SpaceX postpones the deployment of Starlink and BlackSky satellites

by Evelyn Arevalo July 08, 2020

SpaceX postpones the deployment of Starlink and BlackSky satellites

Featured Image Source: Stephen Marr @spacecoast_stve via Twitter.

SpaceX aims to offer broadband internet globally. The company plans to deploy 12,000 internet-beaming Starlink satellites into orbit. The Starlink network will initially target areas on Earth where internet connectivity is unreliable and non-existent. SpaceX officials say the service will provide low latency, high-speed internet at an affordable price point. A total of 540 Starlink satellites are orbiting Earth right now. Company officials said 800 satellites would be needed to offer “moderate” internet coverage. The company aims to roll-out Starlink’s service before the year ends in Northern parts of the United States and Canada.

 

 

SpaceX has been actively deploying clusters of 60 Starlink satellites at least once or twice per month since last year. The satellites are deployed atop a Falcon 9 rocket’s fairing packed in a flat type configuration. Today, July 8, a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to deploy its tenth cluster of internet-beaming satellites into low Earth orbit, but the launch was postponed due to weather conditions at Florida’s coast.  – “SpaceX is standing down from today's launch of its tenth Starlink mission due to weather conditions. The SpaceX teams are working with the Range to determine the next available opportunity for launch of 57 Starlink satellites and 2 BlackSky satellites, a Spaceflight customer, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida,” the company announced.

It is the second time this mission is postponed. The mission was previously scheduled for June 26, SpaceX said the launch was delayed because “team needed additional time for pre-launch checkouts” and representatives stated, “Falcon 9 and the satellites are healthy.”

 

 

The four-times-flown Falcon 9 is waiting at the launch pad to take flight. The U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron assesses weather conditions and sets a new target date to conduct the tenth Starlink mission. According to a launch execution forecast released today (pictured below), a potential target date for this Starlink mission could be Friday, July 10, during a 15 minute target launch window beginning at 11:11 a.m. Eastern Time. Friday's weather conditions look 60% favorable.

SpaceX aims to recover the rocket’s first-stage booster for a fifth time by performing a vertical landing on the Of Course I Still Love You autonomous drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Favorable weather conditions increase the chances of having a flawless rocket launch and landing. 

The mission is expected to deploy 57 satellites into an elliptical orbit alongside a pair of Black Sky satellites that will hitch-a-ride. Spaceflight Industries selected SpaceX as a launch provider to deploy the BlackSky duo aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on the next Starlink mission, under a SmallSat Rideshare Program contract. The program allows companies to launch small satellites alongside a larger payload to space destinations for a lower cost. The BlackSky satellites are Earth-observation satellites that feature technology to take high-resolution photographs of Earth from space.

 




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