Featured Image Source: SpaceX
SpaceX was scheduled to launch the fifteenth fleet of 60 Starlink satellites atop a previously-flown Falcon 9 today, October 22, the mission was postponed 15 minutes before liftoff time at 12:14 p.m. EDT. "Standing down from today's launch of Starlink to allow additional time for mission assurance work; will announce next launch opportunity once confirmed on the Range," SpaceX representatives announced. That Range is the Eastern Range along Florida's Space Coast used for rocket flights.
The Falcon 9 rocket is at the launchpad Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk shared that the mission was cancelled due to a minimal issue. --"Just a small-seeming issue with loss of upper stage camera," Musk explained via Twitter. "Probably nothing serious, but standing down to re-examine whole vehicle just in case."
Just a small-seeming issue with loss of upper stage camera. Probably nothing serious, but standing down to re-examine whole vehicle just in case.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2020
Now, engineers will inspect the Falcon 9 rocket to ensure it is ready to preform the Starlink mission. The cameras inside the upper-stage that Musk mentioned could be those inside Falcon 9 fairing or outside the launch vehicle. The cameras must be working because they offer SpaceX teams insight of how the launch is going during flight. The company also broadcasts its rocket launches Live for SpaceX supporters to watch online.
Atop the Falcon 9 rocket are 60 satellites that will launch into low Earth orbit to beam internet connection. Starlink is SpaceX's plan to provide internet on a global-scale; Initially focused on connecting rural and remote areas on Earth, where broadband service is unreliable and not available. To date, the company operates approximately 828 internet-beaming satellites in orbit, out of the thousands it plans to deploy. Starlink users will receive high-speed broadband internet connection from the satellites in space via a dish terminal that will be easy to install, according to company officials.
SpaceX already obtained a telecommunications license in the United States and Canada where it plans to initially beam Starlink service to communites located in high-latitudes. In 2021, SpaceX will deploy more satellites that will enable the company to beam broadband signal to the rest of the United States and Canada. SpaceX says that they will 'rapidly expand to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.' Potential Starlink customers can sign-up to receive updates of when the service will be available in their area via Starlink.com.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.