The launch is scheduled within a window between 1:50 a.m. EDT and 5:50 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
This will be the second launch of a block 5 first stage which is designed to be launched and landed up to 10 times without refurbishment. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that the block 5 boosters could probably be used up to 100 times with some minor refurbishment. The last launch of a block 5 Falcon 9 was on May 11, 2018.
SpaceX tweeted out a successful static test on Wednesday and announced the go-ahead for an early Sunday launch.
“Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete—targeting early morning launch on Sunday, July 22 of Telstar 19 VANTAGE from Pad 40 in Florida,” the company posted to Twitter.
Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete—targeting early morning launch on Sunday, July 22 of Telstar 19 VANTAGE from Pad 40 in Florida.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 18, 2018
The Telstar 19 VANTAGE satellite will have two high throughput payloads, one in Ku-band and the other in Ka-band and will be co-located with Telesat’s Telstar 14R satellite at 63 degrees West, a prime orbital slot for coverage of the Americas.
“Telstar 19 VANTAGE is a state-of-the-art, high throughput satellite optimized to serve growing markets in the Americas,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “We are pleased to again be working with SSL, a longstanding technology partner for Telesat, and excited to be augmenting our prime orbital position at 63 degrees West with additional HTS capacity to serve Latin America, Northern Canada and mobile broadband requirements in the Caribbean and North Atlantic, all markets where we have a leading position today.”
Weather conditions over the pad are expected to deteriorate Saturday with storms and clouds expected during the launch window. Forecasters give the launch about a 60% probability of having favorable weather. If the launch is scrubbed, a backup window early Monday will be used. If the launch does go as scheduled, the live stream will be added to this post.
This launch will be the 13th for SpaceX this year continuing and the dizzying schedule continues with a launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California on July 25. That mission is another Iridium satellite launch during which an additional 10 satellites will be added to the company’s voice and data constellation.