SpaceX will try and launch one other batch of 60 Starlink satellites at the moment at 2:59 pm ET (18:59 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Area Pressure Station in Florida. This marks the twenty eighth total launch of operational Starlink satellites.
Probably the most notable facet of at the moment’s mission is that it could be the one hundredth consecutive profitable flight for the corporate. This report dates again to June 2015, when the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage failed throughout the launch of a cargo provide mission to the Worldwide Area Station. The Dragon capsule was misplaced after the second stage broke aside and sank into the Atlantic Ocean.
Since that point, the corporate’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets have had an unblemished run of 99 profitable launches, lots of which have resulted in landings as nicely. SpaceX has misplaced one further mission, however this did not happen throughout a launch. Slightly, the Amos-6 payload blew aside in September 2016 throughout a propellant loading that preceded a static fireplace take a look at. The corporate has safely launched 90 rockets because the Amos-6 mishap.
The rocket for at the moment’s mission has solely launched one different time, boosting the Sentinel-6A Earth science mission for NASA final November. That launch came about from Vandenberg Area Pressure Base in California, and the primary stage has since been shipped throughout the nation to Florida. It appears probably that a number of Merlin engines have been swapped out on the primary stage as a result of SpaceX carried out a static fireplace take a look at of the automobile earlier this week, one thing the corporate normally does not do earlier than a Starlink mission.
SpaceX has hardly ever used such a “younger” rocket for a Starlink mission. This will recommend that the corporate’s prospects are getting extra comfy utilizing Falcon 9 first levels with extra expertise or that SpaceX is launching so shortly that this was merely the subsequent rocket up. This would be the sixteenth launch of a Falcon 9 rocket this 12 months, which means that if SpaceX launches at the moment, it should stay on tempo to make an orbital launch try each 9 days in 2021.
A majority of the corporate’s launches to date this 12 months, 13 of 16, have carried Starlink satellites, as SpaceX continues to construct out its constellation to offer broadband Web from low Earth orbit. Nonetheless, it seems probably that almost all of the corporate’s upcoming launches this summer time might be centered on initiatives for patrons, together with the twenty second Cargo Resupply mission for NASA, a GPS III satellite tv for pc for the US Area Pressure, and a Sirius XM satellite tv for pc. These three launches might all happen from Florida inside the subsequent month.
The corporate’s webcast for at the moment’s launch try ought to start about quarter-hour earlier than liftoff.