SpaceX's Falcon 9 Double Launch: Successful Retrieval and Scheduling Challenges

09.10.2023 posted by Admin

SpaceX's Falcon 9: Dual Launches and Windy Setbacks

A Falcon 9 rocket took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 12:43 a.m. PDT (0743 UTC). The first stage booster, which was on its 14th flight, successfully landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, strong upper-level winds forced SpaceX to cancel the Starlink 6-22 mission that was scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX is starting the second week of October with two Falcon 9 launches, happening back-to-back, from their Space Force-based launch facilities.

However, as the countdown reached about T-23 seconds, the launch director decided to hold off. Shortly after, SpaceX announced that they were postponing the Starlink 6-22 launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida due to the high winds at higher altitudes.

SpaceX had initially planned to launch the 22 Starlink V2 Mini satellites into low Earth orbit at 11:38 p.m. EDT (0338 UTC). This launch had already been delayed twice due to delays in the pre-launch preparations.

Less than 4.5 hours after the scrubbed Starlink 6-22 mission, SpaceX is set to launch the Starlink 7-4 mission at 12:43 a.m. PDT (3:43 a.m. EDT, 0743 UTC) from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This mission carries a slightly smaller payload of 21 Starlink V2 Mini satellites due to its trajectory.

Both missions will employ Falcon 9 rockets, with the first-stage boosters being B1067 at SLC-40 and B1063 at SLC-4E, both making their 14th flights.

The Starlink 6-22 mission is now rescheduled for a launch no earlier than Monday, Oct. 9, at 8:42 p.m. EDT (0042 UTC). Meanwhile, the Starlink 7-4 mission has four additional launch opportunities during its current window, scheduled from 1:30-4:06 a.m. PDT (4:30-8:06 a.m. EDT, 0730-1206 UTC), if necessary.

Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) remains a dependable launch pad for SpaceX, having been used for a total of 148 launches, out of the 263 Falcon 9 launches planned by that time.

SpaceX is also significantly increasing its launch activity at Vandenberg. After the Starlink 7-4 mission, it will account for 21 out of the 22 industry launches that have taken place at Vandenberg Space Force Base in 2023. The only other mission was Firefly Aerospace’s Victus Nox launch in September.
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