SpaceX prepping for next Starlink launch from Florida, but weather a concern
SpaceX teams at Kennedy Space Center are set for the company's next launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with 60 Starlink satellites this week, though downrange conditions in the Atlantic Ocean remain a concern.
"Targeting Tuesday, May 4, at 3:01 p.m. ET for Falcon 9 launch," SpaceX said via Twitter after a successful test fire of the rocket's Merlin main engines early Monday. "But team is keeping an eye on weather in the recovery area."
The Space Force's latest forecast calls for 80% "go" conditions around pad 39A. But downrange in the Atlantic, at-sea conditions are expected to pose a "moderate risk" to booster recovery on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship. If seas are too rough, it could make Falcon 9's autonomous landing more difficult or even topple a newly landed booster into the ocean.
Tuesday's launch includes an instantaneous window, meaning Falcon 9 must launch exactly on time or delay to another day. This means teams will be unable to wait for any inclement weather to clear the area during the window.
If successful, a landing on Tuesday would mark the company's 82nd booster recovery to date. The mission is also the Space Coast's 13th launch of the year and 26th Starlink flight overall.
SpaceX has launched roughly 1,500 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit, where most are still functional and beaming high-speed internet connectivity to thousands of customers in North America. The company hopes to deploy thousands more satellites to increase coverage – soon to Europe, then slowly across the globe – and overall performance.
Quelle: Florida Today
Update: 22.00 MESZ
SpaceX’s 25th Starlink v1.0 mission and 26th Starlink launch