EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated Jan. 27 to reflect new target launch date.
Follow the key events of the Falcon 9 rocket’s ascent to orbit with 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket is scheduled to lift off Wednesday at 9:06 a.m. EST (1406 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 180 miles (290 kilometers) above Earth. The satellites will use their ion thrusters to maneuver into their higher orbit for testing, before finally proceeding to an 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 previously flew on two missions. The booster first launched from the Kennedy Space Center in March 2019 with SpaceX’s first unpiloted Crew Dragon capsule, then launched again in June 2019 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the Canadian Radarsat Constellation Mission.
For Wednesday’s mission, SpaceX will also attempt to catch both halves of the Falcon 9’s payload fairing using nets aboard the ocean-going ships “Ms. Tree” and “Ms. Chief” in the Atlantic Ocean. The attempt to catch the fairing will come around 45 minutes after liftoff.
Data source: SpaceX
T+0:01:13: Max Q
T+0:02:36: Stage 1 Separation
T+0:02:43: 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+0:45:55: Stage 2 Restart
T+0:45:57: SECO 2
T+1:01:48: Starlink Deployment
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