SpaceX is currently launching the 8th Starlink mission of the year 2020. On July 8, 2020, the company will be kicking off a potentially record-breaking month after the same launch was delayed from June to July. Now, instead of June 2020 potentially becoming the space organization’s first four-launch month, July is now the newest candidate for the milestone.
Known as Starlink V1 L9 or Starlink-9, SpaceX’s second Starlink rideshare which will be carrying 57 Starlink satellites and two BlackSky Earth-imaging spacecraft. The launch is scheduled for this Wednesday at 4:00 PM EDT. If the schedule holds, that means Starlink-9 will fly just eight days after SpaceX’s successful June 30th launch of the third US military GPS III satellite.
SpaceX gets ready to create history this July
Elon Musk has swapped the GPS III SV03 and Starlink-9 launch order, moving from NET June 30th and June 22nd, to July 8th, still eight days apart. Such a rapid East Coast launch program is only possible because of the organization’s use of separate launch pads LC-40 and LC-39A, located just a few miles apart at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and Kennedy Space Center.
Now, that opportunity has been handed off to July. As of now, the company has four launches one somewhat tentative, scheduled this month. Starlink-9 has a relatively firm July 8th target from Pad 39A, followed by South Korea’s ANALYSIS II military communications satellite NET July 14th from LC-40.
Finally, Argentinian radar satellite SAOCOM 1B and Musk’s own Starlink-10 missions could launch just a few days apart, again using both Pad 39A and LC-40. SAOCOM 1B could easily slip into August or even further, though, as the mission was originally delayed from March 30th by the coronavirus pandemic, which is far from over. Most of these missions are going to be tipped off using the Falcon 9 aircraft.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.