Update: 10:57 PM EST:
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at 10:47 p.m. EDT (0247 UTC), marking the historic 62nd orbital launch this calendar year. The mission broke its own orbital launch record set in 2022 when it launched 61 orbital missions over a full year.
In a post on his social media platform X, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the company “aims to launch 10 Falcon flights a month by 2020.” [the] End of this year, then 12 months next year.
The first-stage booster supporting this mission, B1073, has completed its tenth launch and landing to date. This was the twenty-fourth Starlink mission to launch from LC-39A and SpaceX’s sixty-ninth launch from that platform to date.
Update 6:56 PM EST:
SpaceX is now targeting a T-0 takeoff time of 10:47 PM EST (0247 UTC). This occurs 90 minutes before the planned landing time of the Crew-6 astronauts and cosmonaut aboard Crew Dragon Endeavor.
SpaceX has one additional backup time on Sept. 3 for this launch at 11:05 PM EST (0305 UTC). There are also five backup opportunities on Monday, September 4, from 6:59 PM EST (22:59 UTC) until 10:39 PM EST (0239 UTC on September 5).
A Falcon 9 rocket is being prepared Sunday for the record 62nd orbital launch of the year for SpaceX. The previous record was set in 2022 with 61 launches made by the company. The launch is currently scheduled to take place from Platform 39A at Kennedy Space Center, carrying 21 Starlink satellites, at 9:56 PM EST (0156 UTC).
SpaceX has launched an orbital rocket on average every four days so far this year. Nine Falcon 9s have been launched in August. A total of 62 launches in a calendar year would be the highest number achieved by a single commercial launch company.
“We aim to launch 10 Falcon flights in one month by the end of this year, and then 12 flights per month next year,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a post on X, the social networking site formerly known as Twitter.
This year’s 62nd launch for SpaceX will carry 21 satellites called V2 mini for the company’s Starlink internet service.
Seconds after the launch pad is cleared, the Falcon 9 will lift up and move on a southeasterly trajectory, aiming for an orbit inclined at an angle of 43 degrees to the equator. After separating from the second stage about two and a half minutes into flight, the first stage booster will proceed to land on the “just read the instructions” drone ship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas about 390 miles (627 km) from the Cape. The first stage booster, back number B1077, is on its tenth mission.
Two burners are required for the second stage to place the satellites in the required circular orbit. 21 Starlinks will disconnect about an hour and five minutes after launch.
This will be the 16th launch of a next-generation Starlink satellite model that is larger and has four times the bandwidth of previous versions. The full-size V2 Starlink satellites are scheduled to be launched by SpaceX’s fully reusable Starship, but the delay in the Starship’s appearance has led to the company creating a condensed version of the satellites so they can be launched on the Falcon 9.
According to statistics compiled by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains the spaceflight database, SpaceX has so far launched a total of 5,027 Starlink satellites into orbit.
And in early May, SpaceX announced that it had more than 1.5 million Starlink subscribers. The company’s Internet service is available in more than 60 countries.
Watch live views from the Cape in the launchpad livestream:
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