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Watch live Wednesday: SpaceX to launch 60 Starlink satellites @ 9:06 a.m. EST (1406 GMT)

SpaceX will launch its next batch of Starlink satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 29, and you can watch the liftoff live here, courtesy of SpaceX. 

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.

From SpaceX:

MISSION OVERVIEW

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.

PAYLOAD DESCRIPTION

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.

MISSION TIMELINE (all times approximate)
Countdown
Hr/Min/SecEvent
- 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
- 00:16:002nd stage LOX loading underway
- 00:07:00Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
- 00:01:00Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
- 00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
- 00:00:45SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
- 00:00:03Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
- 00:00:00Falcon 9 liftoff

Launch, Landing and Deployment
Hr/Min/SecEvent
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
00:02:432nd stage engine starts
00:03:24Fairing deployment
00:06:41 1st stage entry burn complete
00:08:241st stage landing
00:08:49 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
00:45:552nd stage engine restarts
00:45:57 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-2)
01:01:48Starlink satellites begin deployment

'ISS Live!' Tune in to the International Space Station

Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the "ISS Live" broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.

From NASA:

"Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During 'loss of signal' periods, viewers will see a blue screen.

"Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below." 

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  • The Exoplanets Channel
    It will be exciting!
    Reply
  • rod
    The Exoplanets Channel said:
    It will be exciting!

    It could also be more issues for stargazing too :)
    Reply