December 4, 2019 Launch Time: 12:00 PM EDT

Falcon 9 • SpaceX CRS 19

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 21st Dragon spacecraft mission on its 19th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

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Florida’s Space Coast has long been our nation’s gateway to exploring, discovering & understanding our universe. With more launches happening now than ever before, now is the time to witness a marvel. View our launch schedule & join us during this new era of space discovery.


Why There’s Been a Lull in Launches on Florida’s Space Coast

Rocket launches are thrilling to watch, and they’re arguably one of the most popular activities on the Florida’s Space Coast.  And the first thing to remember is that these launches are missions, not tourist events. So why has there been a lull in launches lately?


Think about everything that needs to happen before a plane takes off. The plane is fueled, passengers have to debark, the plane needs to be cleaned, and the luggage has to be unloaded and loaded. For a rocket launch, there is much more that needs to be done before it can blast into the atmosphere, and there are many factors that determine if a rocket is ready to be launched not.


Weather Delays

However, similar to one of the reasons why a plane can be delayed, weather is a major factor when it comes to launches.  According to NASA, for one of their rockets to launch, weather needs to be nearly perfect. Some launch days may start with bad weather, but when it comes to that launch window, there needs to be no precipitation, the winds slower than 21 mph from the northeast (39 mph from other directions) and the temperature has to be above 48 degrees Fahrenheit. A rocket fully prepared to launch can be scrubbed simply by a few droplets of rain; however, you can hold out hope as long as the launch window is open. Sometimes they will launch if conditions clear by the end of the launch window.


Miscellaneous Delays

To be quite honest, we’re not 100% sure why the launch schedule has slowed down heading into quarter four. There’s still a chance that we may see high-profile launches this year, including the first uncrewed and crewed demonstration flights led by SpaceX and Boeing. But as we head into manned space flight again, it’s likely that the space industry is proceeding with caution and testing things appropriately to ensure safety.


Last year, Florida’s Space Coast saw about 20 launches whereas this year, we have seen about 11 and four more are tentatively scheduled for the rest of the year. Whether it’s contract delays, testing delays or weather delays, there are many factors that go into planning a rocket launch.


Your Place for a Space Vacation

Although 2019 wasn’t quite as busy on the rocket launch front here on Florida’s Space Coast, this is still the place for your next space vacation. Come visit Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and immerse yourself in space history with interactive experiences. From getting up close to Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Apollo/Saturn V Center to spending a full day at the Astronaut Training Experience, there are still plenty of things to give you a space themed vacation outside of a rocket launch.


As we look to 2020, it’s expected to be a successful year for launches, including the launch of the Mars Rover 2020 with expected launch to take place between July 17 to August 5. One thing is for certain, there’s a lot to look forward to on the Space Coast in 2020 and beyond.


For the latest information on Space Coast launches, download the Launch Console app on the iTunes Store or the Google Play Store.

Boeing CST-100 Starliner

Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner spacecraft is being developed in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The Starliner was designed to accommodate seven passengers, or a mix of crew and cargo, for missions to low-Earth orbit. For NASA service missions to the International Space Station, it will carry up to four NASA-sponsored crew members and time-critical scientific research. The Starliner has an innovative, weldless structure and is reusable up to 10 times with a six-month turnaround time. It also features wireless internet and tablet technology for crew interfaces.

United Launch Alliance Atlas V 500 Series

The Atlas V family of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV) represents ULA’s commitment to enhanced competitive launch services for the U.S. government. Since their debut in August 2002, Atlas V vehicles have achieved 100 percent mission success in launches from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. and Space Launch Complex-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

SpaceX Falcon 9

Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. As the first rocket completely developed in the 21st century, Falcon 9 was designed from the ground up for maximum reliability. Falcon 9’s simple two-stage configuration minimizes the number of separation events — and with nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy

Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.

SpaceX Dragon

Dragon is a free-flying spacecraft designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations. Dragon made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and safely return cargo to Earth, a feat previously achieved only by governments. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth.

United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium

The Delta IV Medium is the most basic Delta IV rocket. Launched from Complex 37 Florida’s Space Coast, it is capable of delivering 4,200kg of payload to orbit. The Delta family of rockets are built by Boeing and operated by the United Launch Alliance for commercial launches, military missions, and NASA flights.

United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy

The Delta IV family of launch vehicles combines design simplicity, manufacturing efficiency, and streamlined mission and vehicle integration to meet customer requirements to launch high-priority U.S. Air Force (USAF), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), NASA, and commercial payloads to orbit. With operational launch pads on both coasts every Delta IV configuration is available to service the requirements of current and future satellite programs.

United Launch Alliance Atlas V 400 Series

The Atlas V family of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV) represents ULA’s commitment to enhanced competitive launch services for the U.S. government. Since their debut in August 2002, Atlas V vehicles have achieved 100 percent mission success in launches from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. and Space Launch Complex-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

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