Launch Fever Starts Overnight Tonight – Four Key Launches Coming Up – UPDATE 4

Launch Fever Starts Overnight Tonight – Four Key Launches Coming Up – UPDATE 4

UPDATE 4: September 15, 2013, 10:30 am ET:   This will be the last update for this article.  Check back at for further information on the launches that have not yet occurred.   This morning, Elon Musk tweeted that the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch was being delayed until September 29 or 30.

UPDATE 3: September 14, 2013, 3:30 pm ET:  The Antares launch has slipped at least one day, from September 17 to September 18.

UPDATE 2: September 14, 2013, 8:05 am ET:  Japan succeeded in launching its new Epsilon rocket at 1:00 am EDT this morning (2:00 pm Japan Standard Time).

UPDATE:  September 13, 2013, 4:25 pm ET.   As we said, launch dates can always slip, and SpaceX’s already has.  The Canadian Space Agency, whose CASSIOPE satellite will be aboard the rocket, tweeted and updated its website about 4:00 pm EDT to say the launch has been delayed to a “later date.”  We’ve updated the link about the SpaceX launch to a story we just posted about the launch, including the postponement.

ORIGINAL STORY: September 13, 2013.  Four especially important space launches are on tap in the next several days beginning overnight tonight Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).   Japan, the United States and Russia all have a lot riding on the outcome of these events.

First up is Japan’s second attempt to launch its new Epsilon rocket.   That is scheduled for 12:45 am EDT Saturday (in the wee hours overnight  tonight, but officially tomorrow).  It will be mid-afternoon local time at the launch site in Ucihnoura, Japan — 1:45 pm Japan Standard Time.  The launch window is open for 45 minutes. 

Next up on Sunday, according to the latest rumors, will be SpaceX’s first launch of a new version its Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon 9 v1.1.   It also will be the first SpaceX launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA.    SpaceX has released little information, but a NASA launch manifest currently shows the launch on Sunday, September 15, between 1600-1800 Z (12:00 pm -2:00 pm EDT, or 9:00-11:00 am local time at the launch site).   [Other sources also report that this is the launch date and time, but H/T to @Jeff_Foust for pointing out this NASA manifest, which is the most official of those sources.]

On Tuesday, September 17,  Orbital Sciences Corporation is planning the first flight of its Antares rocket with a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station.  This is Orbital’s demonstration launch for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.  Launch is from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the coast of Virginia at 11:16 am EDT.

Last is the return-to-flight of Russia’s Proton rocket.  The launch date is uncertain.  It was to have taken place on Sunday, but has been postponed while engineers check out an anomalous reading detected in the rocket’s first stage earlier this week.

Obviously all launch dates and times are subject to change due to weather or technical considerations.

In summary, these four very important launches are expected to take place as follows:

  • SATURDAY, 12:45 am EDT/1:45 pm Japan Standard Time.  First launch of JAXA’s Epsilon rocket, Uchinoura, Japan
  • SUNDAY, 12:00 – 2:00 pm EDT/9:00-11:00 am Pacific Daylight Time.   First launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1, Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA
  • TUESDAY, 11:16 am EDT.   First launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket with Cygnus spacecraft to International Space Station, Wallops Island, VA
  • TBD.   Return to flight of Russia’s Proton rocket, Baikonur, Kazakhstan (was scheduled for Sunday, but last minute anomalous reading being investigated)

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.