back to article Sick burn, brah: SpaceX test fires rockets for SES bird launch this week

SpaceX reports that it's ready to roll for Wednesday's satellite launch, which will be followed by another attempt to get one of the Falcon 9 rockets to land on a water-borne platform. Luxembourg-based SES is paying SpaceX to loft a new communications satellite into geostationary orbit along the equator at 108.2 degrees east …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "Go, baby, go!!!!" -- Walter Cronkite

  2. Weapon

    The chance even for a water landing is going to be really slim for this one due to the heavy satellite and high orbit will leave them with little fuel. Regardless, I am hopeful.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Hence the decision to aim for the barge, not land.

      It will be tight, but they'll have run the numbers...

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Well, they say Xst time is the charm... seriously, good look for the launch and just that little bit more luck for Xst barge landing!

    (Cue the Shepard's prayer...)

    1. WraithCadmus

      Given the water landing maybe the Fisherman's Prayers is the better choice?

  4. ratfox Silver badge

    Another water landing

    Icon says it all...?

    1. s5PGmU

      Re: Another water landing

      Hopefully not. Here's to a successful launch and a spectacular landing (this time without the big boom, I hope).

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    Late night viewing

    For those interested, the launch window for the SES9 mission is 23:46:14-01:23 GMT. So anyone who wants to watch on the UK/Euro side of the pond has a late night ahead.

    --> Hopefully only from the right end -->

    The next SpaceX missions are not until April (launch dates and times TBD)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And when it crashes will the same Orwellian presenters pretend it never happened ?

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Newsspeak

      Wow. Orwellian.

      Real Orwellian would be not having presenters, webstreams livestreaming, or any sort of information at all given to the public.

      I really think you should readjust your expectations, and be happy with the plethora of information we get but have no right to whatsoever.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Newsspeak

      Who pretends it didn't happen? Each time they haven't landed successfully before, Elon Musk has said "well it didn't land this time for this reason. We have fixed that and will try again". Eventually they will have fixed all the issues they have found and it will land.

      This is what happens when you test bleeding edge kit. Test, learn something, fix. test again.

      Compare this to the white elephant that is the F35. I reckon Elon will successfully land many of his rockets on water long before the Navy start landing their F35s on the Queen Elizabeth.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Who pretends it didn't happen?

        And let's face it, even if the water landings never exceed 50/50 success, that still exceeds current expectations for all other space craft.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    As usual it's a 50/50 chance.

    May work, may not.

    The good news is they've fixed all the stuff that went wrong before so either that's all problems fixed or they've found another item that needs to be tided up for next time.

    Which might be the last item that needs to be fixed and the next one after this comes down like a charm.

    Or not, in which that fix list gets a bit longer.

    Thursday morning should be interesting.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: As usual it's a 50/50 chance.

      Welcome to the world of bleeding edge R&D.

    2. annodomini2

      Re: As usual it's a 50/50 chance.

      The last barge landing was attempted with an F9 V1.1, this will be a V1.2 which made the successful Landing and has much stronger legs than the V1.1

    3. Weapon

      Re: As usual it's a 50/50 chance.

      The change of this one landing is as I mentioned above really slim. It has nothing to do with how far it progressed and everything to do with the fact that they are launching a really heavy payload into a high orbit. To the point where most people didn't even think they would do a water landing even.

      The more fuel, the higher the margin of error as it can run the throttle longer thus have more time to adjust. With so little fuel, this attempt is most likely under 10% chance. It literally has to perform perfect. My guess is the only reason why SpaceX is even doing it is to gather more data and attempt more difficult maneuvers.

      The next one should be a real attempt. That said, despite the low odds of this one, I am hopeful.

  8. A Nonny Moose


    Either SpaceX will finally get one of their rockets to land on water, or we get another nice big firework show.

    Personally, I don't see any downsides.

  9. Tikimon Silver badge

    Failure is never permanent

    The rocket may crash, or it may land intact. And then crash again the next trip! It doesn't matter, because they're steadily learning and making the rockets better. Eventually you solve all the problems and have a reliable rocket that lands beautifully every time.

    They'll get it eventually. Might be this time, even.

  10. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    "I just want to tell you both...

    "good luck. We're all counting on you."

  11. Hopalong

    Down play

    The mission press release is down playing the chances of an successful landing of the first stage. SpaceX is using the performance reserve normally used to recover the stage to give SES-9 a shorter transfer time to GEO, So the stage will have the minimum amount of fuel and Lox left to try for the barge..

  12. Martin Budden

    And of course if one engine fails on the way up the satellite should still get there but the water landing will probably be scrubbed (i.e. the first stage will just ditch) because of the extra fuel needed to fly with just 8 remaining engines. All of which is fine by me, it's great to see such a flexible system with built-in redundancy.

  13. John Sager

    Iain M. Banks

    Since he drew the distinction.

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