SpaceX before the end of this month hopes to fly a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center for the first time.
The company is targeting a launch no earlier than Monday, Jan. 30, of the EchoStar 23 commercial communications satellite from KSC’s historic pad 39A, the former Saturn V and space shuttle pad.
A liftoff on Monday would happen at 12:04 a.m., so the countdown would mostly unfold next Sunday night.
Before then, SpaceX is expected to fuel the rocket on the pad and light its nine main engines, a standard pre-launch rehearsal.
The KSC launch follows the Falcon 9’s successful return to flight Jan. 14 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a mission that delivered 10 Iridium Communications satellites to orbit and saw SpaceX land the rocket’s first stage at sea.
SpaceX needs to launch from KSC because pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station remains damaged the Sept. 1 explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and commercial satellite during a test.