SpaceX plans consecutive Falcon 9 rocket launches across the country – Spaceflight Now

Updated at 8:40 PM EST: Changed to reflect new launch times.

SpaceX begins the second week of October with a pair of back-to-back Falcon 9 launches, launching from each of its Space Force-based launch pads.

First, the Starlink 6-22 mission, which is targeting launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 10:56 PM EDT (0256 UTC). It will carry 22 Starlink V2 Mini satellites into low Earth orbit. The missile was scheduled to be launched earlier in the evening, but was postponed because pre-launch preparations fell behind schedule.

The Florida launch will be followed less than 4.5 hours later by the Starlink 7-4 mission, which aims to launch at 12:43 a.m. PT (3:43 a.m. EDT, 0743 UTC) from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC- 4E). At Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Given its trajectory, its payload consists of a slightly smaller payload of 21 Starlink V2 Mini satellites.

Both missions will feature Falcon 9 rockets. Two first-stage boosters, B1067 in SLC-40 and B1063 in SLC-4E, will launch for the 14th time.

Both missions also have multiple backup opportunities within their launch windows. Starlink 6-22 has three backup launch times, running from 10:58 PM to 12:35 AM EDT (0258-0435 UTC), and Starlink 7-4 has four additional launch times from 1:30 to 4: 06 AM PST (4:30-8:06 AM EST, 0730-1206 UTC).

The Falcon 9 booster was raised upright just before 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC) on Sunday, October 8 for the Starlink 6-22 mission. Image: Spaceflight Now.

Busier every year

SLC-40 remains SpaceX’s primary launch pad. After the Starlink 6-22 mission, the company will have used it for a total of 148 launches, most of the 263 Falcon 9 launches that will have been conducted by that point.

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This mission also has the potential to set a record for SLC-40. If SpaceX can launch at 10:56pm on Sunday, it will represent the shortest time for this launch pad at 3 days, 21 hours, 19 minutes and 30 seconds.

SpaceX is also significantly ramping up its activity at Vandenberg. Following the Starlink 7-4 mission, it will mark 21 of VSFB’s 22 industrial launches so far in 2023. The other mission was the Victus Nox launch from Firefly Aerospace in September.

Live commentary for the Starlink 6-22 mission will begin at 10:00 PM EST (0200 UTC). Commentary for the Starlink 7-4 mission will be available in Launchpad Live on our YouTube channel.

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