July 14, 2024

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SpaceX is set to launch its third Starlink in a row [webcast]

SpaceX is set to launch its third Starlink in a row [webcast]

Update: SpaceX says a Falcon 9 rocket is on track from Starlink 4-11 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California not before (NET) 9:12 a.m. PT (17:12 UTC) Friday, 25 February. The mission will be the third of five consecutive Starlink launches planned for February and March 2022.

Instead of commercial flight-ready missions, SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets are currently scheduled to launch at least five batches of Starlink satellites in a row.

The line won’t break the company’s record for seven consecutive Starlink launches, but it does highlight a beneficial side effect of SpaceX’s relentless pursuit of vertical integration — the ability to create its own launch order. Just two full months into 2022, SpaceX has launched seven times – three times for pay customers and four for Starlink. Before the end of February, the company is scheduled to launch at least one more batch of Starlink satellites for a total of eight launches in the first two months of the year.

Next, SpaceX Starlink 4-11 is scheduled to launch from California-based Vandenberg Space Force Base’s (VSFB) SLC-4E facilities no later than (NET) 9:08 a.m. PT (17:08 UTC), Friday , February 25. The drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) left Long Beach for the mission on February 22 and headed approximately 640 kilometers (400 mi) southeast to a reinforced landing area off the coast of Baja California. Falcon 9 Booster B1063 is set to support mission – its fourth launch overall and first since it helped launch a NASA asteroid redirection DART spacecraft. In interplanetary space In November 2021.

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After that, another Falcon 9 Starlink 4-9 missile is scheduled to launch as soon as possible “mid morning” EST on Thursday, March 3 of the Kennedy Space Center LC-39A panel. It is said that Booster B1060 is set to support the mission and will become SpaceX’s first stage to support eleven orbital-class launches if that is the case. Starlink 4-9 may be the platform’s last mission for a few weeks to give SpaceX enough time to divert the rocket carrier/erecter for the Axiom-1 launch on March 30, which will send four special astronauts to the International Space Station.

Finally, SpaceX plans to launch the Starlink 4-10 NET on Tuesday, March 8 from Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS). SpaceX will likely launch at least another Starlink mission next month, but no exact date has been set yet. Finally, including the Starlink 4-7 (February 3) and Starlink 4-8 ​​(February 21), SpaceX is on track to launch at least five Starlink missions in a row, hopefully placing about 240 satellites (~200 after Most Starlink 4-7 lost to a “geomagnetic storm”) into orbit in less than five weeks.

The Falcon 9 B1063 is almost a day away from its fourth launch. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The Falcon 9 B1060 could be launched for the eleventh time in less than a week. (SpaceX)

More a sign of no fly-ready commercial missions than anything else, SpaceX’s record of ongoing Starlink missions – set from February to April 2021 – is seven launches. Technically, SpaceX has already managed 12 Starlink launches between February and March, with only one commercial mission – Crew-2 – separating the group. Barring surprises, fortunately, SpaceX is unlikely to hit a similar streak in 2022.

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There is a chance that SpaceX will launch a batch of three O3B mPower satellites for SES next month. At a minimum, SpaceX is scheduled to launch a trio of Dragon missions over the next two months or so, starting with the Ax-1 NET on March 30. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to launch another Crew-4 for NASA on April 15, followed by a resupply mission to Cargo Dragon 2’s CRS-25 space station on May 1. Excluding the Starlink missions and on top of the three commercial launches that SpaceX has already completed this year, there are as many as 38 additional Falcon commercial launches tentatively scheduled before the end of 2022.

SpaceX is set to launch its third Starlink in a row [webcast]