CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX kicked off Mother’s Day by launching another round of internet satellites early Sunday morning.
The Falcon 9 lit up the sky for the 2:42 a.m. liftoff, marking the 27th Starlink mission.
On Friday, the Space Force said weather conditions around Cape Canaveral were likely to be favorable for this Starlink launch attempt this weekend. Space Coast-based forecasters said conditions should be 80% “go” for the liftoff. Cumulus clouds were noted as a possible concern, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
“It is possible that there will be some cumulus clouds out over the water during the launch attempt,” the 45th Weather Squadron said. “At this time, these clouds do not appear to pose a significant threat for liftoff.”
Sunday’s window was instantaneous, meaning SpaceX had to launch right on time at 2:42 a.m. or delay the mission to another day. A second opportunity was available around 2:20 a.m. Monday, but conditions that day dropped slightly to 70% “go.”
Eight minutes after liftoff from Launch Complex 40, the booster successfully touched down on the Just Read the Instructions drone ship, potentially setting it up for an 11th flight in the future, according to Florida Today.
Sunday’s launch marked the 27th mission for the Starlink constellation, now encircling Earth with some 1,500-plus satellites. SpaceX recently said the internet service has received about 500,000 pre-orders in regions ranging from the high latitudes of North America to Europe and the United Kingdom.
The company ultimately hopes to offer worldwide service to customers in areas where internet infrastructure is lacking or nonexistent. The Department of Defense has expressed interest in the network, too, and is conducting small-scale tests for the Air Force and Army.
Beyond this weekend, United Launch Alliance is still targeting Monday, May 17, for the launch of an Atlas V rocket from Complex 41. That mission will take a military communications satellite, known as SBIRS GEO Flight 5, to orbit at 1:35 p.m.