After a scrub last Wednesday due to high upper-level winds and a delay again on Thursday because of software issues, SpaceX will once again try to launch its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this Thursday.
For the third attempt, SpaceX is targeting a 10:30 p.m. liftoff from Launch Complex 40. These are the things to know about Thursday’s launch:
•Teams are looking at a 90-minute launch window: 10:30 p.m. to midnight.
• Weather forecast is 90% “go.”
• In the event of a delay or scrub, the next possible launch opportunity will be Friday.
• The rocket’s first stage booster will target a landing on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
• Weighing about 18.5 tons, this will be the heaviest SpaceX payload ever.
Densely packed together in the payload fairing are 60 Starlink communications satellites, which will bring SpaceX one step closer in providing global internet coverage from space.
• CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter each launch of 60 satellites will generate more power than the International Space Station and will deliver one terabit of bandwidth to Earth if everything goes according to plan.
• SpaceX’s goal is to have more than 11,000 satellites operating in low-Earth orbit by 2024.
• Musk said “much will likely go wrong” for this first mission on Twitter. He also said six more launches, with 60 satellites each, are needed to have minor internet coverage and 12 more are needed to have moderate coverage.
• Part of the goal of creating the Starlink broadband constellation is to help fund Musk’s dream of colonizing Mars.
• Full coverage kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at floridatoday.com/space and will feature in-depth coverage, photos, charts and more. Ask the space team — Emre Kelly and Antonia Jaramillo — questions and strike up a conversation. We will also be hosting SpaceX’s live webcast of the launch.
- Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
- Mission: SpaceX Starlink-1
- Launch Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- Launch Window: To midnight
- Launch Complex: 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
- Landing: Yes, Of Course I Still Love You drone ship
- Weather: 90% “go”