SpaceX hopes to launch its 65th orbital mission of the year shortly after midnight tonight, but it’s keeping an eye on the hurricane-battered ocean in the highway recovery area. Falcon 9 is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral with 22 satellites for the Starlink network at 12:03 EDT (0403 UTC).
In a forecast released Wednesday, the 45th Weather Squadron at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station said there was a 35 percent chance of a weather violation.
From 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) National Hurricane Center Update Hurricane Lee is a strong Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. Although the eye of the storm is well east of Florida and moving north, the hurricane is creating adverse sea conditions in the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas, where the drone ship Just Read the Instructions will be staged for landing.
Space Force meteorologists noted that the improved weather conditions are a “moderate” risk. Waves near the landing area are forecast to reach 9-14 feet today, slowing to 7-11 feet overnight.
SpaceX said a backup launch was possible at 12:30 p.m. EDT (0430 UTC). Another launch option would be at 11:38 p.m. EDT Friday (0338 UTC Saturday). Local weather conditions are expected to worsen slightly Friday night, with a 55 percent chance of severe weather conditions. However, conditions for accelerated recovery are slightly improved at low to moderate risk.
File photo of SpaceX’s new Starlink V2 Mini satellites at the Payload Processing Facility at Cape Canaveral. Credit: SpaceX. On the Starlink 6-16 mission, the Falcon 9 rocket will fly on a southeast trajectory from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral. If all goes according to plan, the 22 V2 mini Starlink satellites will be deployed about an hour and five minutes after launch. The payload fairing with the satellites was delivered to the launch site late Thursday afternoon.
The first stage booster for this mission, tail number B1078, has completed four previous flights, including in March. mission Crew-6. Crew Dragon Endeavour, which flew to the ISS on that mission, recently returned with a crew of four.
in 2023 September 14 The payload fairing of the Starlink 6-16 mission passes Launch Complex 39A en route to Site 40 at Cape Canaveral. Image: Spaceflight Now.