SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ready for third Starlink launch attempt [webcast]

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ready for third Starlink launch attempt [webcast]

Rarely, following the cessation of the last second Falcon 9 launch, SpaceX is nearing a third attempt to launch a 12th batch of operating Starlink satellites.

Starlink-12, scheduled to take off before the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) launch complex 39A (Pad 39A) on Monday, October 5 at 7:51 AM EDT (11:51 UTC) was originally scheduled for launch. Mid-September. Due to bad weather in the Atlantic landing zone, there was a delay of 10 days from September 17 to 27 and a pad weather delay on the 28th.

On September 30th, after the ULA Delta IV Heavy mission with range priority was scrubbed for the seventh time, SpaceX attempted to launch the Starlink-12 again, but then stopped seven seconds before takeoff. Finally, the launch of the new Falcon 9 with an upgraded GPS III satellite was halted just two seconds before takeoff on October 2. Just before the separate release delay of GPS III SV04, NET moved from October 3rd to 5th, Starlink-12 is now the next step.

This recent delay string, hampering the much improved level of launch readiness and schedule stability for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy’s Block 5 upgrades, is largely the result of the weather and ULA’s delayed launch of its own NROL-44. Concerns about CEO Elon Musk. Musk, currently focusing on building SpaceX’s new Starship plant and driving the rocket’s first high-altitude orbital test flight from Boca Chica, Texas, will fly to Cape Canaveral in the week of October “to directly review the hardware” Said. 5 days.

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Musk also says SpaceX is “performing an extensive review of launch sites, propulsion, structure, avionics, scope and regulatory constraints.” “48 releases” Available in 2021.

To be fair to SpaceX, most of the delays the company suffered over the past month were caused by a mix of weather and range preferences for ULA’s “National Security” NROL-44 launch. Also impressive seven The ULA NROL-44 release was attempted between August 26th and September 30th, with only one occurring due to the weather, and the remaining 6 due to various technical software and hardware bugs. SpaceX’s Starlink-12 and GPS III SV04 missions suffered one technical launch interruption on September 30 and October 2 respectively.

That said, without upgrading the Falcon rockets to launch and land in worse weather conditions, most SpaceX’s delays are out of the company’s control, while ULA’s NROL-44 struggle shows just how much worse can happen. According to Informal analysis Of the 44 Falcon Block 5 launches since May 2018, only 4 technical outages have been triggered due to booster errors. Pad-induced interruptions were largely common. That said, about 1 in about 6 to 8 SpaceX launches go through some kind of disruption just before the average takeoff.

SpaceX’s GPS III SV04 and Starlink-12 missions, both captured in one frame, suffered repeated launch delays over the past 1-3 weeks. (SpaceX)

Overall, the Falcon Block 5 rocket has been relatively reliable to launch on time and on schedule, despite SpaceX struggling with more delays than usual over the past few months. However, to achieve close to 48 launches per year, mainly Improvements will be needed, including upgrades to everything that is responsible for weather constraints in Falcon 9. As of October 2020, SpaceX has never been released 4 times a month (or 4 times in the same ~30 day period). To release 48 times a year, SpaceX Average It is released 4 times a month. Of course, that doesn’t explain the likelihood that summer weather like 2020 will functionally cut Falcon 9’s annual availability by more than 4-8 weeks.

anyway SpaceX goes live The third Starlink-12 launch attempt is at 7:35 AM EDT (11:35 UTC). Don’t miss (hopefully) the company’s 17th launch this year.

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About the Author: Max Grant

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