SpaceX postpones launch to facilitate ‘mission assurance’

Update: SpaceX said that it would be “standing down from today’s launch of Starlink to allow additional time for mission assurance work; will announce next launch opportunity once confirmed on the Range”.

SpaceX is planning to launch the 15th batch of Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket today, from Cape Canaveral for the company’s broadband network in a mission designated Starlink 15.

“Targeting 22 October for Falcon 9’s launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center”.


SpaceX confirmed that the liftoff will take place on Sunday, 22 October 2020 at 8:25 Eastern Time (ET). For SA viewers, that would be Sunday at 18:24 South African Standard Time (SAST).

If you’re watching from elsewhere in the world, that would be 5:25 PT (Pacific Time) or 7:25 Central Time (CT) in the United States. Alternatively, it would be 13:25 British Summer Time (BST).

If you’re based in India, get ready for a 17:55 ISD. China, set your alarm for 20:25 CST (Chinese Standard Time). Viewers from Japan can tune in from 21:25 Japan Standard Time (JST).

Watch the launch here. The stream will go live approximately 10 minutes before liftoff.

Lastly, those in Australia will need to be ready at 23:25 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). New Zealanders, that’s 1:25 for you on Monday, 19 October NZDT (New Zealand Daylight Time).

“As our Starlink network is still in its early stages, the Starlink team continues to test the system; collecting latency data and performing speed tests of the service”.

There are already more than 700 Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit following the launch of the 13th batch of 60 satellites on Tuesday, 6 October 2020.

SpaceX also confirmed on Saturday that the static fire test went off without a hitch. If anything goes wrong, a backup opportunity will be announced in due course.

The Falcon 9 that will be used for this launch previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station (ISS); as well as the launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission.

spacex starlink falcon 9
Image via SpaceX

In addition, this first stage also supported three other Starlink missions earlier this year. SpaceX confirmed that the booster will return to a droneship off the Atlantic coast:

“Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship […] The Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 1 hour and 3 minutes after liftoff”.

According to SpaceX, the team also “recently installed Starlinks on the Administrative Center building and about 20 private homes on the Hoh Tribe Reservation, located in a remote area of western Washington State where internet access is limited or completely unavailable”.

Also read – SpaceX: Starman ‘drove’ Elon Musk’s Tesla past Mars Protection Status

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