Live coverage of the countdown to the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Starlink 4-16 mission will launch SpaceX’s next batch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites. Follow us Twitter.
SpaceX is counting down the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket at 5:27 p.m. EDT (2127 GMT) on Friday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The booster, which flew just 21 days ago, will transmit 53 Starlink Internet satellites into space.
There is an 80% chance of suitable weather for Friday liftoff on SpaceX’s 151st Falcon 9 mission, Flight 43 primarily intended to carry Starlink satellites. The main weather concern is cumulus.
The booster’s first stage – tail number B1062 – is intended to land on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” located approximately east of Charleston, South Carolina, about eight and a half minutes after launch.
The SpaceX teams in Cape Canaveral rolled a Falcon 9 rocket from its hangar to Platform 40 in Cape Canaveral and lifted it vertically early Friday. Beginning with the 35-minute T-minus, the launch team will oversee the loading of kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 through an automated computer-controlled sequencer.
The helium pressure will also flow into the rocket. In the final seven minutes of the countdown, the Falcon 9 Merlin’s main engines will be thermally adapted to flight through a procedure known as “chilldown”. The Falcon 9’s guidance and range safety systems will also be configured for launch at 5:27 PM
The 229-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket will orbit and fly northeast from Cape Canaveral over the Atlantic Ocean.
The missile will exceed the speed of sound in about one minute, and then shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after takeoff. The booster will detach, releasing pulses from cold gas thrusters, extending titanium mesh fins to help guide the vehicle back into the atmosphere, and use braking burns with its main engines to slow the descent aboard the drone about 400 miles (650 kilometers) off the landing.
This booster is scheduled to launch on its sixth mission, after a first flight in November 2020 with a GPS navigation satellite, and another GPS launch in June of last year. Flying again on September 14 with the all-special Inspiration4 crew mission, it carried the Starlink mission into space on January 6, before its last flight on April 8 on Axiom’s Axiom Commercial Crew Mission to the space station.
Continuing the journey into orbit, the Falcon 9 upper stage engine will shutdown approximately nine minutes into the mission, moments after the first stage touched down in the Atlantic.
After coasting across the North Atlantic, over Europe and the Middle East, and then across the Indian Ocean, the upper stage will re-ignite its engine for a short, two-second launch to maneuver 53 Starlink satellites into orbit appropriate to the separation.
The Falcon 9’s guidance computer aims to launch the flat-panel satellites just one hour after launch into an orbit between 189 miles and 197 miles (304 x 317 kilometers) above Earth, with a 53.2 degree tilt to the equator.
Starlink satellites will extend solar arrays and use onboard ion thrusters to reach their operational orbit at an altitude of 335 miles (540 kilometers), where they will enter SpaceX commercial service.
After Thursday’s mission, SpaceX will launch 2,441 Starlink satellites so far, including spacecraft that have either been decommissioned or have experienced failures. More than 2,100 of those satellites are in orbit and operational as of Thursday, according to a list maintained by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist who closely tracks spaceflight activity.
Read Mission preview story for more details.
Rocket: Falcon 9 (B1060.12)
Payload: 53 Starlink satellites (Starlink 4-16)
launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida
Lunch date: April 29, 2022
launch time: 5:27:10 PM EST (2127:10 GMT)
weather forecast: 80% chance of acceptable weather; Low risk of conditions unfavorable for enhanced recovery
Recovery from reinforcement: Unmanned ship bearing the slogan “Just Read Instructions” east of Charleston, South Carolina
AZIMUTH LAUNCH: the Northeast
target orbit: 189 miles by 197 miles (304 kilometers by 317 kilometers), 53.2 degrees miles
- T+00:00: take off
- T+01: 12: maximum air pressure (Max-Q)
- T+02:31: 1st stage for main engine cut-off (MICO)
- T+02:35: Phase separation
- T+02:42: Ignite the engine in the second stage
- T+02:50: Get rid of the calm
- T+06:13: Ignition of burning entering the first stage (three engines)
- T+06:32: First stage entry combustion cut off
- T+08:02: 1st stage combustion ignition (single engine)
- T+08:24: First stage landing
- T+08:49: second stage engine cut-off (SECO 1)
- T+45:22: Second stage restart
- T+45: 24: second stage engine cut-off (SECO 2)
- T+59:30: Starlink satellite disconnect
- The 151st launch of the Falcon 9 since 2010
- The 159th launch of the Falcon family since 2006
- Sixth launch of Falcon 9 Booster B1062
- Falcon 9 132 launched from Florida’s space coast
- Launching the Falcon 9 #85 from the 40 . platform
- The 140th release overall from the 40 board
- Flight 94 of the reused Falcon 9 booster
- The launch of the 43rd dedicated Falcon 9 with Starlink satellites
- The launch of the 17th Falcon 9 in 2022
- 17th launch by SpaceX in 2022
- 17th orbital launch from Cape Canaveral in 2022
Send an email to the author.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: Tweet embed.
“Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff.”