SpaceX prepares for Starlink and BlackSky Global launch [live stream]

Update: SpaceX confirmed 40 minutes before launch that the team would be standing down from today’s Starlink mission “due to weather.” However, the mission will “proceed through the countdown until T-1 minute for data collection”. SpaceX will announce a new target launch date in due course.

SpaceX is currently preparing the Falcon 9 rocket — the B1051.5 booster — for the launch of its tenth Starlink mission. Today’s launch will include 57 Starlink satellites, along with two BlackSky Global satellites.

BlackSky is a SpaceFlight customer that specialises in organising rideshare space launches of secondary payloads and geospatial intelligence services. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming launch.

SpaceX Starlink launch: Factsheet

When will the launch take place

The launch schedule has been set for 8 July at 11:59 Eastern Time (ET), or 17:59 South African Standard Time (SAST). Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida is prepped and ready.

SpaceX Starlink launch details

According to SpaceX, all the Starlink satellites heading into low-Earth orbit today have been outfitted with a sunshade visor that was tested on a single satellite on the June 2020 launch.

“All Starlink satellites on this flight are equipped with a deployable visor to block sunlight from hitting the brightest spots of the spacecraft – a measure SpaceX has taken as part of our work with leading astronomical groups to mitigate satellite reflectivity”.

Watch: SpaceX Starlink launch

The Falcon 9 first stage booster used in today’s launch also previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station. In addition, it was used for the launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, and the fourth and seventh Starlink missions.

Once the stage separation is complete, the Falcon 9’s first stage will land on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Starlink schedule

Times are subject to change.

Launch mission countdown

00:38:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
00:35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway
00:35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway
00:16:00 2nd stage LOX loading underway
00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
00:01:00 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurisation to flight pressure begins
00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff

Launch, landing and deployment

00:01:12 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:33 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:36 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:43 2nd stage engine starts (SES-1)
00:03:24 Fairing deployment
00:06:40 1st stage entry burn complete
00:08:24 1st stage landing
00:08:51 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
00:47:18 2nd stage engine starts (SES-2)
00:47:21 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-2)
01:01:32 Global 7 deployment
01:06:47 Global 8 deployment
01:32:54 Starlink satellites deploy Protection Status

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