SpaceX cancels Starlink 10-2 launch from Cape Canaveral due to inclement weather – Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 aircraft is ready for the Starlink mission at Cape Canaveral Pad 40. File photo: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight Now.

Update at 8:30 PM EST: SpaceX has canceled the mission due to inclement weather; Targeting Friday for launch.

Persistent bad weather caused SpaceX to halt its Falcon 9 launch Thursday evening. Central and southern Florida are exposed to waves of thunderstorms and heavy tropical rains that are expected to last several days.

The Starlink 10-2 mission is now scheduled to launch at 4:35 PM EDT (2035 UTC) on Friday. A Falcon 9 rocket will carry 22 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit on the 44th Starlink mission scheduled for this year.

The mission marks the company’s 61st Falcon 9 flight in 2024, which will equal the total number of orbital launches it achieved in all of 2022. Spaceflight Now will have live coverage starting about an hour before launch.

As Thursday’s launch opportunity approaches, the 45th Weather Squadron expects weather to be about 25 percent favorable during the new launch window.

Meteorologists expressed concerns about anvil clouds, cumulonimbus clouds and a possible violation of the surface electric field rule, all of which factor into whether a missile could generate lightning if launched in suboptimal conditions.

The 24-hour backup window forecast displays the same weather concerns, except for the rule of surface electric fields. The window opens on Friday with only 40 percent suitable for launch and improves to 80 percent by the end of the window.

The mission was postponed from Wednesday for reasons that SpaceX did not disclose. Early Wednesday afternoon, SpaceX delayed the planned 5:20pm launch until the end of the evening launch window before ultimately canceling the mission in the mid-afternoon. At the time it was clear that preparations were behind schedule because the missile had not raised its vertical launch settings in time for launch.

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The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission, B1073, will launch into the SpaceX fleet, for the 16th time. It has previously supported launches of ispace’s HAKUTO-R lunar lander, the Bandwagon-1 ride-sharing mission and 10 previous Starlink missions.

A little more than eight minutes after liftoff, B1073 will land on the SpaceX drone. “Just read the instructions.” This will be the 84th landing on this drone and the 319th booster landing so far.

The mission comes at a busy time for SpaceX and NASA. This week, the two along with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal agencies are hosting a series of in-person meetings to inform the public and take feedback on SpaceX’s proposal to launch Starship missions from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX recently sent the last two tower segments along with the chopstick arms for the second Starship tower to its Starbase facility in South Texas.

A portion of the Starship tower rolls along with a chopstick elevator system into the gyro basin near the press site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, June 1, 2024. The components were some cargo headed to Starbase in South Texas for a second launch tower. Image: Will Robinson Smith/Space Flight Now

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