Starting Friday (June 17), SpaceX plans to launch three rockets from three different launch pads over three days, beginning with the launch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. will be with On Saturday morning, a radar satellite for the German military will be launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, with the third mission returning to Florida to launch a commercial communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
If successful, the launch could mark back-to-back flights by triple-playing SpaceX, yet the company flew three missions earlier this year between January 31 and February 3. SpaceX is also aiming to set a new record with one flight.
The Falcon 9 rocket launching on Friday’s mission, called Starlink 4-19, will make its 13th flight — the most of any Falcon 9 — when it launches from Pad 39A. Liftoff is scheduled for 12:08 p.m. EDT (1608 GMT). The Falcon 9 first stage has carried out nine Starlink missions and four commercial flights, SpaceX said in a mission statement.
When SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the latest version of the company’s own workhorse, the Falcon 9, the Block 5 version, he said the booster was designed to fly for up to 10 flights. According to a June 10 report from Aviation Week, the company now aims to fly the Falcon 9 rockets at least 15 times before they are retired. The magazine reported that SpaceX currently has 21 Falcon rockets.
If Friday’s launch goes smoothly, SpaceX will look to its launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to launch SARA 1, a synthetic aperture radar remote sensing satellite for the German military built by Airbus. Liftoff is scheduled for Saturday (June 18) at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).
Jessica Jensen, SpaceX’s vice president of customer operations and integration, told Aviation Week’s Irene Klotz that Falcon 9 flight components are now tested for up to four times their fatigue life for 15 missions.
“SARA is a new operational reconnaissance system consisting of multiple satellites and a ground segment, which was developed on behalf of the German Bundeswehr,” Airbus wrote in a statement. “As a successor system, it replaces the currently in service SAR-Lupe system and offers significantly enhanced capabilities and system performance.”
Once Sarah 1 is in orbit, SpaceX’s focus will shift back to Florida, where the company hopes to launch the Globalstar FM 15 communications satellite for Globalstar, according to Spaceflight Now. That mission will take off from SpaceX’s pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday, June 19 at 12:30 p.m. EDT (0430 GMT).
Globalstar FM15 is an additional satellite to Globalstar’s messaging and data relay satellite network, Spaceflight Now has reported. You’ll be able to watch all three of SpaceX’s upcoming launches on Space.com at launch. SpaceX is expected to provide a live webcast approximately 10 minutes before liftoff.
- Later this week, SpaceX will launch three rockets over three days from three different launch pads.
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