SpaceX targeting Wednesday for launch of Starlink satellites

SpaceX was originally planning to launch Saturday morning

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Jan. 20, 2021. (Image: SpaceX)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Jan. 20, 2021. (Image: SpaceX) (WKMG 2020)

SpaceX now appears to be targeting Wednesday, Feb. 3, for their next Starlink launch.

The launch was originally slated for Saturday but has been pushed back several times.

The company said in a tweet it’s targeting Wednesday, hoping for better weather at sea where the Falcon 9 booster lands on a droneship.

***Original***

SpaceX is set to test fire a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center this weekend after a previous attempt was scrubbed, potentially setting the stage for a launch as soon as early Sunday, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.

Teams at pad 39A had been fueling the 230-foot rocket for a brief test firing of its Merlin main engines at 10 a.m. Friday, but the attempt was scrubbed at the last second. Another six-hour test fire window will open at 12 p.m. Saturday.

If everything goes according to plan, Falcon 9 could launch with 60 Starlink internet satellites as soon as 7:02 a.m. Sunday, though typically the company has preferred a two-day gap between tests and launches. If so, the flight could push to 6:40 a.m. Monday.

SpaceX, which tests all its engines in Texas before transport to Florida, typically fires brand new rockets a second time once at the launch pad. Lately, the company has opted to skip pad tests for some missions depending on whether or not the booster has previously flown, the number of flights it’s seen, and other technical factors.

Loaded into the payload fairing are 60 Starlink satellites set to boost the internet constellation’s size to beyond 1,000 spacecraft in low-Earth orbit. It will mark the 18th full mission for the network, which is now serving beta customers in the northern U.S. and southern Canada.

In the event of a 7:02 a.m. launch Sunday, the Space Force said weather conditions should be 80% “go” for liftoff. A push to Monday would see the chances drop to 60% “go.”

On either day, however, spectators will likely see a beautiful launch as twilight – set to begin around 6:30 a.m. – lingers just over the horizon. Falcon 9 will fly towards the northeast and drop off its first stage booster for an Atlantic Ocean drone ship recovery.