Starlink set for record turn-arounds
May 13, 2022
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX is readying to launch two batches of 53 Starlink satellites less than 8 hours apart – breaking its previous record between launches.
Flight reference 4-13 will launch from the Vandenberg Space Force Base on May 13th, subject to the usual weather constraints. It is using Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg in California. The instantaneous launch window is at 3:07pm Pacific Time.
The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and two Starlink missions. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the Of Course I Still Love You drone-ship stationed downrange in the Pacific Ocean.
SpaceX’s Starlink 4-15 mission is preparing to launch from the company’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) LC-40 pad and is expected to launch at 4.38pm EDT on May 14th (although this has not been confirmed).
However, this 4-15 flight is forecast to land in the middle of the Bahama islands and attempt to land right in the middle of the archipelago, potentially touching down on a drone ship just 5-15 miles away from Nassau and a couple other inhabited islands. This could be a spectacular landing.
Interestingly, this 4-15 flight will use a new (not ‘flight proven’) Falcon 9 rocket booster.
Then, currently scheduled for May 18th, there will be a third batch of more than 50 Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Center.
This will mean more than 150 satellites launched over the 5-6 days period.