As a consequence of the September 1 explosion of a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle during a “static fire” test, AMSAT has announced that the planned integration of Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D on the maiden voyage of the Spaceflight SHERPA platform would be postponed. AMSAT said the impact of the incident on the launch date is unknown at this time, however. Fox-1C and Fox-1D are scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 between September 1 and November 30, and, if integration is rescheduled, they still could launch within that time frame.
Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D carry university experiments from Pennsylvania State-Erie, Vanderbilt, University of Iowa, cameras provided by Virginia Tech, as well as amateur radio voice repeaters capable of U/V or L/V operation.
The Nayif-1 CubeSat, developed by Emirati students from the American University of Sharjah, was expected to be put into orbit on the same launch as Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D. Nayif-1 carries an inverting 435/145 MHz transponder (FUNcube-5) for SSB/CW.
The Falcon 9 rocket destroyed on September 1 was to have put Israel’s Space-Communications Ltd Amos-6 satellite into orbit on September 3, as part of an effort by Facebook to provide Internet access to parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The cause of the explosion at Cape Canaveral remains under investigation.
In a statement, SpaceX said the launch vehicle was “vertical and in the process of being fueled for the test.” The company said the explosion appears to have originated in the vicinity of the upper-stage liquid oxygen tank.
AMSAT has said it will provide schedule updates on Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D, as further information becomes available. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service, Southgate Amateur Radio News