Article by: Matthew Richardson
For the full story visit: Orlando Business Journal
All eyes will be on SpaceX as the company plans two rocket launches in February from Cape Canaveral — ending its more than five-month hiatus in the area since its Sept. 1 rocket explosion. SpaceX is planning a Falcon 9 launch from Kennedy Space Center’s historic launch complex 39A, the site from which Apollo and space shuttle missions began. The mission is to deliver supplies to the International Space Station and has a projected Feb. 15 launch date, reports the Spaceflight Now. That mission was delayed twice from Nov. 11 and Jan. 22.
A second mission, which involves launching EchoStar 23 — a communication satellite — does not have a projected date, but is listed for late February. Pad 39A was first used to launch Apollo 4 on Nov. 9, 1967. It also is the site where Apollo 11 lifted off from on the first manned moon landing in 1969. The pad last was used for Space Shuttle Atlantis’ launch to the International Space Station on July 11, 2011, the final shuttle flight.
Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX is dipping its toe back in the rocket launch pool in January where it carried out a Falcon 9 mission in Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The company also successfully landed the rocket after it launched.
SpaceX likely will get a warm welcome upon its return to launching in Cape Canaveral as large crowds often head to Brevard County to see if the rocket will land upright — a method started by SpaceX that could be a game changer on how much is spent on rockets.
The Sept. 1 SpaceX rocket explosion caused major damage to launch complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, forcing the firm to halt operations and investigate the cause of the explosion. But now, the company plans to launch more rockets than before, especially with it working on having two new launch pads at launch complex 13.
At launch complex 13, SpaceX hopes to land 18 rockets per year.