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SpaceX to launch twice in December?

Elon Musk-backed SpaceX, still suffering from a September 1st fireball catastrophe that destroyed an Israeli-owned satellite, is reported to be readying two rockets for launch in December.

One Falcon 9 rocket has been delivered to its Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (launch complex 4), in readiness for a flight. Prime candidate for this particular launch would be the Iridium communications fleet of 10 satellites and much delayed and needed by the operator. The launch has already been postponed from July and September.

The other rocket is reportedly being tested at SpaceX’s McGregor test facility in Texas, ahead of being shipped to Cape Canaveral (launch pad 39A). Pad 39A has been refurbished by SpaceX while the nearby Pad 40 is being repaired following the explosion in September.

This launch could be the – also much delayed – EchoStar 23 satellite. Local reports from Florida suggest that it could be as late as December 30th before the Cape Canaveral launch takes place.

However, SpaceX has not yet issued the formal report on the Sept 1st explosion from the investigation board comprising the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA, the US Air Force, and other industry experts.

The other candidate for a Florida launch is SES with its SES-10 satellite, but this has been widely acknowledged to be using a refurbished Falcon 9 rocket, and is not now expected to be ready for launch until January. Also scheduled for launch by SpaceX in Q1 next year are BulgariaSat, KoreaSat 5A and Es’Hail-2.

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