Delays for SpaceX’s Starlink
June 29, 2020
First it was bad weather at the Cape which slipped the June 23rd launch to June 25th, then June 26th, but then the Falcon 9 rocket with a cargo of 57 Starlink satellites – plus a few guest craft – was postponed again just 2 hours before the planned launch – even though the weather was good.
“Standing down from today’s Starlink mission; team needed additional time for pre-launch checkouts, but Falcon 9 and the satellites are healthy,” SpaceX wrote in an update on Twitter. “Will announce new target launch date once confirmed on the Range.”
The delay means that there are now launch pressures on Musk’s team because another Falcon 9 is due for launch on June 30th from a nearby pad to place a GPS III satellite – manufactured by Lockheed Martin – into orbit for the US Space Force. The GPS mission uses a rocket that has already flown 4 times before including two earlier Starlink missions.
This particular GPS satellite replaces an older craft in the 31-satellite and provides improved accuracy as well as anti-jamming technology.
The delayed Falcon 9 rocket for the Starlink mission is no slouch and has flown 4 times. No date has yet been set for the launch attempt.
SpaceX has previously said they would likely manage 24 rocket launches annually and this next batch, the 10th launch of 57 Starlink craft, would take the overall total of working satellites to around This will be the 10th launch of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites and take the total in orbit to almost 600.
Musk says that his Starlink service will debut “later this summer” first serving Alaska and the northern US and Canadian regions. He has said that he only needs about 400 satellites in orbit to provide a basic ‘beta’ service, and that a fleet of 800 would provide “moderate” coverage for public subscribers/users.