SpaceX has stopped since an attempt to launch Starlink on June 26 to allow “additional time for pre-launch checkouts,” which means that the company’s second US military GPS satellite mission is now close.
Expected to launch no earlier than (NET) at 15:56 EDT (19:56 UTC) on June 30, the GPS III SV03 mission will be SpaceX the last of this month, reducing the possibility that June 2020 would be the first four- launch month. However, as one door closes, another has opened, leaving four more SpaceX launches now slated for July.
In addition, SpaceX’s willingness to delay an internal launch of Starlink by a significant amount serves to confirm that the company continues to favor the reliability and established procedures over the opportunity. Since whatever The failure of Falcon 9 would have a serious impact all SpaceX launches, including Starlink internal missions and commercial launches for customers, should not be surprising. However, SpaceX̵
At the same time, it’s actually unclear whether the delay in Starlink V1 L9 was a SpaceX decision or something decided (or heavily influenced) by the U.S. military. Shortly after SpaceX announced the delay, new regulatory statements suggested that June 28 was the new target, but they were quickly canceled. It is possible that the U.S. military asserted its desire to be SpaceX’s immediate priority before launching an extremely expensive GPS III satellite.
Although entirely speculative, it is not plausible. If the US military intervened, in fact, to request the exchange of the launch order of GPS III SV03 and Starlink-9, it could technically benefit from the more or less complete attention of SpaceX, but it would also lose on the invaluable data provided by a another launch.
Regardless, GPS III SV03 is now the next SpaceX launch. Critically, the mission will be the company’s first operational launch is the landing for the US Air / Space Force after the military branch gave SpaceX permission to attempt to land the B1060 booster. The launch of GPS III will be SpaceX’s second, after the successful (but expendable) launch of GPS III SV01 and Falcon 9 repeater B1054 in December 2018. This time, the new life of the Falcon 9 Block 5 repeater will not necessarily be reduced after a single launch, as long as the rocket is able to safely land on the drone ship Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).
The delay of Starlink-9 means that SpaceX will be able to launch at most three missions in June 2020, reducing the possibility that the month will be the first to host four launches of Falcon 9. However, July now technically plans four launches of SpaceX: Starlink-9 (early July), ANASIS-II (mid-July), SAOCOM 1B (late July) and Starlink-10 (late July). Once again, with Two launches scheduled towards the end of the month, the chances that one or more missions will escape in August are substantially higher, but the possibility remains.
Stay tuned for updates as SpaceX is ready for its next 2-5 missile launches.
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