CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites is targeted to liftoff at 10:03 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, February 17, 2020, from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The launch was pushed back from Sunday due to a second stage valve component.
Standing down from tomorrow’s Starlink launch; team is taking a closer look at a second stage valve component. Now targeting Monday, February 17.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 15, 2020
Watch the SpaceX rocket launch webcast livestream on Youtube.
Launch Weather 90% ‘GO’
According to the latest forecast from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is a 90% chance of favorable weather for launch.
The primary weather concern is cumulus clouds.
For the launch window Monday morning, skies will be mostly clear with a few cumulus clouds off the coast.
With low-level winds from the east, there is a very slight chance for cumulus clouds to move onshore during the window.
Attempted Landing On Drone Ship
Following stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 Block 5 will attempt a landing on an autonomous drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean.
This is the third launch of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit.
The 60 Starlink satellites are part of a next-generation satellite network developed by SpaceX to provide the globe with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.
Each Starlink satellite weighs approximately 500 lbs. (227kg) and features a flat-panel design with multiple high-throughput antennas and a single solar array.
SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end-users with low latency, high bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit.
Starlink Hall Thruster
Starlink satellites feature Hall thrusters powered by krypton to adjust position on orbit, maintain intended altitude, and de-orbit.
A Hall thruster is a type of electric propulsion device that produces thrust by ionizing and accelerating a noble gas, usually xenon.
While producing comparatively low thrust relative to conventional rocket engines, Hall thrusters provide significantly greater specific impulse or fuel economy.
This results in increased payload carrying capacity and a greater number of on-orbit maneuvers for a spacecraft using Hall thrusters rather than traditional rocket engines.
Starlink Space Junk Avoidance
Starlink satellites are capable of tracking on-orbit debris and autonomously avoiding a collision.
95 percent of all components of this Starlink satellite design will quickly burn in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of each satellite’s life-cycle which exceeds all current safety standards.