CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Will this be the week? Blast-off or bust? A Space X launch is slated for Thursday, but so far, 2019 has been plagued by delays and the shutdown.
This upcoming mission has international cargo, but the United States has a lot riding on it too. Conditions were hazy Monday. Even so, some space enthusiasts visited Space View Park with binoculars and cameras to try to get a glimpse of the Falcon 9 on the launch pad.
Thursday’s launch is a highly anticipated one. Israel is sending a lander to the Moon, the nation’s first exploration of the lunar surface. An Indonesian communication satellite is also heading up. Both are getting to space via SpaceX.
If this week’s launch goes well, the next thing to watch for (in March) is Demo One. Demo One will launch The Commercial Dragon Crew Capsule -- the capsule that will carry American astronauts to the International Space Station. It will be unmanned for the test, but if the test goes well, manned missions will follow, possibly this summer.
“Hopefully, we’re on the cusp of that now, but we really don’t know,” said Dr. Ken Kremer, space expert, publisher of SpaceUpClose.com.
Thursday’s launch is so important, and conditions need to be perfect. A mainly cloudy sky means "no go." Thick clouds could have dangerous static electricity.
“So if the rocket takes off, and it blows up a couple hundred feet in the air, that’s it, and this is so critical for the future, we wouldn’t know what blew it up for a while,” Kremer said, underscoring the need for exactly right conditions.
The SpaceX boat, Mr. Steven, is now off our coast. It might make history by catching falling reusable rocket parts. Dr. Kremer says Thursday could finally get 2019’s rocket season going.
“There is a cascading effect, a delay in one causes a delay further down the road,” Kremer said.
Thursday night, during the 8 o'clock hour is the sweet spot. That accommodates the moon mission and the target for the satellite.
The launch window opens at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday.