Live coverage of the countdown to the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Starlink 4-12 mission will launch SpaceX’s next batch of 53 full-scale Starlink satellites. Follow us Twitter.
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Another 53 SpaceX satellites were launched into orbit over the Falcon 9 rocket just after midnight Saturday from Cape Canaveral. The reusable Falcon 9 booster has already completed its twelfth successful space mission, making it the fleet’s flagship in SpaceX’s inventory. The liftoff occurred at 12:42 am EDT (0442 GMT).
The booster plane flying early Saturday, known as the B1051, landed aboard the parked SpaceX drone ‘Just Read the Instructions’ about 400 miles (640 kilometers) into the Atlantic Ocean, just east of in Charleston, South Carolina.
The mission, numbered Starlink 4-12 on SpaceX’s launch schedule, marked the resumption of the launch of the Falcon 9 northeast off the coast of the Florida galaxy. Year-to-date, SpaceX launches with Starlink satellites have headed southeast, taking a different path toward the same orbit at an inclination of 53.2 degrees from the equator.
SpaceX changed the direction of its launch in the winter months due to a better chance of acceptable low weather near the Bahamas than a hardened landing zone northeast of Cape Canaveral.
Starlink 4-12 aims to put another batch of spacecraft into orbit for the privately funded Starlink Broadband Network, the company’s sixth consecutive launch dedicated to raising satellites for the massive internet constellation.
SpaceX said late Friday that it was moving the launch to a standby opportunity due to bad weather at Cape Canaveral, which exceeded the first available launch time of 11:23 pm EDT (0323 GMT).
In an official launch weather forecast, meteorologists from the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral predict a 70% chance of the Falcon 9 launching Friday night through Saturday.
The flying booster debuted on the Starlink 4-12 mission in March 2019 on the uncrewed test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, paving the way for SpaceX’s subsequent launch with astronauts. The booster was launched from all three active SpaceX platforms in Florida and California, including a 2019 Crew Dragon test flight, a mission with three Canada Radarsat Earth Imagery satellites, the SXM 7 broadcast satellite from SiriusXM and eight Starlink flights.
Most recently, the rocket was launched on Dec. 18 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California and then landed aboard a SpaceX unmanned craft floating in the Pacific Ocean.
When the current version of the Falcon 9 rocket – known as Block 5 – was first launched in 2018, SpaceX officials said the booster could fly 10 times before needing major repairs. After watching how ground crews refurbished and repurpose the Falcon 9 thrusters-and powered the Falcon’s 119 successful launches-SpaceX is now pushing the boundaries of the rocket’s lifespan.
Three Falcon boosters flew 11 times to Starlink mission 4-12.
While the first phase of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth to land at sea in east Carolina, the second phase fired its single engine to reach an initial orbit shift. Another burn about 45 minutes after liftoff put the Starlink satellites in the correct orbit to separate them.
The flat-packed spacecraft exited the upper stage of the Falcon 9 about 59 minutes after liftoff.
Starlink satellites will expand solar arrays and use onboard ion thrusters to reach their operational orbit at an altitude of 335 miles (540 kilometers), where they will enter SpaceX’s commercial service.
SpaceX has launched 2,335 Starlink satellites so far, including spacecraft that have retired or experienced failures. There were more than 2,000 of these satellites in orbit and operational on Saturday, according to a list kept by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist who closely monitors flight activity in space.
Read the Mission Overview for more details.
rocket: Falcon 9 (B1051.12)
Payload: 53 Starlink satellite (Starlink 4-12)
Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida
Lunch date: March 19, 2022
launch time: 00:42:30 EST (0042: 30 GMT)
Weather forecast: 70% chance of acceptable weather conditions; Low risk of bad condition for assisted recovery
Reinforcement Recovery: No ship with the slogan ‘Just Read the Instructions’ east of Charleston, South Carolina
AZIMUTH LAUNCH: the Northeast
target orbit: 189 by 197 miles (304 by 318 kilometers), 53.2 degree miles
- T+00: 00: fly
- T+01: 12: maximum air pressure (Max-Q)
- T+02: 32: First phase of main engine shutdown (MICU)
- T+02: 35: Phase separation
- T+02:42: Turn on the engine in the second stage
- T+02: 52: Take away the calm
- T+06: 19: Ignition of combustion into first stage (three engines)
- T+06: 39: First stage of inlet combustion shutdown
- T+08: 07: 1st stage combustion ignition (single engine)
- T+08:29: First landing stage
- T+08: 47: Engine breaks down at second speed (SECO 1)
- T+45:29: Restart second stage
- T+45: 30: Engine breaks at second speed (SECO 2)
- T+1: 02: 26: Separation of Starlink satellites
- The 145th launch of the Falcon 9 since 2010
- The 153rd Falcon family launch since 2006
- Twelfth launch of the Falcon 9 Booster B1051
- Launched Falcon 9 #127 from the Florida Space Coast
- Launch of Falcon 9 n ° 82 from platform 40.
- 137th version generally from plate 40
- Repurposed Falcon 9 Booster Flight 88
- The launch of the 41st Falcon 9 was customized using Starlink satellites
- The Falcon 9 will be its 11th launch in 2022
- Eleventh launch of SpaceX in 2022
- Twelfth orbital launch from Cape Canaveral in 2022
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