Starlink Satellite Illustration Created By: Erc X @ErcXspace via Twitter
SpaceX was scheduled to launch its sixteenth fleet of Starlink satellites on Sunday. The mission attempt was scrubbed minutes before fueling of the six-times-flown Falcon 9 rocket was set to begin. –“Standing down from today’s launch of Starlink. Rocket and payload are healthy; teams will use additional time to complete data reviews and are now working toward backup opportunity on Monday, November 23 at 9:34 p.m. but keeping an eye on recovery weather,” the company announced Sunday night. By Monday evening, SpaceX rescheduled the Starlink mission –“Now targeting Tuesday, November 24 at 9:13 p.m. EST for Falcon 9’s launch of Starlink, when weather conditions in the recovery area should improve.” A back-up opportunity is also scheduled for 9:13 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 25.
Now targeting Tuesday, November 24 at 9:13 p.m. EST for Falcon 9’s launch of Starlink, when weather conditions in the recovery area should improve— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 23, 2020
The previously flown Falcon 9 rocket is vertical on Launch Pad 40 at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It is ready to deploy 60 Starlink satellites into Low Earth Orbit. This booster is special, Tuesday's launch will mark its seventh flight to space, the most re-flown Falcon 9 ever. “Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported six missions; this launch will make it the fleet leader," the company said. The booster, identified as B1049, previously conducted the following six missions: the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and four Starlink missions in May 2019, January 2020, June 2020, and August 2020. SpaceX engineers aim to reuse a particular Falcon 9's first-stage booster at least 10 times. Tuesday's mission takes the company closer to the reusability goal, it will be the booster's seventh flight. Falcon 9's first-stage will attempt to land again on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship that will be located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 633 kilometers downrange. “One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported a mission, and the other half previously two,” SpaceX shared. Weather conditions at sea need to be stable in order for SpaceX to successfully land the Falcon 9 booster as it returns from space after deploying the satellites to orbit. The United States Space Force 45th Weather Squadron forecasts 80% “GO” for launch conditions for Tuesday’s Starlink mission. You can watch the mission Live in the video below.
After the sixteenth fleet of 60 internet-beaming Starlink satellites is deployed, SpaceX will have approximately 960 satellites in orbit, though the company has not offered details on how many of these are operational. By 2021, SpaceX aims to provide internet coverage worldwide, primarily in areas on Earth where broadband connection is unreliable and non-existent. SpaceX officials state the Starlink network will be able to connect remote areas. As of today, the company started to offer broadband service in portions of northern United States and southern Canada.
WATCH IT LIVE!
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.