SpaceX is trying to launch a Starlink rocket carrying dozens of internet-providing satellites via the company’s Falcon 9 — if only nature would cooperate.
Following a week of extreme weather in the recovery area, the company was on track for a Monday morning launch. But due to strong upper level winds, the blast-off has been postponed once again. The launch is now aimed for Tuesday January 28, at 6:28 a.m. PT.
Standing down today due to strong upper level winds. Next launch opportunity is tomorrow at 9:28 a.m. EST, or 14:28 UTC.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 27, 2020
The launch had initially been planned for Monday, January 20; when it does take place, you’ll be able to watch it in real time here: We’ll embed a player above to allow you to do so as soon as it’s available.
The Starlink rocket will be supported by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and will carry 60 Starlink satellites. The Falcon 9 rocket (known as B1051.3) that will be used for this mission has also previously blasted off from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida and from SpaceX’s West Coast launchpad. This Falcon 9 previously hosted an uncrewed Crew Dragon Capsule.
SpaceX has launched three batches of its Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbits, totaling about 120, since May of last year. Just two weeks ago, a batch of 60 was launched. Friday’s launch will be the fourth Starlink mission overall.
In the company’s own words, the Starlink satellite project aims to “deploy the world’s most advanced broadband internet system” to provide “fast, reliable internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.” Several other companies are competing with SpaceX to provide similar kinds of services, enabling faster broadband speeds around the globe.
SpaceX is planning to launch batches of 60 satellites every two to three weeks over the next year. Eventually, SpaceX’s satellite total could reach more than 40,000, according to space.com.
Friday’s Starlink launch will be the second launch of the week for the company. On Sunday, January 19, SpaceX conducted an abort test of its Crew Dragon capsule, the goal of which is to eventually carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The in-flight abort test (which turned out to be successful) was aimed at gauging the spacecraft’s ability to carry astronauts to safety in the unlikely event that an emergency occurs after liftoff.
Aside from Starlink satellite missions, the next major SpaceX launch will take place on March 1. when a Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon spacecraft mission to deliver cargo to the ISS.