SpaceX launched 23 Starlink satellites on a mission from Cape Canaveral just after midnight, the first of two planned Falcon 9 launches in less than 48 hours. Liftoff from pad 40 occurred at 12:05 EST (0505 UTC).
Near-perfect weather was forecast for the launch of 23 more satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink Internet service. U.S. Space Force meteorologists with the 45th Weather Squadron said Monday there was a better than 95 percent chance the weather would be favorable for the launch.
It was the first launch from Space Launch Complex 40 since SpaceX attached a crew access arm to the recently constructed tower as it upgrades the facility to accommodate crew and cargo Dragon flights.
As the Starlink mission prepares to fly at NASA’s neighboring Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX was preparing to roll out another Falcon 9 carrying the Cargo Dragon for the space station replenishment mission, scheduled for liftoff at 8:28 p.m. Thursday. EST (0128 UTC). .
On the other side of the country at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, the next launch of the Falcon 9 mission, Transporter 9, was set for Thursday, but it has now been pushed back two days to November 11. It will have many small satellites. sharing mission.
Photo of SpaceX’s Starlink V2 Mini satellites at the Cape Canaveral Payload Processing Facility. Credit: SpaceX The Falcon 9 booster, tail number B1073, for Tuesday’s Starlink 6-27 mission makes its 11th flight. It was put into operation in 2022. in May carrying 53 V1.5 Starlink satellites. In addition to five more Starlink launches, it launched the SES-22 satellite, the ispace lunar lander HAKUTO-R and the Hispasat Amazonas Nexus satellite. It also helped deliver supplies to the International Space Station during the CRS-27 Cargo Dragon flight.
After taking off from Florida’s Space Coast, Falcon 9 will fly southeast and aim for an orbit tilted 43 degrees to the equator. After burning the Merlin 1D’s nine engines for nearly two and a half minutes, the first stage will separate from the second stage and continue to land on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean, about 424 miles (682 km) away. ) from the launch site.
The rocket’s payload fairing halves will drop onto parachutes a short distance away from the drone ship and be picked up by the Bob support craft, named after Crew Dragon Demo-2 astronaut Bob Behnken. SpaceX recently released a photo of the 13-flight payload fairing half that was retrieved from the ocean after the last Starlink launch.
SpaceX’s support craft, Bob, retrieves half of the Falcon 9 cowling from the Atlantic Ocean after the Starlink 6-26 mission in 2023. November 3 SpaceX said this was the 13th flight of this capsule. Image: SpaceX. Meanwhile, high above, the second stage’s single Merlin vacuum engine will run for about six minutes to reach a parking orbit. After about 45 minutes of rolling, the second stage engine will re-ignite for three seconds to refine the orbit. The 23 V2 Mini Starlink satellites will be deployed approximately one hour and five minutes after launch. SpaceX says it has more than two million subscribers to its Starlink Internet service worldwide.
This will be SpaceX’s 80th orbital launch of the year and the 270th flight of the Falcon 9 rocket.
The spaceflight will now begin live coverage of the launch about an hour before liftoff. You can also watch the launch pads at the Cape 24/7 on our Launch Pad Live stream.