Weather looks good for SpaceX launch

2:48 PM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Inside SpaceX
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on a test flight, September 2013. CBS News



(Florida Today) The early forecast is excellent for the Cape's first launch of 2014, SpaceX's planned Friday evening attempt to loft a communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

There's a 90 percent chance of favorable weather during a launch window that extends from 5:05 p.m. to 7:17 p.m., according to the Air Force's 45th Space Wing.

The only concern: strong winds that could peak near 30 mph.

The launch would be SpaceX's second in a month from the Cape of a commercial communications satellite, following the successful Dec. 3 launch of SES-8.

It would be SpaceX's second from Florida, and third overall, of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, a taller, more powerful version of the original Falcon 9.

This time, the customer is Thailand-based Thaicom, which hopes to place its third satellite in a geostationary orbit to provide broadcast services to parts of Southeast Asia and Africa.

If the launch does not go Friday, the forecast continues to look good Saturday, with a 10 percent chance of clouds posing a problem during essentially the same window.

One more local liftoff is planned in January.

NASA is preparing for a Jan. 23 launch of its next Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, called TDRS-L, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

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