August 9 at 6:57pm E.T. from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center
Just four days after the Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter launched on a journey to our Moon, SpaceX is back at it with the latest batch Starlink satellites taking flight from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. The same historic site that every mission to land man on the moon launched from. SpaceX leases this pad from KSC with an agreement that began in 2014 and will run for twenty years, or 2034. The pad had not been operational since the end of the shuttle program back in 2011 and SpaceX is now responsible for the maintenance and operations of the pad. Changes have taken place, a hangar was built the tower structure has been altered to operate Falcon 9 rocket launches from the facility. LC-39A is also the only operational pad for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy lift vehicle.
Today’s launch, that of the Starlink 4-26 mission will launch fifty-two satellites atop Falcon 9 B1073 and will mark the fifty-third operational Starlink mission, raising the total number of launched Starlinks to 3,010, with 2,751 still in operation orbiting around Earth. This mission also marks the twenty-fourth launch of this shell, a group that will take another eleven launches to fill it up.
Flying today’s mission, Falcon 9 B1073-3 is a newcomer to the launching fleet and has only begun service with SpaceX just less than four months ago with the Starlink 4-15 mission. It then flew the SES-22 mission on June 29 of this year and now this evening it has made its third successful launch and landing. Two of those landings, including tonight’s were on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas and once on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions