Cape Canaveral, Florida – SpaceX One of its veteran rockets is preparing to launch a stack of small satellites into space on Friday (Jan.22). You can watch the fiery live on the Internet.
Two stages Falcon 9 rocket The flight is scheduled to take off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station here in Florida. Expected to take off within the one-hour window that opens at 9:24 AM EST (1424 GMT).
Dozens of satellites are floating on top of the 230-foot (70 m) launch pad as part of a mission dedicated to flight sharing. This cosmic compound, known as Transporter-1, will also transport 10 of the company’s cars Starlink satellites Into space and deposited in polar orbit – for the first time for the growing network of broadband satellites. Other payloads include 48 SuperDove Earth Observation Satellites for Planet And small nanosatellites called “Charlie” by Aurora Insight.
Friday’s launch marks the third mission of 2021 for SpaceX and the second in just two days off the Florida Space Coast. The California-based missile manufacturer launched a different Falcon 9 missile On a record flight on Wednesday (Jan.20) to deliver a full set of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit.
The booster used in that mission became the first in SpaceX’s fleet of frequent flyers to be launched and landed eight times. (The previous record was seven, which was held by two different Stage 1 boosters.)
After takeoff on Friday, the first stage of the Transporter-1 Falcon 9 missile is expected to land on board the SpaceX unmanned vessel “Of course I still love you”, which is waiting in the Atlantic Ocean. If successful, it would mark the 73rd stage one recovery of the SpaceX booster.
It will also mark the first fishing of the year for the veteran drone ship, which missed its two previous missions while refurbishing.
SpaceX’s very big year: 2020 to launch astronauts, spacecraft tests, and more
The Falcon 9 launch rocket for the Transporter-1 is pilot-four and scored as well. Known as the B1058, this proven booster aircraft will embark on its fifth flight, and if all goes according to plan, it will be able to land at sea.
B1058 made history in May When I launched two NASA astronauts – Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken – to the International Space Station on the first manned flight to take off from US soil since the retirement of the space shuttle program in 2011.
Decorated with the iconic NASA worm logo, the booster also flew a communications satellite for the South Korean Army, And a set of Starlink satellites Dragon Charging Capsule To the International Space Station for SpaceX’s 21st cargo resupply mission.
On its next mission, the veteran will act as a kind of space Uber, transporting a group of small satellites into orbit as part of the SpaceX rideshare program, which aims to help smaller satellites reach space by sharing a flight much like an Uber gathering.
SpaceX announced the program in August 2020, offering flights on Falcon for $ 1 million. Launch slots Booked through the company’s website It is offered at regular intervals, about four times a year.
The Rideshares missions aren’t entirely new to SpaceX, as the company launched more than 60 satellites from the California launch pad in December 2018. That mission, It’s called SSO-A, Delivered a small fleet of satellites into low earth orbit through an orbital ballet carefully designed so that the satellites would not collide with each other.
The two boats will be outfitted with a network from SpaceX – named GO Ms. Tree and GO Ms. Chief – Part of the recovery team that’s deployed for this mission. They will try Restore two pieces of the rocket nose cone, Known as streamlining of the load, after returning to the ground.
The dynamic duo supported the Starlink mission earlier this week and are now on their way to the Transporter-1 mission landing area. (Each cruise half has parachutes and navigation software on board that directs it to a designated landing area in the Atlantic Ocean.)
For the Starlink mission, boats washed the pieces out of the water and will likely do the same for this mission. This decision will be made officially on launch day.
Offline, weather forecast Expect an 80% chance of good conditions For the launch opportunity on Friday, with the only weather concerns being the possibility of thick clouds over the launch site. There is a backup runtime on Saturday if needed. However, launch conditions deteriorate slightly, amounting to only 60% of the good weather chance.
Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @ astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.