A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 Starlink satellites was delayed by upper-level winds and NASA’s Falcon Heavy launch of Psyche was delayed, which lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 7:01 p.m. EDT (2301 UTC) Friday night.
The US Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, based at Cape Canaveral, forecast Thursday that there was a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather for today’s first launch opportunities, which improved to 80 percent at the end of the window.
The launch attempt on October 8 was aborted with just 23 seconds left on the clock. SpaceX said the delay was due to upper level winds. While the West Coast Starlink launch continued a few hours later, SpaceX suspended the Cape launch at the request of NASA, which wanted to prioritize the Falcon Heavy launch for the asteroid Psyche mission, which launched earlier Friday.
SpaceX did not need any of Friday’s five backup launch opportunities, which ranged from 7:51 PM EDT (2351 UTC) to 10:29 PM EDT (0429 UTC).
The Falcon 9 rocket carries 22 second-generation satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink Internet service. The company recently announced that it now has more than two million broadband Internet subscribers in more than 60 countries.
After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket headed toward the southeast, targeting an orbit inclined at an angle of 43 degrees from the equator. The first stage booster, B1067, made its 14th flight, separated from the second stage after about two and a half minutes of flight and then banked down the run to land aboard the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas. The battleship was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas, about 420 miles (675 km) from Cape Canaveral.
Two Falcon 9 second stage burns would be needed to place the satellites into the required 182 by 176 mile (293 by 284 km) orbit. The satellite beam is scheduled to separate just over an hour into the flight.
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