Scrub Streak Broken! SpaceX Launches Starlink Satellites during Spectacular Space Coast Sunrise: Photos

Scrub Streak Broken!  SpaceX Launches Starlink Satellites during Spectacular Space Coast Sunrise: Photos
Falcon flies at last ! Scrub Streak Broken at Sunrise. SpaceX Falcon 9 soars off Launch Complex-39A at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with water reflection below in turn basin – as bird observes on station as seen from KSC LC-39 Press Site. Carrying 13th batch 60 Starlink internet satellites to LEO. NASA Worm logo featured on side of recycled Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL –  Scrub Streak Broken! The seemingly endless and unprecedented series of Florida Space Coast launch scrubs by both SpaceX and ULA for more than a month and given names such as ‘Scrubitis’, ‘Scrubtober’, “Scrubtoberfest’ or ‘Scrubtember’ – mostly for technical reasons – has at last ended with a spectacular sunrise blastoff Tuesday morning of a SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying 60 Starlink internet satellite to orbit from the Kennedy Space Center.

And it was touch and go with threatening weather as rains storm inundated the Cape less than an hour before launch.

At last the rain clouds cleared, crowds collectively cheered and the sadly repetitive time-loop dream of the hit movie ‘Groundhog Day’ halted at last as the 1st stage Merlin rocket engines ignited and Falcon 9 soared proudly to space.

Liftoff of the 23 story tall single stick recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 on the 13th  mission carrying Starlink broadband internet satellites took place during the instantaneous window at 7:29 a.m. EDT  (1129 GMT) Tuesday morning, Oct. 6 from Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center – just a few minutes after sunrise.

Falcon flies at last ! Scrub Streak Broken at Sunrise. SpaceX Falcon 9 soars off Launch Complex-39A at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Carrying 13th batch 60 Starlink internet satellites to LEO. NASA Worm logo featured on side of recycled Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Loaded with LOX and HH2 propellants all none Falcon 9 Merlin 1D first stage engines on flight- proven booster B1058.3  ignited to generate 1.7 million pounds of liftoff thrust and roared off pad 39A with crackling thunder into a mostly cloud free sky that luckily cleared in the final minutes – heading northeasterly with a packed nose cone of Starlink broadband satellites.

‘With that, we hope you have a wonderful end of your day and a happy end to Scrubtober,” said SpaceX engineer Siva Bharadvaj, towards the conclusion of the SpaceX live launch webcast.

Daylight streak Starlink launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Overall this was the fourth launch attempt for this mission due to rocket, ground system and weather issues.  In fact this launch was also scrubbed yesterday, Monday, due to torrential downpours and thunder in the region.

Enjoy our Space UpClose gallery of launch and prelaunch images from the KSC press site from the team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright.

SpaceX Falcon 9 blasts off at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from Launch Complex-39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, delivering 60 Starlink internet satellites to orbit. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

At least for today Space Coast ‘Scrubitis’ was temporarily ‘cured.’

Overall this marked the 43rd flight of a reflown 1st stage booster.

Altogether SpaceX has landed successfully  61 flown boosters by land or by sea.

SpaceX Falcon 9 blasts off at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from Launch Complex-39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, delivering 60 Starlink internet satellites to orbit. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

 

“Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites to orbit, completing SpaceX’s 43rd flight of a previously flown rocket booster,” SpaceX tweeted.

 

The Starlink mission was part of triple header of endlessly entangled 3 in a row rocket launches bunched up back to back and scrubbed repeatedly many times precisely because the they were repeatedly scheduled tightly together – a day or even as little as only 9 hours apart.

Thus when the first one in line delayed it frequently resulted in delays to the other two missions – hence the origin of nicknames like ‘Scrubitis’ and ‘Scrubtober.’

Recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 soars off Launch Complex-39A at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – as bird observes on station as seen from KSC LC-39 Press Site. Carrying 13th batch 60 Starlink internet satellites to LEO. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The rocket trio from America’s premier rocket companies ULA and SpaceX comprised one triple core ULA Delta IV Heavy and two single core SpaceX Falcon 9s blasting off on 3 different nearly launch pads from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

It should be noted that the oft scrubbed ULA Delta IV Heavy launch of the NROL 44 spysat for the NRO and other Falcon 9 on the GPS III SV04 mission for the United States Space Force remain on indefinite holds due to rocket and ground system issues

This ‘flight-proven’ Falcon 9 first stage booster B1058.3 roared off pad 39A for the third time on missions to space and back.

SpaceX Falcon 9 soars aloft after blast off at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from Launch Complex-39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, delivering 60 Starlink internet satellites to orbit. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

In addition to a successful launch and after stage separation the booster accomplished another precision guided propulsive descent and safely touched down on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) ocean going droneship platformsome eight and a half minutes after liftoff.

 

“Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship,” SpaceX tweeted with a confirmation video.

Droneship OCISLY was 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 landing platform.

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.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station on May 30 on the Demo-2 mission with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley onboard and the ANASIS-II commercial communications satellite mission on July 20.

As such the booster still features the NASA Worm logo on the side from the Demo-2 mission.

The Starlink satellites were successfully deploy approximately 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff.

As such the ever expanding Starlink constellation will rise to about 773 launched satellites.

The flat panel, refrigerator sized broadband internet relay satellites launched to orbit are aimed at serving rural and underserved areas across the globe – where service is “unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.”

There were no rideshare payloads on this flight – thus the full complement of 60 Starlinks was stowed aboard as payload and encapsulated inside the nose cone.

“Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed,” SpaceX tweeted with a video.

“Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in northern US & hopefully southern Canada. Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted in response.

SpaceX says you can sign up to receive updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area. Please visit starlink.com.

 

The mission also utilized a recycled nose cone half for the second time.

In addition to dispatching both droneships, SpaceX deployed both payload fairing catcher ships: GO Ms Tree and GO Ms Chief.

SpaceX reported that the crew aboard GO Ms Tree  was able to successfully catch that reused fairing.

Overall it was the 6th successful catch of a nose cone half by GO Ms Tree.

 

“Ms. Tree caught the fairing half that flew in support of two previous missions!” SpaceX tweeted with a video.

Starlink services are  already being used in some remote area such as Washington State.

 

The Washington Emergency Department announced on Sept 28 that they were using the Starlink internet service for emergency responders and residents in Malden, Washington, seeking to recover from devastating wildfires earlier this month that destroyed much of the town.

“Happy to have the support of @SpaceX’s Starlink internet as emergency responders look to help residents rebuild the town of Malden, WA that was overcome by wildfires earlier this month. #wawildfire,” the Washington Emergency Department tweeted.

“Glad SpaceX could help! We are prioritizing emergency responders & locations with no Internet connectivity at all,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted in response.

“Starlink will be a revolution in connectivity, especially for remote regions or for emergency services when landlines are damaged.”

Regarding the many scrubs – the CEO’s of both companies namely SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and ULA CEO Tory Bruno plan to fully investigate what is going on and causing most of these scrubs.

Musk himself acknowledges it will take a lot of hard work and changes in operating procedures to achieve the goal of 48 launches per year outlines by the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral Space Fore Station.

Elon Musk is personally visiting the Cape this next week to review the situation with his team and inspect the hardware in person.

“All of that and more. We’re doing a broad review of launch site, propulsion, structures, avionics, range & regulatory constraints this weekend. I will also be at the Cape next week to review hardware in person,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted in response to questions about the launch cadence and scrubs.

 

The two stage Falcon 9 rocket stands 229 feet (70 meters) tall.

Watch my prelaunch commentary at WESH 2 NBC News and WKMG CBS 6 New Orlando on Oct. 5/6  about SpaceX CEO Elon Musk visit to the Cape to determine cause of so many launch scrubs.

https://www.wesh.com/article/spacex-delays-elon-musk-cape-canaveral/34271894

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/2020/10/05/spacex-ceo-elon-musk-coming-to-cape-to-investigate-scrub-issues/

 

 

 

Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch my SpaceX GPS post scrub commentary at Fox 35 News Orlando on Oct. 3

https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/elon-musk-heading-to-cape-canaveral-after-a-week-of-scrubbed-launches

https://www.fox35orlando.com/video/857194

“They need to stand back. They need to rethink. They need to look at all of their procedures and that’s why Musk is coming here for. He’s going to do a thorough review,” I explained to Fox 35 about the many launch scrubs.

“We hope the weather is good, but we have no control over the weather. But they have plenty of control over the rocket and the pad to make sure they’re in order.”

 

Watch my commentary at WFTV Channel 9 ABC TV News Orlando in this Sept. 25/26 report about 3 upcoming Space Coast launches in 3 days by ULA and SpaceX.

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/space-coast-could-see-three-rocket-launches-three-days/KBPD2XR4YZGJFBXCLXBG3VSK7Y/

Also Fox 35 TV News Orlando on Sep 28/29 about the impact of scheduling so many back to back launches and impact of repeated launch scrubs.

 

Watch my live interview discussion of current space missions and launches on Sept. 18 edition of  ‘Stay Curious’ daily space show presented by the American Space Museum, Titusville, FL.

Space Journalist Dr. Ken Kremer updates "Stay Curious" on space news

Our 25th "Stay Curious" week ends with space journalist Dr. Ken Kremer joining MarQ & Marty to update you on the lastest news from the Space Coast…all to bridge the space between us.

Posted by American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame on Friday, September 18, 2020

 

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.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

 

Falcon flies at last ! Scrub Streak Broken at Sunrise. Recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 soars off Launch Complex-39A at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with water reflection below in turn basin – as bird observes on station as seen from KSC LC-39 Press Site. Carrying 13th batch 60 Starlink internet satellites to LEO. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

 

VAB and Moon: Storm clouds over the iconic VAB at Kennedy Space Center moved away and preceded successful SpaceX Falcon 9 blast off at 7:29 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020 from Launch Complex-39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, delivering 60 Starlink internet satellites to orbit. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

2nd stage vents LOX minutes prior to poor weather scrub SpaceX Falcon 9 launch as seen from at KSC LC-39 Press Site moments before planned launch at 10:22 a.m. ET Sept. 28, 2020. NASA Worm logo still featured on side of recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Recycled Falcon 9 for 13th Starlink comsat launch stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch scrubbed on Sept. 28, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
NASA Worm logo still visible on side of recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Heron awaits SpaceX Falcon 9 launch at KSC LC-39 Press Site – then flies away after SpaceX engineers call scrub as final countdown was to begin due to poor booster landing recovery weather in the Atlantic Ocean. Recycled Falcon 9 for 13th Starlink comsat launch stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch scrubbed from Sept. 17, 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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