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SpaceX launch: how to watch Falcon 9 deliver the Space Force satellite into orbit



Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, perched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, takes off from the 39A launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, bringing NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.

SpaceX

On Tuesday, SpaceX will attempt its third launch from its historic flight of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station May 30, also targeting a Falcon 9 first.

The mission planned to raise a new one US Space Force The GPS satellite that will orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket will be the 11th launch of the company in 2020. Continuing this almost weekly launch rate would allow Elon Musk’s commercial space to set up a business record for the most launches in a year.

It will also be the first time that SpaceX has attempted to land and recover its Falcon 9 rocket since the launch of a military satellite. The company launched another military GPS satellite in 2018 and at the time the US Air Force ruled that SpaceX would not be able to perform the necessary flight path and also land on the first stage repeater, according to SpaceNews.

Since then, the company and the U.S. military have negotiated changes in GPS mission requirements and launch costs to allow SpaceX to attempt to land its first stage after lofting the satellite on Tuesday.

The launch window from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida opens at 12:55. PT (3:55 Florida time). The weather is 60% favorable for a launch on June 30th, according to SpaceX.

More to come soon

SpaceX had also scheduled its second Starlink ride-share mission for the past week, but the launch was eventually postponed and a new date for the explosion has not yet been announced.

“The team needed additional time for pre-launch checkouts, but Falcon 9 and the satellites are in good shape,” SpaceX tweeted a couple of hours before the scheduled launch time on Friday.

Already postponed from Tuesday and Thursday, it will be the third in a series of Starlink missions to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The last series of missions began with his historic success that brings NASA astronauts into orbit on May 30, followed by two Starlink launches in June.

SpaceX has had its busiest year so far in 2018 with 21 launches and is now well on its way to eclipsing that mark in 2020, perhaps hitting 38 launches for the total of the year if all its plans come out. The airline hopes to continue filling its schedule with multiple take-offs, targeting 70 missions in 2023, according to a filing plan with the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year.

Many of the launches will be Starlink missions, as SpaceX tries to put tens of thousands of small satellites into orbit in this decade. The company has started conduct ride-share launches, making room for some commercial payloads alongside a group of Starlink birds.

The next Starlink launch will be set to be Starlink’s second round, this time with two microsatellites observing the Earth for Black Sky, a company that provides high definition satellite imagery.

This would have been Starlink’s third launch in June alone, bringing the size of the growing constellation to nearly 600 satellites and closer to the threshold of 800 flying routers which Musk said it would allow for a limited broadband service to start.


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