SpaceX gears up for back-to-back launches today

Shane McGlaun - Aug 30, 2020, 8:49 am CDT
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SpaceX gears up for back-to-back launches today

SpaceX has a busy Sunday lined up as the company plans back-to-back Falcon 9 launches nine hours apart. This is the shortest span between two orbit-class flights originating from Florida since 1966. The goal is to put 60 additional Starlink satellites into orbit with one launch and an Argentine remote-sensing satellite in the other.

SpaceX has clearance from the FAA and the Air Force to attempt its back-to-back launches. However, the weather may not cooperate, killing the chances of a historic launch. Meteorologists are calling for a 50-50 chance of acceptable weather for the morning Starlink launch and only a 40 percent chance of go for the evening launch of the SAOCOM 1B satellite.

Assuming the weather cooperates, the Starlink launch will occur from pad 39 a at the Kennedy Space Center at 10:12 AM ET. That will be SpaceX’s 100 flight since its first Falcon 1 launch in 2006 and the 94th flight for the Falcon 9. If the Starlink launch takes place, SpaceX will have 713 satellites in its constellation. That flight will use a first stage making its second flight and will attempt to land an offshore drilling ship used again.

The second flight is scheduled for nine hours and six minutes after the morning lunch from pad 40 in Cape Canaveral. The satellite it pushes in orbit will be placed into orbit around the Earth’s poles and will be the first such flight since 1969 from Florida. The first stage of that rocket is making its fourth flight and will attempt to land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

If both first-stage boosters and successfully, the company will have completed 60 first stage recoveries. The second lunch will have an interesting trajectory heading south and performing a dogleg maneuver that will take its flight path directly over Cuba.


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