May 21, 2024
An Atlas V rocket is sending two commercial communications satellites to orbit Tuesday evening, marking the first of three rocket launches out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, this week.

An Atlas V rocket is sending two commercial communications satellites to orbit Tuesday evening, marking the first of three rocket launches out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, this week.

The commercial satellites will depart from the rocket roughly a half-hour apart, the first nearly six hours after liftoff and the second approximately 20 minutes later, with the SES-20 satellite departing first. Once separated, the satellites will use a propulsion system to circularize their orbits at 22,300 miles above the equator, according to the United Launch Alliance’s mission overview.

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Space Force forecasters predicted that the weather would be clear for takeoff over the weekend, with light showers in the afternoon. However, weather forecasts Tuesday said all weather conditions were favorable for takeoff. The report comes less than one week after Hurricane Ian flooded parts of the state.

Weather conditions have caused multiple launch delays in the past, with the Artemis I launch most recently postponed because of Hurricane Ian. Artemis I will not launch until November.

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Two other launches are expected later this week, with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching Wednesday at approximately 12 p.m. and a different Falcon 9 rocket taking off Thursday evening.

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