling it back to a nearby hangar to attach the satellite payload.
Telstar 19 Vantage 63° WL
Telstar 19 Vantage 63° WL
The 15,600-pound Telstar 19 VANTAGE communications satellite is a U.S.-built, Canadian-owned craft and is set to launch on a 15-year mission to beam broadband services over the Americas. The 19-V is the first of two spacecraft owned by Telesat, a telecom satellite operator based on Ottawa.
The second satellite, called Telstar 18 VANTAGE, is set for liftoff no earlier than Aug. 17. It will also be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
According to Telesat, the satellite will be launched into high, geostationary orbit — orbiting at the same rate as the Earth turns, so it hovers over one point, thousands of miles above the Earth, to provide broadband access across the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean.
And after the Telstar 19 V is launched into space, the first stage of the Falcon 9 Block 5 will return to Earth for a landing on the SpaceX drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You."
Successful drone ship landing of Falcon 9 booster in April  2016.
Successful drone ship landing of Falcon 9 booster in April, 2016.
Three options for reusability
According to Florida Today, SpaceX has three computer-controlled booster options after any launch that kick off the reusability process.
If there is enough fuel left after the launch, the mission profile can call for a Return To Landing Site, or RTLS. Basically, this means the booster will find its way home to land at a selected site a few miles from where it launched. So far, at Cape Canaveral, these are the only kind of landings that have been done, to date.
If there is less fuel leftover, the booster will go for a landing on the drone ships, "Of Course I Still Love You" for the East Coast and "Just Read the Instructions" for the West Coast. This is considered a halfway option. Here's some news on the drone ships - A third one is being built for East coast use, called the "A Shortfall of Gravitas."
The third and final option is the "expendable" one, and we know what that means. There is not enough fuel for the booster to make it back to land or a drone ship.
Launch Sunday
Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
Mission: Telstar 19 VANTAGE communications satellite
Launch Time: 1:50 a.m.
Launch Window: 5:50 a.m.
Launch Complex: 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Landing: Of Course I Still Love You drone ship
Weather: 60 percent “go”
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