You are currently viewing SpaceX to launch the next Starlink satellites
Credits: SpaceX

SpaceX to launch the next Starlink satellites

In a few hours, on February 28 at 20:37 EST (local time) / March 01 at 01:37 UTC, SpaceX plans to launch the next batch of their Starlink communications satellites atop one of their Falcon 9 rockets.

The two-stage, medium-lift launch vehicle will blast off from the legendary Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, heading into a low Earth orbit.

The first stage of the rocket supporting this mission, booster B1049, previously supported the launch of Telstar 18V, the launch of the final Iridium Next satellites, as well as five Starlink mission. After separating from the second stage, B1049 will perform a landing attempt on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You, by reigniting its engines for two more times to slow itself down and land on the droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Landing of booster B1047 on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You".
Landing of booster B1047 on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You. Credits: SpaceX

Both halves of the rocket’s payload fairing are reused. One of the halves already supported three Starlink missions, while the other one supported two. SpaceX will attempt to recover both halves by landing them in the Atlantic with parafoils.

Payload

The rocket will carry 60 of the company’s Starlink communications satellites into orbit. The spacecrafts are part of the Starlink constellation, a satellite constellation currently consisting of about 1,000 crafts. In the future, SpaceX plans to launch up to 42,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit, to provide high-speed internet access to every location on the planet.

The 60 Starlink satellites ride atop the Falcon 9 in two stacks each consisting of 30 spacecrafts. The Starlinks will be separated from the rocket about 1 hr 4 min after launch, by deploying all 60 satellites at once. Over the period of a few days, the batch will fall apart and the satellites will be able to deploy their solar panels and begin their orbit raising maneuvers.

A batch of Starlink satellites still attached to the upper stage.
A batch of Starlink satellites still attached to the upper stage. Credits: SpaceX

Event timeline

T-35 minPropellant loading will begin
T-0 minLiftoff
T+01 min 12 sMax Q (Maximum Dynamic Pressure)
T+02 min 31 sFirst stage engine cut off
T+02 min 35 sFirst stage separation
T+02 min 43 sIgnition of the second stage engine
T+03 min 06 sFairing jettison
T+06 min 43 sFirst stage entry burn complete
T+08 min 28 sFirst stage will land on the droneship
T+08 min 46 sCut off of the second stage engine –> Falcon 9 enters a coast phase
T+45 min 42 sRestart of the second stage
T+45 min 43 sSecond cut off of the second stage engine
T+01 hr 04 min 39 sDeployment of the Starlink satellites

SpaceX will stream the launch live on YouTube. The stream will begin about 15 minutes before liftoff.


Sources

https://www.spacex.com/launches/

https://nextspaceflight.com/

Leave a Reply