SpaceX is ready to proceed with the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket to deploy the latest batch of Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit. The launch was supposed to take place earlier this week but the company decided to cancel it.
The upcoming launch will deliver 60 Starlink satellites into place. Once they have been deployed, SpaceX will have a total of 360 satellites operating in low-Earth orbit.
Launch Of Starlink Satellites
According to SpaceX, the launch is scheduled to take place on March 18 at 8:16 am EDT. It will be held at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As noted by SpaceX, the latest batch of Starlink satellites will be carried into space using the company's flagship rocket, the Falcon 9.
Those looking to catch the launch may do so through SpaceX's live streaming service on its website or through the video below. The company noted that the broadcast for the launch would begin 15 minutes before Falcon 9's liftoff. If SpaceX decides to cancel tomorrow's launch, it will most likely proceed on a later date. According to the company, it has reserved a back-up launch opportunity for Falcon 9 on March 19 at 7:56 am EDT.
Falcon 9's Reusable Stages
Since SpaceX is promoting the use of reusable spacecraft in its missions, the company noted that the sections of Falcon 9 would be retrieved following its launch. These sections, which consist of the rocket's first stage and fairings, will be retrieved by the company and reused in future missions.
"Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9's first stage on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean," SpaceX stated in a mission overview. "Falcon 9's fairing previously supported the first launch of Starlink in May 2019. Approximately 45 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX's fairing recovery vessels, 'Ms. Tree' and 'Ms. Chief,' will attempt to recover the two fairing halves."
SpaceX's Original Launch
The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the latest batch of Starlink satellites was supposed to take place earlier this week. However, after encountering a technical issue with the rocket, SpaceX was forced to abort the launch at the last second.
"There are a thousand ways a launch can go wrong, but only one way the launch can go right," Michael Andrews, the supply chain manager for SpaceX said, according to Space.com. "Given that, we are overly cautious on the ground, and if the team sees anything that looks even slightly off, we'll stop the countdown."