Follow the key events of the Falcon 9 rocket’s ascent to orbit 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket will lift off Monday at 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT) from the Complex 40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Falcon 9 will head northeast from Cape Canaveral over the Atlantic Ocean to place the 60 Starlink satellites into a circular orbit around 174 miles (280 kilometers) above Earth. The satellites will use their ion thrusters to maneuver into their higher operational orbit at an altitude of approximately 341 miles (550 kilometers).
The Falcon 9’s first stage will target a landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean nearly 400 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral.
The first stage booster launching tonight previous flew on three missions. The booster first launched on an Iridium satellite delivery mission in July 2018, then launched an Argentinian radar observation satellite in October 2018, both from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Most recently, the first stage powered the Indonesian Nusantara Satu communications satellite and the Israeli Beresheet moon lander into space Feb. 21.
The launch will be the first time SpaceX has flown a Falcon booster four times, and it’s also the first launch employing a reused payload fairing, the next step in the company’s push to reuse rocket components and cut costs. The two halves of the payload shroud previously flew on a Falcon Heavy launch in April, and SpaceX retrieved the structures from the Atlantic Ocean.
Data source: SpaceX
T+0:01:14: Max Q
T+0:02:36: Stage 1 Separation
T+0:02:44: Stage 2 Ignition
T+0:03:24: Fairing Jettison
T+0:06:41: Stage 1 Entry Burn Complete
T+0:08:24: Stage 1 Landing
T+0:08:49: SECO 1
T+0:44:50: Stage 2 Restart
T+0:44:52: SECO 2
T+1:00:43: Starlink Deployment
Email the author.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.