SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite

The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported SpaceX’s successful launch of the EchoStar XXIII spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center March 16 at 2 a.m. EDT. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (USAF PR) —  The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported SpaceX’s successful launch of the EchoStar XXIII spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center March 16 at 2 a.m. EDT.

EchoStar 23, designed and built by Space Systems Loral for EchoStar Corporation, will provide television broadcast services over Brazil with an estimated service life of 15 years.

This launch marks the last SpaceX Falcon 9 launch utilizing ground-based mission flight control personnel and equipment in the mission control center.  All future SpaceX rockets will utilize an Autonomous Flight Safety System which replaces the ground-based mission flight control personnel and equipment with on-board Positioning, Navigation and Timing sources and decision logic.  The benefits of AFSS include increased public safety, reduced reliance on range infrastructure, reduced range spacelift cost, increased schedule predictability and availability, operational flexibility, and launch slot flexibility.

SpaceX’s CRS-10 launch Feb.18 from LC 39A marked the historic first-ever launch utilizing AFSS on either of Air Force Space Command’s Eastern or Western Ranges.

The Falcon 9 Echostar XXIII launch was the third major launch operation for the Eastern Range this year and the second from LC 39A.  Before any spacecraft can launch on the range, a combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provide the mission assurance to ensure a safe and successful lift-off for range customers.

“We truly have a tremendous team here on the Space Coast and it’s my honor to be a part of this mission supporting the commercial space industry,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and Launch Decision Authority for this mission.  “Assured access to space is a team sport here on the Eastern Range.  This operation once again clearly demonstrates the successful collaboration we have with our mission partner SpaceX as we continue to shape the future of America’s space operations and showcase why the 45th Space Wing is the ‘World’s Premier Gateway to Space.’”

Since the late 1960s, LC 39A has served as the starting point for America’s most significant human spaceflight endeavors such as the Apollo 11 launch for the first manned moon landing in 1969 and the first Space Transportation System mission in 1981 with the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia, also named STS-1.  Thirty years later, NASA’s 135th and final mission of the Space Shuttle program, STS-135, successfully launched the orbiter Atlantis from LC 39A.

  • therealdmt

    It’s cool that this launch didn’t have any of that weird blowing up stuff involved

  • therealdmt

    The next one will be a biggie — SES-10, first reuse of a booster.

    2017 could be shaping up to be quite a year

  • Saturn13

    N o landing. Musk said he will not save many of this F-9, but will save the Mark 5 and last F-9 model. Might be going to Raptor engines I guess. I have signal loss with heavy rain on my Dish. Tropical Brazil has lot of rain. I hope it works.

  • windbourne

    and a re-landing of it.

    IFF SpaceX does not have any more issues, things really COULD be back on track, and could change the industry.
    I really want to see NASA help Bigelow and Axiom to get going, so that HSF will have multiple destinations, while waiting for the moon.

  • windbourne

    care to send that rain straight up north? 🙂
    We can use it, or better, snow.

    Yeah, no landing on this one, but that is supposed to be the last of the regular expendables.

  • ReSpaceAge

    Chris with the L2 folks has said that SpaceX is holding their date with range on this next Pre flow booster SES-10. To do this will require a a static fire with in seven days. apparently the New Launch pad is more durable than the old design. ULAs launches could disrupt the flow to this static fire. But with a little luck we may see another SpaceX launch in March.
    This is the same first booster I saw towed into the cap less than a year ago. It was the CRS flight that Musk decided to land on a barge even thought it had enough fuel to return to land.

    They will attempt to land the SES-10 booster on the barge but it is risky do to fuel margins.

    Anyway if the do I’ll take another selfie of it at port Canaveral.

    Older, No wiser



  • windbourne

    it would be nice to see them do 2 launches a month for this year.
    I am not certain if they are up to, but, can hope.

    Have fun.
    I think that we taking a drive in the tesla this summer to visit my folks in jupiter.
    If so, I am looking forward to having my kids (and myself) see a launch.
    That would be the cats meow.

  • roflplatypus

    This is a really long sentence that should wrap at the end of the line.