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.

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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.

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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.

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Schedule for Upcoming Launches

Electron rocket lifts off on Jan. 31, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The week ahead features launches by Rocket Lab and SpaceX, Vega’s first rideshare mission, two Chinese launches, and a Japanese sounding rocket flight.

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SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit on Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The satellites separated from the booster’s second stage 15 minutes after launch. SpaceX has launched 482 Starlink satellites into Earth orbit.

Elon Musk’s company has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch nearly 12,000 satellites to provide broadband services to any location on Earth.

Satellites on this launch are equipped with visors that will be deployed to limit their reflectivity. Astronomers has complained that the Starlink constellation has interfered with Earth-based observations.

The Falcon’s 9 first stage successfully landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The flight marked the fifth use of the first stage.

The recovered stage previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and two separate Starlink missions in May 2019 and in January 2020.

SpaceX said it would attempt to recover the payload fairings using the Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief recovery ships. The company has not said whether the recovery effort was successful.

SpaceX to Launch Next Starlink Batch of Satellites on Wednesday Night

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

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday June 3 at 9:25 p.m. EDT, 1:25 UTC on June 4, for its eighth launch of Starlink satellites. Falcon 9 will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A backup opportunity is available on Thursday, June 4 at 9:03 p.m. EDT, 1:03 UTC on June 5.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink Launch Rescheduled for Tuesday Morning

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

UPDATE: The launch has been postponed until after the Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch scheduled for May 27.

SpaceX’s launch of a Falcon 9 booster with 60 satellites aboard that was originally scheduled for today (Sunday) has been postponed until Tuesday, May 19 at 3:10 a.m. EDT if the weather permits it.

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V launch of the U.S. Space Force’s X-37B vehicle was scrubbed on Saturday due to inclement weather. The booster successfully launched the space plane on Sunday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX had rescheduled the launch for Monday. However, the flight slipped a day due to a tropic depression developing off the southeast coast, the company said.

“SpaceX teams will continue monitoring launch and landing weather conditions,” the company tweeted.

Starlink is a constellation designed to provide high-speed broadband services around the world.

Planet to Launch Six Satellites on SpaceX Falcon 9 Flights

Falcon 9 launch with fourth batch of Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SAN FRANCISCO (Planet PR) — Planet is set to launch six more SkySat satellites (SkySats 16-21) into Low Earth Orbit this summer, rounding out the fleet of 15 SkySats already in operation.

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Amazon, SpaceX Among Companies Circling Bankrupt OneWeb

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are among companies doing due diligence on OneWeb, the satellite broadband company that declared bankruptcy in March.

Other companies interested include Eutelsat, Cerberus and two Chinese companies, according to Space Intel Report.

OneWeb has 74 satellites in orbit, which is only 11.4 percent of an initial planned constellation of 648 satellites designed to provide broadband services across the globe.

SpaceX is already deploying its rival Starlink constellation with satellites the company says are more capable than the ones launched by OneWeb. Bezos’ Amazon is planning its own satellite constellation.

It’s not clear whether potential buyers want to purchase the entire company or the OneWeb’s bandwidth allocation, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

OneWeb filed bankruptcy in March, blaming the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for drying up financing for the multi-billion satellite constellation.

SpaceX Outlines Plans to Reduce Starlink Satellite Brightness

Telescopes at Lowell Observatory in Arizona captured this shot of galaxies May 25. Their image was marred by the reflected light from more than 25 Starlink satellites as they passed overhead. (Credit: Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is launching Starlink to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity across the globe, including to locations where internet has traditionally been too expensive, unreliable, or entirely unavailable. We also firmly believe in the importance of a natural night sky for all of us to enjoy, which is why we have been working with leading astronomers around the world to better understand the specifics of their observations and engineering changes we can make to reduce satellite brightness. Our goals include:

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 with a first stage flying for the fourth time successfully orbited an additional 60 Starlink satellites on Wednesday.

The booster lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3:30 p.m. EDT. The satellites separated from Falcon 9’s second stage 15 minutes after launch.

It was the seventh successful launch of a cluster of 60 Starlink spacecraft. The constellation, which will eventually total 12,000 satellites, will provide broadband services to any point on Earth.

The reused first stage successfully landed on an off-shore drone ship.

SpaceX to Launch Sixth Batch of Starlink Satellites Today

Falcon 9 launch with fourth batch of Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. EDT, or 19:30 p.m. UTC, for its seventh launch of Starlink satellites. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A backup opportunity is available on Thursday, April 23 at 3:15 p.m. EDT, or 19:15 UTC.

Launch webcast will go live about 10 minutes before liftoff at spacex.com/webcast Approximately 35 minutes before liftoff, audio from mission control will be available at youtube.com/spacex.

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SpaceX Get Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations in USA

60 Starlink satellites begin to separate after deployment from the Falcon 9 second stage. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted SpaceX to deploy up to one million ground stations to connect users to its Starlink satellite broadband service.

Each ground station is just under 19 inches (.48 m) across.

“It looks like a UFO on a stick,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month. “It’s very important that you don’t need a specialist to install. The goal is for … just two instructions and they can be done in either order: Point at sky, plug in.”

SpaceX has launched 362 Starlink satellites as part of a constellation that could eventually total 42,000. The FCC has given Musk’s company approval to launch nearly 12,000 spacecraft. The company has submitted paperwork to place another 30,000 into orbit.

SpaceX plans to launch additional groups of 60 satellites roughly every two weeks aboard Falcon 9 boosters. The company hopes to begin service in the United States later this year.

Musk has said Starlink satellites will be able to deliver high-speed broadband service with latency below 20 milliseconds.

Report: OneWeb to File for Bankruptcy

The Financial Times reports that OneWeb is preparing to file for bankruptcy and lay off most of its employees after failing to obtain additional financing from investors to continue building out its satellite broadband constellation.

OneWeb collapses after SoftBank funding talks fall through

The story is behind a paywall, so I don’t have a lot of details at this point. OneWeb will apparently keep a small team in place to operate the 74 satellites the company has launched into orbit while it seeks addition funding needed to emerge from bankruptcy.

Attempts to obtain additional funding from the company’s main backer, SoftBank, fell through.

The news comes less than a week after a Russian Soyuz booster launched 34 OneWeb satellites. Two previous launches in February 2019 and February 2020 had orbited 6 and 34 spacecraft, respectively.

OneWeb, which was founded by Greg Wyler, has been planning to launch 680 satellites in order to provide broadband services to any location on Earth.

The company’s main competitor is SpaceX, which has launched 362 satellites as part of its Starlink constellation. SpaceX has received approvals to launch nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites. Elon Musk’s company has also submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission to launch an additional 30,000 spacecraft to bring the total to 42,000.