A Falcon 9 rocket will launch 60 new Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 as part of SpaceX-3, the fourth Starlink mission by SpaceX. Liftoff is set for 9:06 a.m. EST (1406 GMT). SpaceX's launch webcast will begin at about 15 minutes before liftoff.
The Falcon 9 rocket used for this mission has flown twice before. The first-stage booster launched SpaceX's first Crew Dragon test flight to the International Space Station in March 2019 and then launched the three-satellite RADARSAT constellation for Canada later that year in June.
During today's launch, SpaceX will recover the Falcon 9 first stage on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You. The company will also attempt to catch both halves of the rocket's payload fairing using the giant nets on its recovery ships Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief.
SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, January 29 at 9:06 a.m. EST, or 14:06 UTC, for its fourth launch of Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Falcon 9’s first stage previously launched Crew Dragon on its first demonstration mission in March 2019 and the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in June 2019. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 45 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX’s two fairing recovery vessels, “Ms. Tree” and “Ms. Chief,” will attempt to recover the two fairing halves.
The Starlink satellites will deploy at an altitude of 290 km. Prior to orbit raise, SpaceX engineers will conduct data reviews to ensure all Starlink satellites are operating as intended. Once the checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their onboard ion thrusters to move into their intended orbits and operational altitude of 550 km.
SpaceX is leveraging its experience in building rockets and spacecraft to deploy the world's most advanced broadband internet system. With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.
Each Starlink satellite weights approximately 260kg and features a compact, flat-panel design that minimizes volume, allowing for a dense launch stack to take full advantage of Falcon 9’s launch capabilities. With four powerful phased array antennas on each satellite, an enormous amount of throughput can be placed and redirected in a short time, for an order of magnitude lower cost.
The system is on the leading edge of on-orbit debris mitigation, meeting or exceeding all regulatory and industry standards. At end of their life cycle, the satellites will utilize their on-board propulsion system to deorbit over the course of a few months. In the unlikely event their propulsion system becomes inoperable, the satellites will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere within 1-5 years, significantly less than the hundreds or thousands of years required at higher altitudes. Components of each satellite are fully demisable.
Starlink is targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021. Additional information on the system can be found at starlink.com.
|- 00:38:00 -||SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load|
|- 00:35:00||RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway|
|- 00:35:00||1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway|
|- 00:16:00||2nd stage LOX loading underway|
|- 00:07:00||Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch|
|- 00:01:00||Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks|
|- 00:01:00||Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins|
|- 00:00:45||SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch|
|- 00:00:03||Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start|
|- 00:00:00||Falcon 9 liftoff|
|Launch, Landing and Deployment|
|00:01:13||Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)|
|00:02:33||1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)|
|00:02:36||1st and 2nd stages separate|
|00:02:43||2nd stage engine starts|
|00:06:41||1st stage entry burn complete|
|00:08:24||1st stage landing|
|00:08:49||2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)|
|00:45:55||2nd stage engine restarts|
|00:45:57||2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-2)|
|01:01:48||Starlink satellites begin deployment|
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