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 Monday at 10:05:55 a.m. EST (1505:55 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 an elliptical orbit ranging between 131 miles (212 kilometers) and 239 miles (386 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 launch profile for Monday’s mission is different from the previous four dedicated Falcon 9 launches for the Starlink network. Instead of deploying the Starlink satellites into a circular orbit around 61 minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 will release the stack of 60 flat-panel Starlink relay stations into an elliptical, or egg-shaped, orbit roughly 15 minutes into the mission.
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 (630 kilometers) northeast of Cape Canaveral.
The first stage booster launching tonight previously flew on three missions. The booster first launched from Cape Canaveral with a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule on the CRS-17 space station resupply mission in May 2019, then launched again in July 2019 from Cape Canaveral on the CRS-18 cargo mission. Most recently, the booster flew on the JCSAT 18/Kacific 1 mission from Cape Canaveral on Dec. 16.
For Monday’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+0:02:35: Stage 1 Separation
T+0:02:43: Stage 2 Ignition
T+0:03:10: Fairing Jettison
T+0:07:07: Stage 1 Entry Burn Complete
T+0:08:45: Stage 1 Landing
T+0:08:50: SECO 1
T+0:14:46: Starlink Deployment
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