The Jason-3 satellite is getting its boost into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket, a two-stage vehicle powered by nine Merlin engines on its first stage and a single Merlin engine on its second. The rocket has a 12-foot diameter and with the payload fairing installed stands 226 feet tall. This mission marks the first time SpaceX is launching a payload for NASA’s Launch Services Program.
The rocket moved to the launch pad Friday and was raised into launch position yesterday, and now it stands poised for liftoff.
“Everything is in great shape and the vehicle is really ready to go,” SpaceX Chief Engineer Hans Koenigsmann said Friday.
Image above: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is rolled from a hangar at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to Space Launch Complex 4 on Jan. 15. Photo credit: SpaceX