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Rocket Launch Schedule 2020

Atlas V launch viewed from the Apollo Saturn V Center viewing area [© 2019, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]
Atlas V launch viewed from the Apollo Saturn V Center viewing area [© 2019, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]

If you ever get the opportunity to watch the launch of a rocket then you do not want to miss it; it is an experience of a lifetime. Words cannot describe the sounds of a rocket blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center.


The Kennedy Space Center is actually two launch sites, the civilian NASA Kennedy Space Center and the military Cape Canaveral Air Force Station which make up part of the “Eastern Range” overseen by the 45th Space Wing that also looks after nearby Patricks Air Force Base. Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is the headquarters of the “Western Range”.

Upcoming launches

Note that all launch dates are provisional and are subject to change, you should always check with the Kennedy Space Center before making a special trip. Check to see the next launch date and where you can watch a rocket launch.

All times are local times.

Abbreviations:

  • EDT — Eastern Daylight Time
  • EST — Eastern Standard Time (during the winter months)
  • NET — “No earlier than”
  • TBA — To be announced

Click here for previous launch details for 2019 and future launches for 2021 and beyond.

SpaceX started the new year with two autonomous spaceport drone ships (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You” and “Just Read The Instructions” based on the east coast along with two fairing recovery vessels “Ms. Tree” and “Ms. Chief”.

This gives SpaceX the potential to recover up to two Falcon 9 boosters on land and two at sea at any one time.

2020 is looking like a busy year for SpaceX with the possibility of over 30 launches, many of them being the new Starlink missions where 60 small satellites are launched each time as part of a global internet service.

SpaceX is currently working on new fixtures at their former Space Shuttle launch pad, LC-39A. As well as support for future Starship/Super Heavy launches they are also building a vertical integration tower to enable them to mount sensitive military satellites vertically.

At present all SpaceX launched satellites are mounted horizontally in the SpaceX hanger close to the pad but some military satellites have to be kept vertical prior to launch.

Both SpaceX hope 2020 will bring the first crewed launches of their crew capsules to send astronauts to the International Space Station ending reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Blue Origin also intend to recover their New Glenn rocket in Florida starting in 2021. In preparation for that they have purchased a secondhand ship called the “Stena Freighter”. It will be converted into a mobile landing platform.

A small-to-medium sized rocket builder, Firefly Aerospace are establishing a factory with a view to launching its Alpha and Beta rockets from SLC 20 (former Titan) launchpad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Another former Titan and Pershing missile launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, LC-16 is to be the new home of Relativity Space. They intend to launch small satellites up to 2,750 pounds (1,250 kg) by the end of 2020 using their 3-D printed Terran 1 rocket.

January 6, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 2

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 3rd batch of 60 Starlink v1.0 satellites as part of SpaceX’s own Starlink broadband network. Each satellite weighs around 500 lb (227 kg).

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 9:19 p.m. EST and the first stage successfully landed on the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You”. The booster had successfully launched three times before.

Delayed from November 4 and late December, 2019, January 3, 2020.

January 18, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort Test

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched an unmanned Crew Dragon spacecraft on a critical in-flight abort test (IFA) to prove that astronauts could be safely rescued in the event of a failure during launch.

The first stage booster (B1046) was the first Block 5 Falcon 9 booster and had flown three times before. It was expected to be destroyed during the test as the abort was set to happen around Max Q, during peak aerodynamic stress on the rocket. SpaceX were not planning to try and land it and had even removed the grid fins and landing legs.

About 84 seconds into the flight at an altitude of around 65,000 feet, the nine Merlin engines were shut down and the Super Draco thrusters in the crew capsule ignited to push the capsule to safety. The Falcon 9 first stage booster broke up and exploded in a huge fireball under the extreme aerodynamic load. B1046 was the third Block 5 booster to achieve four launches.

The Crew Dragon capsule then descended by parachutes to a successful splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean where it was recovered.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A and the four hour launch window opened at 8:00 a.m. EST.

The launch could have taken place as early as April 2019 but was more likely to be May/June as it was dependent upon the refurbishment of the capsule from the Crew Dragon DM-1 Demonstration Mission 1.

Unfortunately there was an explosion during an engine test on April 20, 2019 and the capsule was destroyed. SpaceX allocated an alternative capsule for the test which successfully completed a ground test firing of the Super Draco thrusters on November 13, 2019.

January 29, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 3

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 4th batch of 60 Starlink v1.0 satellites as part of SpaceX’s own Starlink broadband network. Each satellite weighs around 500 lb (227 kg).

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 9:06 a.m. EST.

The first stage booster successfully landed on the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You”. This booster has now launched three times.

The recovery ship “Ms. Tree” successfully caught one half of the payload fairing whilst the other ship “Ms. Chief” nearly caught the other half.

Delayed from January 24, 27 and 28 due to high upper level winds and bad weather in the offshore landing area.

February 9, 2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, Solar Orbiter

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched the Solar Orbiter (SolO) probe for the European Space Agency to measure the inner heliosphere and nascent solar wind and provide the closest ever views of the Sun.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-41 with a launch window of 11:03 p.m. to 1:03 a.m. EST.

Delayed from July 2017, October 2018, February 2019 and February 5, 2020.

February 17, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 5th batch of 60 Starlink v1.0 satellites as part of SpaceX’s own Starlink broadband network. Each satellite weighs around 500 lb (227 kg).

This was the third Starlink launch in 2020 and brings the total number of Starlink broadband satellites to 300.

The first stage booster had already flown three times and SpaceX attempted to recover it again on board the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You” for the fourth time. Unfortunately is narrowly missed the barge on landing, believed to be caused by unexpected high winds.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 10:04 a.m. EST.

Delayed from February 15 and 16, 2020.

March 6, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 20

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 22nd Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission was to take the 20th resupply cargo load to the International Space Station. Amongst the cargo was the Bartolomeo external platform.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 11:50 p.m. EST.

SpaceX recover the first stage booster back at Cape Canaveral.

Delayed from October 15, 2019 and March 2, 2020.

This was the last mission of the original phase 1 Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract and the last ever flight of the original Dragon 1 spacecraft.

A further six resupply cargo missions are planned between 2020 and 2024 as part of the Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract. These will use modified versions of the Dragon 2 Crew spacecraft without the SuperDraco abort engines, seats, control and life support systems and will be capable of automated docking.

Whilst the Dragon 1 spacecraft were certified to fly up to three missions, the Dragon 2 are expected to be able to fly at least five missions.

SpaceX will also launch another six crew missions as part of the ISS Crew Transportation Services program (CTS).

March 18, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 5

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 6th batch of 60 Starlink v1.0 satellites as part of SpaceX’s own Starlink broadband network. Each satellite weighs around 500 lb (227 kg).

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 8:16 a.m. EDT.

Delayed from January, February 14, March 4, 11 and 15, 2020.

Booster B1048 became the first Block 5 Falcon 9 to complete 5 launches.

One of the nine Merlin engines of the first stage booster cut out prematurely during launch but the other engines were able to compensate and the primary mission was a success. However during the landing phase, contact was lost with the booster and it failed to land on the barge.

The previous launch attempt was scrubbed at T-0 because one engine was reading higher than expected thrust levels. It has not been confirmed whether this was the engine that subsequently failed or whether it had anything to do with the failed landing.

Both fairing halves were recovered from the ocean.

March 26, 2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, AEHF-6

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched the 6th Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite for the U.S. military.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-41 at 4:18 p.m. with a launch window of 2:57 to 4:57 p.m. EDT.

Delayed from March 13 and 19, 2020.

Many missions will most likely be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic

Delayed - SpaceX Falcon 9, SAOCOM 1B

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SAOCOM1B for Agentina’s space agency CONAE.

The satellite was originally scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Launch time is 7:21 p.m. EDT.

Delayed from quarter 4, 2019, January, February and March 30, 2020.

April, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 6

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 7th batch of 60 Starlink v1.0 satellites as part of SpaceX’s own Starlink broadband network. Each satellite weighs around 500 lb (227 kg).

April 29, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPS 3 SV03

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 3rd third-generation GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch window from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. EDT.

Delayed from October and December 2019, January and March 2020.

May 7, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Crew Dragon DM-2 Demonstration Mission 2

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft on a manned demo flight to the International Space Station on a 14 day mission.

This will be first ever Crew Dragon manned flight, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The Crew Dragon capsule will splashdown at sea on its return to Earth.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

Delayed from December 2016, May, July, August and November 2017, December 2018, June, July 25 and September 21, 2019, February and April 2020.

Quarter 2, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, ANASIS-II

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the ANASIS-II (KMilSatCom 1) military communications satellite for South Korea.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

Delayed from November 2019.

May 2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, AFSPC-7 (X-37B OTV-6)

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch one of the top-secret X-37B Orbital Test Vehicles for the US military on its 6th mission.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Delayed from December 2019.

June 2020 - United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket, NROL-44

The Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-37B.

Quarter 2, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9 - SXM-7

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SXM-7 satellite for SiriusXM.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

Quarter 2, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9 - Türksat 5A

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Türksat 5A satellite for the Türksat Satellite Communications and Cable TV Operations Company of Turkey.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

Quarter 2, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, USCV-1 (NASA Crew Flight 1)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the first crew of three astronauts for NASA to the International Space Station.

The crew is likely to be Soichi Noguchi (JAXA), Victor J Glover and Michael S Hopkins (NASA).

Launch is from launchpad LC-39A.

Quarter 2, 2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the 2nd test flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station. This will be the first ever manned launch using an Atlas V rocket.

The crew will consist of a NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann and a Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson and will land in the western United States on its return to Earth.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Delayed from November 2018, August 2019 and quarter 1, 2020.

July 17, 2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, Mars 2020

The Atlas V rocket will launch the Mars 2020 rover project to land on the red planet. The new rover is based on the Curiosity rover but with a new payload and is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41 with a launch window from 9:00 to 10:40 a.m. EDT.

August 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPS 3 SV04

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 4th third-generation GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

Delayed from October and December 2019, May and July 2020.

August 5, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 21

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 23rd Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 21st resupply cargo load to the International Space Station including the first ever commercial airlock developed by NanoRacks and called the Bishop Airlock.

Launch is from launchpad LC-39A.

September 2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, NROL-101

The Atlas V rocket will launch a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

This will be the first launch of an Atlas 5 with Northrop Grumman GEM-63 solid rocket motors. Previous Atlas 5 rockets have used Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ-60A solid rocket motors.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Quarter 3, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9 - SXM-8

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SXM-8 satellite for SiriusXM.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

November 2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Smallsat SSO Starlink Rideshare 1

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch their 1st rideshare mission which allows small satellite operators to place typical individual payloads of up to 200 kg into Sun Sychromous Orbit (SSO) and share ride costs.

The launch will probably also include a number of SpaceX’s own Starlink satellites.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

Quarter 4, 2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, AFSPC-08

The Atlas V rocket will launch two military communications satellites (GSSAP5 and 6) for the U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) as part of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP).

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Quarter 4, 2020 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy - AFSPC-44

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch a classified Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-44 payload for the U.S. Air Force.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

Potential 2020 Launches

The following launches are not currently confirmed but might occur during 2020.

2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9 - GPS 3 SV05

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 5th third-generation GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 22

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 24th Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 22nd resupply cargo load to the International Space Station.

Launch is from launchpad LC-39A.

2021 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, AFSPC-12

The Atlas V rocket will launch a military communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, MicroGEO

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the MicroGEO satellite for Astranis helping provide internet access to Alaska.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

2020 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy - Ovzon

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the first satellite for Swedish company, Ovzon of Solna.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser

The Atlas V rocket will launch the first prototype Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser, a re-usable mini space shuttle. A second launch is scheduled for 2021.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9, USCV-3 (NASA Crew Flight 2)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 2nd crew flight for NASA to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

2020 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, ViaSat-3

The Atlas V rocket will launch the ViaSat-3 satellite for ViaSat Inc.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

2020 - SpaceX Falcon 9 - Mission to the Moon

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a privately funded “Mission to the Moon” with the objective of finding and recording NASAs Lunar Roving Vehicle.

PTScientists of Berlin are working in conjunction with a number of partners including Audi, Vodafone, Omega and Red Bull Media House.

An Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA) containing a pair of Audi Lunar Quattro rovers, will land near to the original Apollo 17 landing site of December 1972 and stream images back to Earth using a small 4G base station on board the ALINA.

Delayed from 2017, 2018 and 2019.

By the end of 2020 - Space Launch System - Artemis 1

The first launch of the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket which replaces the cancelled Constellation programme and the retired Space Shuttle programme. Originally called Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) the mission is now known as Artemis 1.

The SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built.

The mission will be to send an unmanned Orion capsule around the moon and deploy 6 small CubeSats.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-39B.

Delayed from November 2018, December 2019 and June 2020.

NASA Launch Schedules

Sources

  • Kennedy Space Center
  • Space Flight Now
  • Aviation Week and Space Technology
  • SpaceX
  • United Launch Alliance
  • Wikipedia

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