UpClose with SpaceX Starlink Poised for Liftoff with 1st Rideshare for Planet SkySats: Watch Live/Photos

UpClose with SpaceX Starlink Poised for Liftoff with 1st Rideshare for Planet SkySats: Watch Live/Photos
UpClose view of nose cone housing 9th batch of SpaceX Starlink internet satellites and three Planet SkySat Earth-imaging satellites bolted atop 3x recycled Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on June 12 ahead of liftoff June 13, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL – SpaceX is poised for the firms third launch in two weeks from the Florida Space Coast early Saturday with the next big batch of Starlink broadband internet satellites flying along with their inaugural mission in SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program – and the weather looks promising on the eve of blastoff.

A trio of Planets’ SkySat Earth-imaging satellites is mounted as the secondary payload atop 58 of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites as the primary payload for Saturdays ride to space on this first ever SpaceX rideshare mission.

Liftoff is targeted for Saturday, June 13 at 5:21 a.m. EDT, 921 GMT for launch of its SpaceX’s ninth Starlink mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.

You can watch the launch live via SpaceX webcast: spacex.com/launches

Live launch coverage will begin about 15 minutes before liftoff.

9th batch of SpaceX Starlink internet satellites and three Planet SkySat Earth-imaging satellites poised for liftoff atop 3x recycled Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on June 12 ahead of liftoff June 13, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

In case of a delay for weather or technical reasons a backup launch opportunity is available on Sunday, June 14 at 4:59 a.m. EDT, 859 GMT.

Enjoy our SpaceX UpClose photos of the Falcon 9 rocket and payload raised erect at pad 40 taken this afternoon, Friday, June 12.

Weather forecasters with the 45th Weather Squadron predict a 70% chance of acceptable conditions at launch time Saturday. That drops to 60% GO on Sunday.

SpaceX deleted two of their home manufactured Starlink comsats to make way for three of Planet’s SkySats imaging satellites.

The Falcon 9 rocket was raised vertical starting around 3:45 p.m. ET this afternoon as myself and several other media were on hand to watch as part of our remote camera setup.

The Falcon 9 erection operation took about 20 minutes from horizontal to vertical on the transporter erector.

9th batch of SpaceX Starlink internet satellites and three Planet SkySat Earth-imaging satellites poised for liftoff atop 3x recycled Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on June 12 ahead of liftoff June 13, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Planet tweeted this photo of their three SkySats 16-18 housed atop 58 Starlink comsats and being encapsulated inside the Falcon 9 nose cone.

Credit: SpaceX/Planet

 

“Launch day is nearly here for SkySats 16-18! The sats will be hitching a ride on @SpaceX’s Falcon 9 on June 13 – their 1st Starlink Rideshare Program launch. Check out our blog for info on these SkySats and how they’ll compliment our 15 already in orbit,” Planet tweeted.

For the first time in a long time SpaceX did not carry out their requisite static fire test of all 9 first stage Merlin 1D engines – which is routinely done to check the status of the rocket and pad systems and ensure and confirm their readiness for launch.

This recycled Falcon 9 first stage will be flying for the third time – after previously launching a duo of Dragon cargo missions for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) on the CRS-19 and CRS-20 missions.

https://mobile.twitter.com/SpaceX/status/1271116917420388352

https://mobile.twitter.com/SpaceX/status/1271116918871609344

Both payload fairings encapsulating the satellites are also recycled.

“Half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the JCSAT-18/Kacific1 mission, and the other half previously flew on SpaceX’s third Starlink mission,” said SpaceX officials.

SpaceX will attempt to land the booster a fourth time and catch the payload fairings.

Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles (640 km) downrange off the Carolina’s coast.

UpClose view of landing legs on side of 3x recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on June 12 ahead of liftoff June 13, 2020 on 9th Starlink mission and 1st Rideshare mission. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The two special fairing boats GO Ms TREE and GO ME CHIEF have also deployed downrange with giant nets.

After reaching orbit Planet’s SkySats will deploy sequentially beginning about 12 minutes after liftoff, and the Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 26 minutes after liftoff, says SpaceX.

The prior 8th Starlink mission launched last week on June 3 and the booster returned to Port on June 7.

Before that 2 NASA astronauts launch on a Falcon 9 on the DEmo-2 mission on May 30.

Documented in our earlier articles and photos.

Fisheye view of nighttime streak single image shows blastoff of 5x recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket nearby NASA’s iconic VAB and bounded by Max Brewer Bridge and Space View Park on 8th Starlink mission from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL at 9:25 p.m. June 3, 2020 – and disappears behind flame lit thick overcast clouds as seen from elevated location along the Indian River lagoon in Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Ken’s upcoming outreach events:

Jun 12: 7 PM, Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, FL. “SpaceX Demo-2 and Starlink launches and NASA/ ULA Atlas V Mars 2020 rover and more launches” Free. In hotel lobby. Photos for sale

5x launched/landed Falcon 9 1st stage booster atop ‘Just Read the Instructions’ (JRTI) droneship from 8th Starlink mission is towed by tug Finn Falgout and SpaceX fleet past Jetty Park Pier into Port Canaveral channel Sunday evening June 7, 2020 – 5 days after SpaceX launch from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL on June 3, 2020 Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

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Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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