An upgraded SpaceX drone ship is headed roughly 630 kilometers (~390 mi) into the Atlantic Ocean to help Falcon 9’s subsequent Starlink launch and touchdown.
SpaceX’s eleventh Starlink launch this 12 months alone, the mission would be the twelfth operational (v1.0) launch and thirteenth Starlink launch total, collectively representing some 700 operational satellites in orbit. In line with a Could 2020 interview with SpaceX COO and President Gwynne Shotwell, these public beta exams can solely begin after 14 Starlink launches are accomplished, whereas latest FCC filings present that SpaceX is barely contemplating v1.0 satellites as a part of the operational constellation. In different phrases, if profitable, Starlink-12 would depart SpaceX simply two launches away from a constellation giant sufficient – or almost so – to start public web service beta exams.
In the meantime, the Falcon 9 rocket assigned to the mission will probably be on the verge of breaking SpaceX’s booster reuse turnaround report – at the moment set at 51 days between launches by the identical booster assigned to Starlink-12.
Referred to as Falcon booster 9 B1058, the SpaceX rocket grew to become the primary US automobile to launch astronauts since 2011, sending NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft. After a profitable Could thirtieth launch, the spacecraft docked with the ISS roughly two days later and spent greater than two months in orbit earlier than returning to Earth in early August.
In the meantime, booster B1058 stored busy whereas the spacecraft it launched was being put by way of its paces in orbit. On July twentieth, the rocket crushed SpaceX’s turnaround report when it launched South Korea’s ANASIS II communications satellite tv for pc simply 51 days after supporting Crew Dragon’s inaugural astronaut launch. Whereas that 51-day turnaround did break SpaceX’s earlier report of 62 days, it additionally set a far loftier report, unseating NASA’s House Shuttle to change into essentially the most quickly reusable orbital-class rocket ever constructed.
As of now, Falcon 9 B1058 is scheduled to launch Starlink-12 no sooner than (NET) 2:17 pm EDT (UTC-4) on Thursday, September seventeenth. Barring delays, that will characterize a 59-day turnaround from the booster’s record-breaking second launch. If Starlink-12 launches by September nineteenth, B1058 would be the proud holder of each SpaceX’s first and second-place turnaround information and can have technically flown 3 times in ~110 days.
After Starlink-12, SpaceX goals to launch Starlink-13 in late-September month and has scheduled its third US navy GPS III launch – that includes new Falcon 9 booster B1062 – no sooner than (NET) September thirtieth. Whereas unlikely, if every thing stays on schedule, September 2020 may very well be the primary four-launch month in SpaceX’s historical past.
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