After waiting more than a week for good weather, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday from Cape Canaveral with 60 more satellites for the company’s Starlink Internet network, continuing to build out a fleet of fleet of orbiting broadband relay stations that could eventually number in the thousands.
SpaceX called off a scheduled launch of a Falcon 9 rocket about a half-hour before liftoff from Cape Canaveral Monday due to strong upper level winds, and officials aim to try again to send 60 Starlink Internet satellites into orbit Wednesday after bypassing a planned launch attempt Tuesday due to poor weather in the offshore booster recovery area.
SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday at 9:06 a.m. EST (1406 GMT) from Cape Canaveral with 60 satellites for the company’s Starlink Internet network. Previous attempts to launch the mission were stymied by strong upper level winds and rough seas in the Falcon 9’s downrange recovery area northeast of Cape Canaveral.
Just one day after a mission from a nearby launch pad, SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket Monday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of the company’s next flight. Faced with extreme weather this week in the ocean recovery zone for the Falcon 9’s first stage booster and payload shroud, SpaceX said it was evaluating the best opportunity to launch the Falcon 9 with 60 Starlink broadband satellites.
SpaceX performed a hold-down test-firing Jan. 20 of a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a launch with 60 Starlink broadband satellites, but officials delayed the missions’s planned launch Tuesday due to extreme weather in the downrange recovery zone for the first stage and payload fairing. The next possible launch attempt is expected at 9:49 a.m. EST (1449 GMT) Monday.
SpaceX plans to launch its next group of Starlink broadband satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket as soon as Tuesday, Jan. 21, from Cape Canaveral, two days after the company is scheduled to launch a modified Falcon 9 booster from a separate facility at the Florida spaceport to test the Crew Dragon spaceship’s emergency escape system.
SpaceX teams across the United States are readying for what the company’s chief operating officer predicts will be a record number of launches in 2020. Before the end of January, SpaceX aims to perform four Falcon 9 launches from Florida’s Space Coast — three for the company’s Starlink broadband network, and a crucial in-flight abort test for the Crew Dragon spacecraft no earlier than Jan. 11.