SpaceX hopes to launch two batches of Starlink satellites in one week – CNET

spacexspaceforceoct2020

SpaceX shared this scenic view of a Falcon 9 being readied for launch earlier this year.

SpaceX

After “Scrubtember” and then “Scrubtober” played havoc with the SpaceX launch schedule, Elon Musk’s rocket company is eager to get more of its Starlink broadband satellites into orbit as soon as possible. 

Airspace closures indicate SpaceX aims to launch its next batch of orbiting routers from Cape Canaveral in Florida as soon as this Sunday, Oct. 18, to be followed just three days later by another group of 60 or so satellites launching from Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

SpaceX and competitor United Launch Alliance saw several launch attempts scrubbed by weather and technical problems between late August and early October, leading to the rise of the hashtags #scrubtember and #scrubtober. SpaceX has since managed to get a Starlink mission off the ground, finally interrupting the series of scrubs.  

A SpaceX mission to launch a new military GPS satellite and a ULA launch of a US spy satellite remain grounded while technical problems continue to be worked out. 

Meanwhile, it appears SpaceX hopes to get caught up on Starlink launches. The company needs to get thousands of its internet-beaming birds into low-Earth orbit over the next few years to meet the requirements of its FCC authorization. So far, over 700 satellites have been launched and more than 60 of the oldest models have been or will soon be deorbited. All this means that SpaceX has a way to go to reach its ultimate ambition of creating a mega-constellation with tens of thousands of satellites. 

SpaceX still needs to perform static test fires ahead of these target launch dates, which can always slip. The FAA has also issued closures for potential backup launch dates Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. So if the weather cooperates, it seems likely we’ll see at least one, if not two, Starlink launches next week. 

SpaceflightNow.com reports that Sunday’s launch is scheduled for 5:27 a.m. PT (8:27 a.m. Florida time) and Wednesday’s mission is set to lift off at 9:36 a.m. PT (12:36 p.m. in Florida). As soon as the live video feeds become available, we’ll add them here. 

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