Cape Canaveral inhabitants should get ready to hear the sounds and feel the vibrations in the month of August, with SpaceX, Orbital ATK, and United Launch Alliance all planning to launch their rockets from the same location. The three launches are scheduled to occur with a week’s gap between each of them.
Orbital ATK Plan
The Minotaur 4 rocket owned by Orbital ATK is planned to be launched on the 25th of August and will carry in it the USAFs ORS-5 satellite. The contract worth US$23.6 mn was given to Orbital ATK by the U.S. Air Force, for the launch of the SensorSat, or the ORS-5. The satellite will inspect other satellite and space debris in order to enhance the orbital tracking capabilities of the U.S. military. Launch Complex 46 of Space Florida, which has not been in action since 1999, was recently renovated and will be the launch site for the Minotaur 4.
United Launch Alliance Plan
The company had planned the launch of its Atlas 5 rocket through a partnership with Lockheed Martin, scheduled for the 18th of August. The rocket will be carrying the TDRSS payload. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System will connect the ISS with mission control as well as other satellites in orbit.
While SpaceX has done it before, the company plans to launch and safely land its famed Falcon 9 rocket on the 13th of August. The rocket will by carrying a delivery payload towards the ISS. The supplies will be carried by the Dragon spacecraft, loaded on the Falcon 9.
The Central Florida region is consistently proving its capability of providing valuable launch sites to the world. The number of scheduled launches from these sites is increasing, showing their increasing popularity. Companies such as SpaceX are already making plans of conducting at least one launch every two months from the Cape Canaveral site.