SpaceX Falcon 9-Dragon Plans Flight Dec. 7

SpaceX is charging ahead with Tuesday, December 7, 2010 launch of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The flight plan putting launching the Dragon into orbit and recovering it hours later, after a hot re-entry and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

The Tuesday launch window at Cape Canaveral is set for 9:03 a.m. Tuesday with the launch window extending to 12:33 p.m. The same window is available Dec. 8 and 9 if technical or weather problems stall the first attempt.

The 180-foot rocket to be rolled from its horizontal hangar Thursday (Dec. 2) and erected at Launch Complex 40 in preparation for a brief test firing Friday (Dec. 3) of nine first-stage engines.

A pre-launch news conference is planned at 1:30 p.m. Monday (Dec. 6), featuring SpaceX CEO Gwynne Shotwell and Washington NASA executives involved with the commercial space launch program development followed by a launch Tuesday (Dec. 7).

Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., plans at least one test flight next summer from the commercial Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia of the Taurus II rocket and Cygnus spacecraft.

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