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SpaceX’s 10th Starlink launch scrubbed, next launch TBD

Launch was scheduled for 10:54 a.m. Saturday

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.Update 9:27 a.m.

SpaceX is standing down on Saturday’s launch, officials said.

According to SpaceX, the scrub is to allow more time for checkouts.

“Team is working to identify the next launch opportunity,” SpaceX said in a tweet.

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Hopefully, the third time will be the charm for SpaceX’s next Starlink launch. The company said it is targeting late Saturday morning to send up its 10th batch of internet-beaming satellites and a few other ride-sharing spacecraft.

The new Falcon 9 launch window is scheduled for 10:54 a.m. from Kennedy Space Center 39A. The last attempt on Wednesday was rained out about 10 minutes before liftoff.

It’s Florida in July which means weather could again be a factor this weekend. According to Air Force weather officers, there is a 60% chance of favorable weather for Saturday’s launch window.

“On Saturday, there will be northwest to southeast moving showers and storms that will develop in the late morning and early afternoon across Central Florida,” according to the 45th Weather Squadron forecast. “While the bulk of this activity will be in the afternoon, some showers and storms cannot be ruled out during the launch window due to the surface trough and weak impulses aloft.”

As of the latest forecast, cloud cover and possible lightning producing weather are the primary concerns.

Here are five things you need to know for the launch when it does happen:

  • What’s on board: 57 Starlink communications satellites and two spacecraft for BlackSky Global. BlackSky purchased a ride through Spaceflight Inc., a company that arranges transport for spacecraft and payloads to space.
  • Backup window TBD: In the event of a delay, a backup window has not been released.
  • Landing information: About eight minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster will target an automatic landing on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Starlink internet: After this launch, SpaceX will have launched nearly 600 Starlink satellites. The goal is to create a network of satellites to produce high-speed internet anywhere in the world. SpaceX has yet to say when the internet will go live but recently the company launched a website where people can sign up to get updates on service availability. According to that website, Starlink is targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020.
  • Astronomy impacts: SpaceX heard feedback from the astronomy community about the shear number of Starlink satellites and possible interference in astronomical observations and has worked to address those concerns. For this launch all the Starlink satellites are equipped with a visor that can be deployed to block sunlight from hitting the brightest spots of the spacecraft. SpaceX says this will help prevent the satellite from reflecting sunlight down to Earth and interfering with astronomical observations. The company also previously tried a darkening technique on one of the satellites that reduced its reflectivity by about half, according to SpaceX.

Check back throughout the week and the countdown for updates on the launch.

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