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Fri, Sep 16, 2016

SpaceX Still Hopeful For November Launch

Investigation Continues Into Last Week's Launch Pad Explosion

While SpaceX is still scratching its collective head over the loss of a Falcon 9 rocket and satellite on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral last week, the company said Tuesday that it plans to resume its launch schedule in November from either Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center or from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Florida Today reports that SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell laid out the timeline during a panel discussion at a space industry conference in Paris. "We’re anticipating getting back to flight, being down for about three months, getting back to flight in the November timeframe," Shotwell said. "We’ll launch on the East Coast from pad 39A in that timeframe, and then Vandenberg (Air Force Base in California) will be available for our customers."

SpaceX has not confirmed Shotwell's optimistic projections.

The company leased the historic Pad 39A from NASA for use by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But that program has experienced several setbacks, and recently was again delayed until at least the first quarter of 2017.

But with SpaceX now talking about using 39A for Falcon 9 launches, it is apparent that Launch Complex 40 will be out of commission for some time, according to industry analysts.

Iridium, which is the customer for the next planned launch from Vandenberg, said through spokeswoman Diane Hockenberry that it is "encouraged" by SpaceX's projection for a November launch, but that launch will be based "on a successful root cause determination and resolution. We're ready to launch when our rocket is ready."

(Image from file)

FMI: www.spacex.com

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