August 18, 2022

SpaceX’s next Starlink mission may fly Wednesday, setting up rocket launch doubleheader

SpaceX’s next Starlink mission may fly Wednesday, setting up rocket launch doubleheader
SpaceX’s next Starlink mission may fly Wednesday, setting up rocket launch doubleheaderSpaceX’s next Starlink mission may fly Wednesday, setting up rocket launch doubleheader

SpaceX appears to be targeting Wednesday (Feb. 2) to fly its next batch of Starlink satellites, setting up what could be a coast-to-coast launch doubleheader for the private spaceflight company. 

According to a forecast from the U.S. Space Force’s Delta 45 weather squadron, SpaceX’s next Starlink mission (called Starlink 4-7) is now expected to launch on a Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than Wednesday between 4:41 p.m. and 5:01 p.m. EST (2141-2201 GMT). Liftoff is expected to take place at 4:51 p.m. EST (2151 GMT) from Pad 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, according to an update from Spaceflight Now, which tracks launch schedules. 

While SpaceX has not confirmed the new launch date for the Starlink 4-7 mission, the company was initially targeting a liftoff to occur 24 hours after its most recent launch of the Italian Earth-observation satellite Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation FM2. That mission lifted off Monday night (Jan. 31) from a pad at the nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station after four days of delays due to weather and a wayward cruise ship. 

Related: The evolution of SpaceX’s rockets in pictures

A Wednesday launch for the Starlink 4-7 mission would come on the heels of yet another Falcon 9 launch by SpaceX, this time from California. The company is currently scheduled to launch a new classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance office from a pad at the Vandenberg Space Force Base

That Vandenberg launch is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex 4E at 3:18 p.m. EST (12:18 p.m. PST or 2018 GMT), just over one hour before the Starlink launch. It will carry the classified NROL-87 satellite into orbit for the NRO.

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Both of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launches are expected to attempt to recover their rockets’ first stages with drone ship or land-based landings. SpaceX successfully recovered the Falcon 9 first stage from Monday’s launch after its flawless touchdown at the company’s Landing Zone 1 pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 

SpaceX is expected to provide a live webcast of both launches on Wednesday, if they do stick to the same day. The company’s launch webcasts typically begin about 15 minutes before liftoff at its website and YouTube channel.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us on
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