Update: Wednesday night’s planned launch has been postponed. Upper winds over the launch area exceeded safety limits and the launch has been moved to Thursday night.
Elon Musk’s private space company, SpaceX, plans to launch a multitude of internet-connectivity satellites from a Falcon 9 spacecraft Wednesday night.
SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, May 15 for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. SpaceX’s Starlink is a next-generation satellite network capable of connecting the globe, especially reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.
The launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. EDT on May 15 and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 16.
Falcon 9’s first stage for this mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018 and the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Approximately one hour and two minutes after liftoff, the Starlink satellites will begin deployment at an altitude of 440km. They will then use onboard propulsion to reach an operational altitude of 550km.
If the conditions are not right for a launch Wednesday night, a backup launch window opens on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 p.m. EDT and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 17
MISSION TIMELINE (all times approximate) :
- 00:38:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
- 00:35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway
- 00:35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway
- 00:16:00 2nd stage LOX loading underway
- 00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
- 00:01:00 Command flight computer to begin final pre-launch checks
- 00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
- 00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
- 00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
- 00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff 00:01:13 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
- 00:02:31 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
- 00:02:34 1st and 2nd stages separate
- 00:02:41 2nd stage engine starts
- 00:03:33 Fairing deployment
- 00:06:43 1st stage entry burn complete
- 00:08:17 1st stage landing 00:08:46 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
- 00:46:11 2nd stage engine restarts 00:46:14 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-2)
- 01:02:14 Starlink satellites begin deployment
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