SpaceX prepares to attempt another Falcon 9 launch tonight – Spaceflight Now

Live coverage of the countdown and the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Starlink 4-34 mission will launch SpaceX’s next batch of 54 large-scale Starlink satellites. Follow us Twitter.

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SpaceX’s upcoming Falcon 9 rocket is now scheduled to launch at 8:18 p.m. EDT (0018 GMT Monday) to bring another 54 Starlink satellites into orbit. The mission was delayed five days due to thunderstorms around the launch base.

The 229-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch SpaceX’s Starlink 4-34 mission. Sunday night weather forecast requires a 40% chance of acceptable conditions to take off.

The SpaceX launch team canceled Tuesday night’s Falcon 9 countdown before beginning to load propellant into a Falcon 9 rocket. Flashes of lightning lit up the sky over the Florida space coast throughout the evening. Similar weather conditions Wednesday night forced officials to call another scrub before the tank, and SpaceX halted the countdown at about a T-minus 30 seconds Thursday night as the weather remained “forbidden” for the launch.

It was a similar story Friday night when SpaceX loaded up with fuel in the Falcon 9, but stopped the countdown inside the 60-second T-minus. The teams initially targeted another launch attempt on Saturday, but SpaceX announced Saturday night that the mission would be delayed until Sunday night.

This flight will mark the launch of SpaceX’s 42 Falcon 9 so far in 2022. It will be the 40th attempt to launch public space from the Florida space coast this year, including launches by SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Astra.

Upon liftoff, the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket will launch the satellites over the North Atlantic Ocean about 15 minutes after liftoff. The Starlink’s 54 satellites total about 36,800 pounds, or 16.7 metric tons, in payload mass.

Starlink 4-34 mission will be the third of as many as five Falcon 9 missions on SpaceX’s schedule this month. The company aims to complete more than 60 launches this year, aim for 100 rocket missions in 2023, and continue the massive increase in SpaceX, SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales Tom Ochinero said Tuesday at the Global Satellite Business Week conference in Paris. . Rhythm release.

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The higher launch rate was supported by shorter lead times between missions at launch pads in Florida and California, and SpaceX’s reuse of Falcon 9 boosters and payload fairing. Launches carrying satellites for SpaceX’s own Starlink internet network, such as the Friday night mission, have accounted for about two-thirds of Falcon 9’s flights so far this year.

SpaceX began launching 54 Starlink satellites on dedicated Falcon 9 flights last month, one more spacecraft than the company has typically launched on previous missions. SpaceX has experimented with different throttle settings and other minor changes to extend the performance of the Falcon 9.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands on Platform 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station before liftoff for Starlink 4-34 mission. Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

SpaceX tested a Falcon 9 booster for the Starlink 4-34 mission at the launch pad on September 11. A stationary shooting attempt was aborted on September 10 when a powerful thunderstorm swept through the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

The B1067 booster has been assigned to SpaceX’s inventory of reusable rockets, and will go on its sixth flight into space Sunday night. The booster previously launched two astronaut missions toward the International Space Station, as well as two resupply flights to the station. It also launched the Turkish communications satellite Turksat 5B.

With the Starlink 4-34 mission Sunday night, SpaceX will launch 3,347 Starlink Internet satellites, including prototypes and test units that are no longer in service. Saturday’s launch will be SpaceX’s 61st mission primarily dedicated to moving Starlink’s internet satellites into orbit.

The SpaceX launch team, stationed inside the Launch Control Center south of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, will begin loading ultra-cold, condensed kerosene and liquid oxygen thrusters into the 229-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 in a 35-minute T-minus.

Helium pressure will also flow into the rocket in the last half hour of the countdown. In the last seven minutes before takeoff, the Falcon 9 Merlin’s main engines will be thermally conditioned for flight through a procedure known as “chilldown”. The Falcon 9’s guidance system and range safety will also be configured for launch.

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After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket will direct 1.7 million pounds of thrust — produced by nine Merlin engines — to steer in the northeast Atlantic.

The rocket will exceed the speed of sound in about one minute, and then shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after takeoff. The booster stage will fire from the upper stage of the Falcon 9, then release pulses of cold gas control thrusters and extend the titanium grille fins to help steer the vehicle back into the atmosphere.

Two brake burners will slow the missile down when landing on the “just read the instructions” drone ship about 400 miles (650 kilometers) away about eight and a half minutes after takeoff.

Credit: Spaceflight Now

The Falcon 9’s reusable payload offering will eliminate second stage combustion. There is also a salvage ship at a station in the Atlantic to retrieve the halves of the nose cone after falling under the parachutes.

The first-stage landing on Sunday’s mission will occur moments after the Falcon 9’s second-stage engine shutdown to deliver Starlink satellites into orbit. 54 Starlink spacecraft, built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, are expected to separate from the Falcon 9 rocket in T+ plus 15 minutes and 21 seconds.

Retaining rods will be launched from the Starlink payload stack, allowing the flat-packed satellites to fly freely from the Falcon 9’s upper stage into orbit. The 54 spacecraft will launch and power the solar arrays through automated activation steps, then use krypton-fueled ion engines to maneuver into their operational orbit.

The Falcon 9’s guidance computer aims to deploy the satellites into an elliptical orbit at an inclination of 53.2 degrees to the equator. The satellites will use onboard thrust to do the rest of the work to reach a circular orbit 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth.

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Starlink satellites will fly in one of five orbital “shells” in different directions to SpaceX’s global Internet. After reaching their operational orbit, the satellites will enter commercial service and begin transmitting broadband signals to consumers, who can purchase Starlink service and connect to the network through a ground station provided by SpaceX.

Rocket: Falcon 9 (B1067.6)

Payload: 54 Starlink satellites (Starlink 4-34)

launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida

Lunch date: September 18 2022

launch time: 8:18pm EST (0018 GMT on Sept. 19)

weather forecast: 40% chance of acceptable weather; low risk of upper level winds; Reduced risk of conditions unfavorable to enhanced recovery

Recovery from reinforcement: Unmanned ship with the slogan “Just read the instructions” east of Charleston, South Carolina

AZIMUTH LAUNCH: the Northeast

target orbit: 144 miles by 208 miles (232 kilometers by 336 kilometers), 53.2 degrees miles

Launch timeline:

  • T+00:00: take off
  • T+01: 12: maximum air pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:27: First stage main engine cut-off (MECO)
  • T+02:31: Phase separation
  • T+02:36: Ignite the engine in the second stage
  • T+02:42: Get rid of the calm
  • T+06:48: first stage entry burn ignition (three engines)
  • T+07:07: first stage entry combustion cut off
  • T+08:26: 1st stage combustion ignition (single engine)
  • T+08:40: Second stage engine cut-off (SECO 1)
  • T+08:47: First stage landing
  • T+15:21: Starlink satellite disconnect

Job stats:

  • The 176th launch of the Falcon 9 since 2010
  • The 184th launch of the Falcon family since 2006
  • Sixth launch of Falcon 9 Booster B1067
  • The 151st Falcon 9 launched from the Florida Space Coast
  • Launch of Falcon 9 No. 97 from the 40 . platform
  • Launch 152 from pad 40
  • Flight 118 of the reused Falcon 9 booster
  • The launch of the 61st dedicated Falcon 9 with Starlink satellites
  • Falcon 9 42nd launch in 2022
  • The 42nd launch by SpaceX in 2022
  • The 40th orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2022

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