SpaceX Starlink Launch Set for Saturday Morning

Falcon 9 payload shroud. (Credit: SpaceX)

UPDATE: Launch scrubbed again. SpaceX tweeted: “Standing down from today’s launch of the tenth Starlink mission to allow more time for checkouts; team is working to identify the next launch opportunity. Will announce a new target date once confirmed with the Range”

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — SpaceX is targeting Saturday, July 11 at 10:54 a.m. EDT, 14:54 UTC, for launch of its tenth Starlink mission, which will include 57 Starlink satellites and 2 satellites from BlackSky, a Spaceflight customer. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, and the fourth and seventh Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The BlackSky Global spacecraft will deploy sequentially beginning 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff, and the Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 1 hour and 32 minutes after liftoff. Starlink satellites will be deployed in a circular orbit, as was done on the first through fourth Starlink missions. Additionally, all Starlink satellites on this flight are equipped with a deployable visor to block sunlight from hitting the brightest spots of the spacecraft – a measure SpaceX has taken as part of our work with leading astronomical groups to mitigate satellite reflectivity.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. If you would like to receive updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area, please visit starlink.com.

Russian Cargo Ship Leaves, Crew Tests Dragon’s Comfort Factors

The Expedition 63 crew has expanded to five members with the arrival of the SpaceX Crew Dragon. (From left) Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Russia’s Progress 74 (74P) cargo craft departed the International Space Station today leaving four spaceships from the U.S., Russia and Japan parked at the orbital lab. It will be replaced in two weeks when the Progress 76 arrives to replenish the crew.

The 74P undocked today at 2:23 p.m. EDT after seven months attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-packed resupply ship will descend into Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific for a fiery but safe demise. The 76P will take its place when it launches on July 23 at 10:26 a.m. and docks just three-and-a-half hours later to Pirs.

Four out of the five Expedition 63 crew members assessed comfort factors inside the docked SpaceX Crew Dragon today. This is a demonstration of the Crew Dragon’s habitability ahead of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission planned for later this year.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who piloted the Crew Dragon, will be joined by station Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin for the one-hour habitability test. The crew will arrange the cabin to suit the four space residents and report their comfort levels to engineers on the ground.

While they were setting up Crew Dragon for the test, the three NASA astronauts also had time for ultrasound eye scans, microfluid studies and orbital plumbing work. The two cosmonauts, including Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner, juggled a variety of Russian space research and tested Soyuz crew ship communications gear.

Falcon 9 Launches GPS III Satellite

Falcon 9 lifts off with GPS III satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Tuesday, June 30th at 4:10 p.m. ET, 20:10 UTC, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 successfully lifted off, carrying the Space Force’s GPS III Space Vehicle 03 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft deployed approximately 1 hour and 29 minutes after liftoff.

Exolaunch & NanoAvionics Sign Two Launch Agreements for SpaceX’s Rideshare Missions

NanoAvionics satellite in orbit. (Credit: NanoAvionics)

NanoAvionics awarded Exolaunch two contracts to launch the NanoAvionics-built nano-satellites on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

BERLIN, Germany, June 30, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed launch agreements with NanoAvionics, a nano-satellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator, to launch two 6U nano-satellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

(more…)

SpaceX Plans Friday Launch of Starlink Satellites

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

Update: The launch has been scrubbed for Friday. SpaceX tweeted that engineers needed additional time for pre-launch checks. The company has not announced a new launch date and time.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Friday, June 26 at 4:18 p.m. EDT, 20:18 UTC, for launch of its tenth Starlink mission, which will include 57 Starlink satellites and 2 satellites from BlackSky, a Spaceflight customer. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff.

(more…)

NASA Moving Forward to Enable a Low-Earth Orbit Economy

Axiom modules attached to the International Space Station. (Credit: Axiom Space)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — One year ago, NASA announced the agency is opening the space station for business, enabling commercial and marketing opportunities on the station, and the agency has moved forward toward its ultimate goal in low-Earth orbit to partner with industry to achieve a strong ecosystem in which NASA is one of many customers purchasing services and capabilities at lower cost.

Providing expanded opportunities at the International Space Station to manufacture, market and promote commercial products and services will help catalyze and expand space exploration markets for many businesses.

(more…)

LeoStella Delivers First BlackSky Satellites from its New Production Line

TUKWILA, Wa., June 22, 2020 – LeoStella, a specialized satellite constellation design and manufacturer, announced today the delivery of the first two satellites fully manufactured from its state-of-the-art production line. The satellites are the fifth and sixth of an ongoing Earth observation constellation program for the global monitoring company, BlackSky.

LeoStella’s intelligent manufacturing facility is the first of its kind and opened in 2019. The satellites were delivered to the launch facility on June 1, 2020 and have been prepared for an upcoming SpaceX launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

LeoStella’s ability to minimize costs and reduce development and manufacturing time helps meet the increasing demand for satellite constellations in a time sensitive ecosystem. 

(more…)

A Look at SpaceX’s and Virgin Galactic’s Hypersonic Plans

I found this video entertaining. I’m not sure this guy has any grasp of the technological challenges or how SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are trying to tackle it.

He also calls a pair of routine pilot proficiency flights of WhiteKnightTwo at Spaceport America mysterious. Nothing really unusual about them. They conducted these flights at Mojave regularly.

Hypersonic sounds great, but it’s not clear when or if it will carry passengers. What we might be left with are hypersonic weapons indistinguishable from nuclear missiles. The chance of an accidental nuclear exchange could become much greater.

Spaceflight to Launch Its First Rideshare Payloads on a SpaceX Starlink Mission

SEATTLE, June 17, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will launch two rideshare payloads aboard SpaceX’s tenth Starlink mission, marking the first SpaceX Starlink mission that will be accompanied by Spaceflight rideshare payloads.

The ability to launch rideshare payloads aboard SpaceX Starlink missions provides smallsat customers with a new, reliable and routine launch option. Spaceflight’s mission, which it has dubbed SXRS-1 to signify its first rideshare with Starlink, will include two Earth-observation microsatellites for Spaceflight’s customer BlackSky.

(more…)

Spaceflight Inc. Signs Multi-Launch Agreement with SpaceX for Rideshare Services

Falcon 9 lifts off on June 13, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SEATTLE, June 17, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it inked an agreement with SpaceX to secure rideshare capacity on multiple launches. This agreement between the two companies secures Spaceflight capacity to launch manifest payloads on several SpaceX launches through the end of 2021, providing launch schedule assurance to smallsat customers needing frequent, reliable, and cost-effective launches to Sun-synchronous orbit.

(more…)

Momentus and EnduroSat Announce Two Service Agreements

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

Multiple satellite service agreements will expand Momentus’ service offering to Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

SANTA CLARA, Calif./BULGARIA (Momentus/Eudurosat PR) — Momentus (www.momentus.space), provider of in-space transportation services for satellites, and EnduroSat (www.endurosat.com), the European designer of spacecraft for business applications and space exploration missions, today announced two separate service agreements. The 6U and 1U CubeSats will launch February 2021 on the second Vigoride demo mission onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

(more…)

New International Ocean Satellite Completes Testing

Mission team members perform acoustic tests of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite in a chamber outfitted with giant speakers that blast the spacecraft with sound. This is to ensure that the high decibels associated with liftoff won’t damage the spacecraft. (Credit: Airbus)

A team of engineers in the U.S. and Europe subjected the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft to a battery of trials to ready it for liftoff later this year.


Once the state-of-the-art Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite launches in November, it will collect the most accurate data yet on sea level – a key indicator of how Earth’s warming climate is affecting the oceans, weather and coastlines. But first, engineers need to ensure that the spacecraft can survive the rigors of launch and of operating in the harsh environment of space. That’s where meticulous testing comes in.

(more…)

Spiral Blue Partners with SatRevolution for in Orbit Demonstration Mission

SWIFT satellite (Credit: SatRevolution)

SYDNEY, Australia (Spiral Blue PR) — Spiral Blue has signed an agreement with Polish satellite manufacturer SatRevolution to launch and test our first prototype Space Edge Zero (SEZ) computer in orbit. Our SEZ computer will be hosted by SatRevolution’s SW1FT satellite, set for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 no earlier than December 2020. Following in orbit qualification, the SEZ will be tested throughout 2021.

(more…)

SpaceX Launches 58 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off on June 13, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX launched its ninth Starlink mission on Saturday, lofting 58 Starlink and three Planet SkySat Earth observation satellites into orbit.

Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the pre-dawn darkness.

(more…)

Launcher Adds to its Team with SpaceX & JPL Veterans

A rendering of Launcher’s engine test stand that will be built at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. (Credit: Launcher)

BROOKLYN, NY (Launcher PR) — We are excited to announce that NASA JPL & SpaceX veterans Kevin Watson and Rich Petras have joined Launcher to lead and start our avionics team. Kevin will head the team as Head of Avionics. Rich Petras has joined as Head of Avionics Software as part of Kevin’s team.

(more…)