SpaceX is about to launch is newest batch of Starlink satellites on Tuesday at 10:31 AM EDT (7:31 AM PDT). This is the 11th of SpaceX Starlink missions thus far, and can embody 58 of the corporate’s broadband web satellites, in addition to three of buyer Planet’s SkySats spacecraft.
This mission is necessary as SpaceX continues to work in the direction of launching its Starlink service, which is able to provide low-latency, high-speed web connections to prospects in areas which have historically had little or poor service. But it’s additionally important as a result of it includes SpaceX’s most superior realization of its rocket reusability program thus far.
The first stage booster for the Falcon 9 flying right this moment’s mission has flown a complete of 5 instances, together with as soon as in 2018, twice in 2019 and twice already earlier this yr. This would be the sixth launch for the booster – a file for SpaceX, and for reusable rocketry generally – and it’ll additionally try to land the rocket stage as soon as once more utilizing its ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ drone touchdown ship within the Atlantic Ocean.
Three of the missions that this Falcon 9 booster flew beforehand had been Starlink flights, which demonstrates how necessary reusability is for SpaceX particularly when it’s flying its personal missions. The shared payload with Planet will considerably offset its working prices, however this (and all Starlink launches) are largely simply value that SpaceX has to soak up for now – till Starlink truly launches a paid service for patrons and begins to generate income.
Today’s mission additionally contains reuse of a Falcon 9 fairing (the cone that protects the payload on the prime of the rocket) that was used on a earlier mission – SpaceX’s fourth Starlink launch. Re-using the fairing is one other manner that SpaceX can mitigate prices for these missions, and the corporate has been making progress in its restoration course of for this half, which prices round $6 million new for every launch.
The broadcast for the launch will start at round 15 minutes previous to the precise launch window – so at round 10:16 AM EDT (7:16 AM PDT).