SpaceX targeting Sunday Falcon 9 launch from KSC for its third mission in nine days

  • SpaceX Falcon 9 launches from KSC, lands on drone ship

    SpaceX Falcon 9 launches from KSC, lands on drone ship

  • SpaceX launches Falcon 9 from KSC, lands at Cape

    SpaceX launches Falcon 9 from KSC, lands at Cape

  • SpaceX launches satellite size of a double-decker bus

    SpaceX launches satellite size of a double-decker bus

  • SpaceX launches Falcon 9 from KSC, nails landing

    SpaceX launches Falcon 9 from KSC, nails landing

  • Atlas V rocket blasts off on mission with Cygnus spacecraft

    Atlas V rocket blasts off on mission with Cygnus spacecraft

  • SpaceX launches, lands 'flight proven' Falcon 9

    SpaceX launches, lands ‘flight proven’ Falcon 9

  • Delta IV rocket launches from Cape Canaveral

    Delta IV rocket launches from Cape Canaveral

  • SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center

    SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center

  • Falcon 9 blasts off from KSC, lands at Cape

    Falcon 9 blasts off from KSC, lands at Cape

  • Atlas V rocket blasts off with missile detection satellite

    Atlas V rocket blasts off with missile detection satellite

Just nine days after SpaceX’s bicoastal accomplishment last weekend, the company is again aiming to vault a Falcon 9 rocket paired with a commercial communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center, this time on Sunday.

SpaceX’s third mission in nine days, targeted for a 59-minute launch window that opens at 7:35 p.m., will take an Intelsat communications satellite to a geostationary orbit from KSC’s pad 39A. This mission involves an expendable Falcon 9 – a first stage landing will not be attempted due to fuel constraints, so no landing legs will be installed on the booster.

A check of the rocket’s nine Merlin main engines, known as a static test fire, is scheduled to take place at pad 39A starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. The window for the test closes at midnight. A forecast from the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron is also expected Thursday.

The Hawthorne, California-based company achieved a major milestone last weekend when it broke its own record for flight-to-flight time, launching from both coasts and landing on drone ships stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

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[In California, SpaceX launches second Falcon 9 in two days]

On Friday, a previously flown Falcon 9 lifted Bulgaria’s first geostationary communications satellite, BulgariaSat-1, to orbit from KSC and softly landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship. Just two days later, a new Falcon 9 packed with 10 satellites for communications company Iridium leapt off the pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, later landing on the West Coast drone ship, named “Just Read The Instructions.”

Just halfway into the year, SpaceX has overseen nine successful missions, already topping 2016’s total of eight.

United Launch Alliance, meanwhile, is targeting August 3 for the launch of an Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, known as TDRS-M, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41. The spacecraft arrived in Titusville last week.

Contact Emre Kelly at [email protected] or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter at @EmreKelly and on Facebook at Emre Kelly.

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