Sometime Tuesday morning, a Falcon 9 went vertical on Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral. This is the first time a Falcon 9 has been vertical on a launch pad since August 6th – just shy of 3 months ago!
SpaceX always performs a static fire on their boosters ahead of launch, and today was no different. This static fire was in preparation for the upcoming launch of the first batch of 60 operational Starlink satellites, which aims to deliver high-speed internet to the world via satellites in low Earth orbit. If successful, this constellation of satellites – numbering in the 10s of thousands – will be able deliver internet to almost anyone in the world through a receiver the size of a pizza box. Pricing for such a service is still not known.
I managed to catch a video of the static fire, which occurred at 12:51pm EST. This was followed shortly thereafter by a tweet from SpaceX stating launch is scheduled for 11/11/19.
Personally, I can’t wait for this launch. It has simply been too long. Not only that, there are a couple milestones associated with this mission, in addition to it being the first batch of operational Starlink sats.
This particular first stage booster’s designation is B1048.4. That “4” after the decimal indicates that this is the fourth flight for this booster. That’s a first!
It will also be the first reuse of a fairing! This one in particular was used with Falcon Heavy for Arabsat-6A mission. Another first.
And last, but certainly not least, this will be the first time both fairing catchers, GO Ms Tree and newcomer GO Ms Chief, will be downrange to catch falling fairings.
This is sure to be an exciting mission to watch! If all goes according to plan, there will be much rejoicing!