SpaceX will be live streaming the launch of the Falcon 9 at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on June 4th 2010. Times are as follows: 10:40 Eastern Time, 07:40 Pacific, 14:40 UTC, 15:40 GB/Eire, 16:40 Paris.
The test flight will see the Dragon spacecraft launched into orbit as part of a test designed to produce essential aerodynamic and performance information. A second window of June 5th has been booked in case of bad weather.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is a medium-to-heavy lift, two-stage launch vehicle capable of lifting approximately 11 tons to low Earth orbit (LEO) and in excess of 4.5 tons to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). It is powered by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene (RP-1).
Falcon 9 has nine Merlin engines clustered together. The SpaceX nine engine design is an improved version of the architecture employed by the Saturn V and Saturn I rockets of the Apollo Program. Falcon 9 will have triple redundant flight computers and inertial navigation, with a GPS overlay for additional orbit insertion accuracy.
Some facts about the Falcon 9:
Length: 54.9 m (180 ft)
Width: 3.6 m (12 ft)
Mass (LEO, 5.2m fairing): 333,400 kg (735,000 lb)
Mass (GTO, 5.2m fairing): 332,800 kg (733,800 lb)
Thrust (vacuum): 4.94 MN (1,110,000 lbf)
In December 2008, NASA announced the selection of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon Spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) when the Space Shuttle retires in 2010. The $1.6 billion contract represents a minimum of 12 flights, with an option to order additional missions for a cumulative total contract value of up to $3.1 billion.
Starting in 2010, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will provide Earth-to-LEO transport of pressurized and unpressurized cargo. For those planning a satellite launch, the SpaceX price list is as follows:
LEO (s/c<80% capacity to the customer orbit) $45.8M
LEO (s/c>80% capacity to the customer orbit) $51.5M
GTO (s/c<3,000 kg)** $45.8M
GTO (s/c up to 4,680 kg) $51.5M
Discounts are available on multiple orders.
Founded in 2002, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The SpaceX team now numbers over 1000, with corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, California.