SpaceX Rocket Launch Doubleheader on Tap as Delta IV Heavy delays farewell

While the wait to say farewell to the Delta IV Heavy continues, locals and spring breakers are in for a possible double rocket launch show on Saturday.

If all goes according to plan, two Falcon 9 rockets could take to the skies over Florida in back-to-back evening launches — still something of a novelty.

Check out our live coverage at this link.

SpaceX confirmed both launches Friday night, following behind a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency advisory and Federal Aviation Administration listing.

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On Saturday, March 30, Eutelsat 36D, a telecommunications satellite for Africa and Eurasia, is targeted for potential launch from Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A on a Falcon 9 rocket. The satellite is designed to provide television broadcasting and government services over Africa, Europe and eastern countries for more than 15 years, an Airbus press release said.

Launch is currently expected for 5:52 p.m. it’s a three-hour and 58-minute window if needed, with a backup opportunity Sunday.

Later that evening, Space wilk attempt to launch another batch of 23 satellites from Launch Complex 40 on another Falcon 9 rocket. This launch is currently targeting a liftoff at 9:02 p.m. with the window extending until 10 p.m. Backup opportunities exist starting at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Weather is forecast to be ideal for both launches with a less than 5 percent chance of violations that would prevent liftoff, according to the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron. The only concern: thick clouds.

The last time the Space Coast saw a double-header was February 14-15 , when SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Intuitive Machines moon lander from KSC Pad 39A, just over seven hours after a Falcon 9 rocket launched a secretive USSF-124 national security mission from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Odysseus moon lander did make it to the moon albeit with a tipped-over landing, becoming the first American spacecraft to land on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.

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Meanwhile, the long-anticipated wait for United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy to make its final flight looks likely to stretch through the weekend. The planned 2:45 p.m. Thursday launch went into a hold when winds exceeded the acceptable limit on Thursday, and that's when teams noticed a gaseous nitrogen pipeline ground pump failed, according to a post on X by ULA CEO and President Tory Bruno.

The pump provides pneumatic pressure to the launch vehicle systems.

ULA said they would do a 24-hour turnaround, and the launch was then planned for 1:37 p.m. Friday. But Bruno later posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the "pump failed again ... Stand by."

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy remains on Complex 37 launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Thursday afternoon, March 28, 2024, after a scrub minutes before the planned 2:45 p.m. liftoff Thursday due to a technical issue. The rocket is carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. No new launch date has been set. Craig Bailey/FLORIDA TODAY via USA TODAY NETWORK

Just before 8 p.m., ULA said they'd be standing down to continue to work on the pipeline.

"The team continues to troubleshoot the pipeline and more time is needed to instill confidence in the system," the company said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our customer to confirm our next launch attempt and a new date will be provided upon resolution."

The Federal Aviation Administration shows that ULA does have a 1:25 p.m. launch window opportunity on Monday. The launch window has been four hours. ULA has not said yet, though, whether they'll be ready for a Monday launch. When it launches, it will be the 16th flight of the Delta IV Heavy and the 389th and final flight of the Delta rocket program.

ULA is replacing the retiring rocket with the next-generation Vulcan, which logged a successful maiden flight in January from Cape Canaveral.

Marvin and Shelly Kendall from New York were at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Thursday, hoping to see the final flight of the powerful triple-core Delta IV Heavy. Marvin works as an IT System engineer while Shelly works in the pharmaceutical field. Both said they understand the importance of STEM so when they heard about the launch, they wanted to be there.

Their children, Marvin Kendall III, 10, Alexander Solomon, 11, and Harper Kendall, 8, stood disappointed with their parents toward the front of the Visitor Complex. “Let down,” Alexander Solomon said when asked how he felt about the scrub.

Spectators at Kennedy Point Park in Titusville waiting for the launch that was scrubbed for Thursday. The historic final launch of the ULA Delta IV Heavy from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station was scrubbed for March 28, but will now attempt liftoff on Friday.
Spectators at Kennedy Point Park in Titusville waiting for the launch that was scrubbed for Thursday. The historic final launch of the ULA Delta IV Heavy from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station was scrubbed for March 28, but will now attempt liftoff on Friday.

Saturday's double-header, if it launches as scheduled, could be an eye-popping sky delight for those in town.

Contact Space Reporter Brooke Edwards at

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch doubleheader coming up on Cape Saturday