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SpaceX launch success at 6th attempt

September 20, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Most unusually for SpaceX, it had to scrub five attempts to launch its latest batch of Starlink broadband satellites because of bad weather at Cape Canaveral. But the sixth attempt on September 18th was a flawless success. A Falcon 9 rocket placed 54 Starlinks into orbit (mission 4.34) at 8.18pm Florida time.

The mission finally got aloft after five days of delays, which began on September 13th when the launch team scrubbed a countdown ahead of launch preparations. Lightning flashes lit up the sky over Florida’s Space Coast throughout the evening. More storms on September 14th forced officials to call another cancellation with SpaceX, stopping the countdown at about T-minus 30 seconds on September 15th evening as weather remained “no go” for launch. There was more of the same on September 16th.

This flight marked SpaceX’s 42nd Falcon 9 launch so far in 2022. The next scheduled Starlink flight is likely to be in a few days.

This particular mission takes the overall total of Starlinks launched to 3,347 craft although this number includes satellite failures and a few initial test satellites. Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell says that 3,076 are orbiting.

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