SpaceX to launch Falcon 9 on record-breaking 17th flight for booster – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX will push the boundaries of booster reusability Tuesday night with the scheduled launch of a Falcon 9 using a first stage rocket making its 17th flight. Liftoff from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral with 22 satellites for the Starlink internet network is scheduled for 10:47 p.m. EDT (0247 UTC).

Booster serial number 1060 will be making a record-breaking 17th flight for the Starlink 6-17 mission. Earlier this year SpaceX certified its fleet of Falcon 9 first-stage boosters for up to 20 flights.

The Falcon 9 stands ready for launch Tuesday carrying 22 Starlink satellites. The rocket’s first stage will be making its 17th flight. Image: Spaceflight Now.

The booster first flew in June 2020 carrying the GPS 3-3 satellite for the U.S. Space Force and went on to fly the Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, Intelsat G-33/G-34 and Transporter-6 mission, plus 11 Starlink delivery flights.

Space Force meteorologists are keeping a close watch as a weather front stalls just south of Florida’s space coast and a storm is brewing off shore in the Atlantic. In a forecast issued on Monday, they predicted a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather for launch. The main concern being a violation of the cumulus cloud rule. With the development of the costal storm, conditions deteriorate if the launch slips a day, with only a 30 percent chance of acceptable weather.

It will be the 20th launch of the so-called V2 mini Starlink satellites which are larger and have four times the bandwidth of the previous versions. The full-sized V2 Starlink satellites are due to be launched by SpaceX’s fully-reusable Starship vehicle, but the delayed debut of Starship led the company to create a condensed version of the satellites so they could be launched on Falcon 9.

Previous post Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz offers injury updates, talks Penn State and more
Next post Turbulence in China’s top ranks raises questions about Xi Jinping’s rule