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Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests at the Apollo/Saturn V Center inside Kennedy Space Center experienced the unforgettable sights, sounds and earth-shaking vibrations of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch today at 11:15 a.m.
“It was awesome. Having grown up through the sixties when all this stuff was going on and never having seen a launch, this was impressive,” said Jerry Hoekzema from Philadelphia, Pa., who was at the Apollo/Saturn V Center with his family. “It was really cool. It went all the way up into the sky and started pounding like crazy,” said nine-year old Chessie Hoekzema.
“You could really feel the thrust and force and it was incredibly fast,” said Bjorn Stemkens from the Netherlands.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched this morning carrying six second-generation ORBCOMM OG2 communications satellites, providing significant enhancements to messaging capabilities. The satellites provide two-way data messaging services for ORBCOMM’s global customers. Second-generation OG2 satellites include an Automatic Identification System (AIS), allowing AIS-equipped ships tracking, navigation and safety features. ORBCOMM Inc. is the only current provider of commercial satellite networks that are 100 percent dedicated to machine-to-machine solutions.
Falcon 9 is SpaceX’s two-stage rocket manufactured to successfully transport satellites and their Dragon spacecraft into orbit. Currently the only rocket fully designed and developed in the 21st century, Falcon 9 delivers payloads to space aboard the Dragon spacecraft or inside a composite fairing. Safety and mission success were critical in the design of the Falcon 9 Rocket. With a minimal number of separation events and nine first-stage Merlin engines, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is designed so that even if two of the engines shut down, the rocket can still operate.
In 2012, SpaceX became the first commercial company to rendezvous with the International Space Station. Although these flights have been unmanned, SpaceX continues to work toward their goal of one day carrying astronauts to space in Dragon’s pressurized capsule.
The July 14 launch is one of numerous rocket launches taking place at Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station each year, carrying not only NASA science missions and government satellites, but also testing commercial space endeavors such as SpaceX.
2014 Rocket Launch Schedule (schedule subject to change):
July 23 Delta IV: AFSPC4
July 31 Atlas V: ULA Global Positioning System IIF-7 satellite
August TBD Falcon 9: SpaceX AsiaSat 8 communications satellite
August TBD Falcon 9: SpaceX AsiaSat 6 communications satellite
September TBD Atlas V: CLIO
September TBD SpaceX 5 commercial resupply services flight
October TBD Atlas V: GPS IIF-8
December TBD Delta IV: ULA Orion Exploration Flight Test-1
Dec. 5 SpaceX 6 commercial resupply services flight
A list of upcoming launches, launch-related activities and other special events are available online at www.KennedySpaceCenter.com or by calling 866-737-5235.