SpaceX has announced a pad abort test for the Dragon crew capsule on May 5th. They have a 4 hour launch window for the test.

There is no destination, so why would there be a launch window in this case?


2 Answers 2


There are many different constraints that putting a time window around a launch attempt (even a pad abort) can help manage. Orbital constraints, facilities availability and many more.

In the case of a Pad Abort, consider the flight path. Ignite the Super Dracos, get high enough for the parachutes to be effective, and land in the ocean just off the coast.

That means a Notice to Mariners that they need to stay out of an exclusion area. Thus a launch window puts boundaries on the maritime exclusion zone.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Also, any rocket operation that involves the rocket (or any part of it) flying will need a TFR to tell airplanes to stay out of the area. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Aug 8, 2015 at 23:51

There are all kinds of time constraints on a range. The obvious ones involve rendezvousing with another vehicle on orbit, but there are other, more mundane ones. For example, work shifts and sunlight hours.

  • $\begingroup$ Question is about Pad Abort, not any orbital insertion... $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2019 at 15:38

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