Skip to main content

SpaceX postpones Starlink satellite fleet launch due to Tropical Storm Arthur

SpaceX launches Starlink satellites into orbit.
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites into orbit. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has delayed the launch of its next batch of Starlink  internet satellites due to weather fallout from Tropical Storm  Arthur. 

The Starlink flight, which will loft 60 new satellites for SpaceX's growing megaconstellation from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, will now lift off after the company's planned Demo-2 mission on May 27. 

"Standing down from the Starlink mission, due to tropical storm Arthur, until after launch of Crew Demo-2," SpaceX wrote on Twitter today

Video: Satellites see Tropical Storm Arthur from space

SpaceX's Demo-2 mission is the company's first crewed flight test of its Dragon capsule for NASA. The mission will launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

SpaceX originally planned to launch the upcoming Starlink mission on Sunday (May 17), but was forced to postpone the flight to Monday after another mission, the U.S. Space Force's launch of an X-37B space plane, was also delayed by weather over the weekend. 

SpaceX later announced that bad weather conditions from Arthur would push the launch back another to Tuesday, May 19. However, with surface winds expected to reach at least 39 mph (63 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center, the launch has been pushed once again until sometime after May 27.

See more

The company received criticism after the first Starlink launches because astronomers and other scientists cited that the brightness of the satellites, which launch in batches of 60, was interfering with observations. 

SpaceX experimented with painting the satellites with a dark coating but, with this launch, intended to test a new approach, a "sunshade," known as VisorSat, is a set of darkened shades that could deploy to block the sun. By eliminating the sun's bright reflection, the satellites would, in theory, be much less bright and much less visible in the night sky.

In April, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced that the company's next launch, would test their new "sunshades," known as the VisorSat, but they did not specify when that launch would be or if it would carry multiple VisorSats, according to SpaceNews. This upcoming launch will mark SpaceX's eighth Starlink mission. Musk has said that all Starlink satellites would be equipped with sunshades by the ninth Starlink launch.

Follow Chelsea Gohd on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

OFFER: Save 45% on 'All About Space' 'How it Works' and 'All About History'!

For a limited time, you can take out a digital subscription to any of our best-selling science magazines for just $2.38 per month, or 45% off the standard price for the first three months.View Deal

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Chelsea Gohd

Chelsea Gohd joined as an intern in the summer of 2018 and returned as a Staff Writer in 2019. After receiving a B.S. in Public Health, she worked as a science communicator at the American Museum of Natural History. Chelsea has written for publications including Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine, Live Science, All That is Interesting, AMNH Microbe Mondays blog, The Daily Targum and Roaring Earth. When not writing, reading or following the latest space and science discoveries, Chelsea is writing music, singing, playing guitar and performing with her band Foxanne (@foxannemusic). You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. 

  • Brian
    This is a 'no brainer'!
    Any problem with the Starlink mission would delay Crew Dragon.

    I'll be here at home whenever it is, watching.