January 9 at 11:55 pm E.T. from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
OneWeb is continuing their assembly of a six-hundred-forty-eight satellite network that will provide internet service to customers around the world. With five-hundred-two already in orbit, largely using the Russian built Soyuz rockets, this is the second launch with SpaceX. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine back in February of last year the partnership with the London based OneWeb and Arianespace ended, forcing OneWeb to find other means with which to reach orbit. They quickly signed deals with SpaceX, and NewSpace India Limited to continue growing their constellation of satellites.
With roughly forty satellites on board the Falcon 9 rocket will deploy its second stage before returning to Earth and landing at LZ-1 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. About fifty-eight minutes after lift off and over a course of thirty-eight minutes the satellites will be deployed into their scheduled orbits to begin service.
SpaceX was able to make sixty-one launches possible in 2022, nearly double their previous record of thirty-one the year previous. On average they launched a rocket every six days from one of three launch pads. Two in Florida, and one in California. This comes largely due to the fact they are able to reuse their launch vehicles. In fact 92% of all all their launches last year came on a flight proven booster. Not having to build a new rocket stage for each mission has allowed them to drastically cut down time between missions and turn more of a profit along the way.
Flying the mission this evening was Falcon 9 B1076, a relatively new booster with in the launching fleet, having now only flown once previously forty-five days ago on the CRS-26 mission. This booster was originally intended to be a Falcon Heavy side booster so comes sans Falcon 9 logo and U.S. flag. To keep operations at a steady rate we saw SpaceX start to convert FH side boosters for single stick F9 use last year, and and continue the trend which seems to work well.