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SpaceX changes plans for return-to-flight mission
Posted: Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 6:24 PM ET (2224 GMT)
Falcon 9 v1.1 launch of ORBCOMM OG2 satellites (SpaceX) SpaceX said Friday that it will launch a group of ORBCOMM satellites, and not one for SES, when its Falcon 9 rocket returns to flight within the next two months. SpaceX said the change will allow it to test relighting the upper stage engine of the Falcon 9, since the deployment of 11 ORBCOMM OG2 satellites requires only one burn of the second stage engine. Missions to geostationary orbit, like for the SES-9 mission, do require a second burn of the upper stage engine. The return to flight of the Falcon 9 after a June launch failure will also be the first flight of an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 with increased thrust. The ORBCOMM launch is scheduled for six to eight weeks, according to SpaceX, with the SES mission planned for late December.
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