For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The afternoon blastoff of a ‘flight-proven’ Falcon 9 is now targeted to Thursday, Sept. 17 carrying the next batch of Starlink internet satellites to orbit from the Florida Space Coast – also utilizing a recycled nose cone half and marking the 2nd Falcon 9 Starlink launch this month.
But only if all goes well amidst the fallout from Hurricane Sally devastating the Florida panhandle and inland regions and churning Atlantic Ocean waters from 4 more storms potentially targeting the US East Coast.
At this time at T Minus 1/2 Day the weather outlook is decent for the mid-afternoon Falcon 9 liftoff from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
SpaceX is targeting Thursday, September 17 at 2:19 p.m. EDT (1819 GMT) for launch of its thirteenth Starlink mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying 60 Starlink satellites to low earth orbit
Quite notably one of the payload fairing halves been recycled twice from missions in May 2019 and March 2020
“Targeting September 17 at 2:19 p.m. EDT for Falcon 9 launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A,” SpaceX tweeted.
“A fairing half supporting this mission previously supported Starlink missions in May 2019 and March 2020.”
A fairing half supporting this mission previously supported Starlink missions in May 2019 and March 2020 pic.twitter.com/x98icJkqqi
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2020
The ever expanding Starlink constellation now numbers approximately 713 refrigerator sized flat panel broadband satellites aimed at serving rural and underserved areas across the globe.
There are no rideshare payloads on this flight.
SpaceX will webcast the Falcon 9 launch live starting about 15 minutes before the planned liftoff:
You can watch the launch webcast here: spacex.com/launches
The weather prognosis is moderate.
At this time the Air Force meteorologists team at the 45th Weather Squadron is forecasting a 60% chance of acceptable conditions at launch time.
The Primary concerns are the Cumulous Cloud Rule and Anvil Cloud Rule.
The back up launch day on Friday, Sept. 4 has an earlier launch time at 1:57 p.m. EDT, 1757 GMT declines significantly to 40% GO
Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station on May 30 with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley onboard and the ANASIS-II commercial communications satellite mission on July 20.
Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Droneship JRTI is already waiting at its stationing position some 400 mi (640 km) north east of KSC off the coast of the Carolina’s with a football field sized platform.
The Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff.
If all goes well the Starlink constellation will rise to about 773 launched satellites
SpaceX says you can sign up to receive updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area. Please visit starlink.com.
SpaceX has also dispatched its fleet of payload fairing catcher boats GO Ms. Tree and GO Ms. Chief to try and catch and retrieve both nose cone halves from the mission.
The two stage Falcon 9 rocket stands 229 feet (70 meters) tall.
Watch my post scrub interview of WXTV ABC News Ch 9 Orlando:
My prelaunch photos from pad 39A from the prior Starlink mission on Sept 3 were featured at WKMG CBS 6 TV News Orlando
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Starlink, 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.
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events