Live streaming of the countdown and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Starlink 4-34 mission will launch SpaceX’s next batch of 54 Starlink broadband satellites. follow us twitter.
SpaceX lifted off its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral on Sunday night after five days of weather delays, sending 54 more Starlink satellites into orbit as the company continues its efforts to complete more than 60 missions this year.
The 229-foot-tall (60-meter) Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 20:18:40 EDT Sunday (0018:40 GMT Monday) to launch SpaceX’s Starlink 4-34 mission. The Falcon 9 lifted off with nine kerosene-fueled Merlin 1D engines and shot into the night sky as it climbed northeast of pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The mission finally got off the ground after five days of delays. It started on Tuesday night when the launch team stopped the countdown before it started refueling the Falcon 9 rocket. Flashes of lightning lit up the sky on Florida’s Space Coast throughout the evening. Similar weather on Wednesday night forced officials to call for another pre-tank scrub, and SpaceX stopped the countdown Thursday night at about T-minus 30 seconds because the weather “didn’t pass” for the launch.
It was a similar story Friday night, as SpaceX loaded propellants into the Falcon 9 but stopped the countdown at T-minus 60 seconds. The teams initially targeted another launch attempt on Saturday, but SpaceX announced late Saturday that the mission would be delayed until Sunday night.
The flight marked SpaceX’s 42nd Falcon 9 launch so far in 2022. It was the 40th space launch attempt overall from Florida’s Space Coast this year, including launches by SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Astra.
About 15 minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage released 54 Starlink satellites over the North Atlantic Ocean traveling at about 17,000 mph. The total weight of the satellites is about 36,800 pounds or 16.7 metric tons.
The Starlink 4-34 mission was the third of five Falcon 9 missions on SpaceX’s schedule this month. Tom Ochinero, SpaceX’s vice president of commercial sales, said at the World Satellite Business Week conference in Paris last week that the company aims to complete more than 60 launches this year with a goal of 100 rocket missions by 2023, continuing its dramatic rise. SpaceX’s launch cadence.
The faster launch rate was helped by shorter turnarounds between missions at launch pads in Florida and California and SpaceX’s reuse of Falcon 9 boosters and payload fairings. Launches carrying satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink internet network, such as Sunday night’s mission, have made up about two-thirds of the company’s Falcon 9 flights so far this year.
The next Falcon 9 launch for the Starlink network was scheduled for September. 19 from Cape Canaveral, but the Starlink 4-34 mission is likely to be delayed until the last week of September due to weather related scrubbing effects.
SpaceX began flying 54 Starlink satellites on special Falcon 9 flights last month, one more spacecraft than the company has typically sent into space on previous missions. SpaceX tested various engine adjustments and other minor modifications to improve Falcon 9’s performance.
SpaceX tested the Falcon 9 booster on the launch pad in September for the Starlink 4-34 mission. 11. Static fire attempt September. Year 10 was interrupted by a severe storm at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.
The booster that flew Sunday night is designated B1067 in SpaceX’s reusable rocket inventory. The booster previously flew two astronaut missions to the International Space Station, plus two resupply flights to the station. It also put Turkey’s Turksat 5B communication satellite into orbit.
The first stage completed its sixth flight into space on Sunday night, culminating in SpaceX’s landing on a parked drone in the Atlantic Ocean.
With the Starlink 4-34 mission, SpaceX launched 3,347 Starlink internet satellites, including decommissioned prototypes and test units. Saturday’s launch was the 61st SpaceX mission, primarily dedicated to putting Starlink internet satellites into orbit.
At T-minus 35 minutes, SpaceX’s launch team, stationed inside the launch control center south of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station for the Sunday night countdown, began loading supercooled, condensed kerosene and liquid oxygen fuels into the Falcon 9 vehicle.
During the last half hour of the countdown, helium pressure also flowed into the rocket. In the final seven minutes of takeoff, the Falcon 9’s Merlin main engines were thermally conditioned for flight through a procedure known as “chilldown.” Falcon 9’s guidance and range safety system is also configured for launch.
After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket thrust 1.7 million pounds of thrust produced by nine Merlin engines in a northeasterly direction over the Atlantic Ocean.
The rocket exceeded the speed of sound for about a minute, then shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after liftoff. Launched from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, the booster stage then fired pulses from the cold gas thrusters and extended the ends of the titanium web to help propel the vehicle back into the atmosphere.
Two burns slowed the rocket to land on the Read Instructions drone about eight and a half minutes after liftoff.
Falcon 9’s reusable payload fairing was ejected during the second stage burn. The recovery craft was also on station in the Atlantic to remove the two halves of the nose cone after it jumped under parachutes.
Sunday’s mission’s first stage landing came minutes after the Falcon 9’s second stage engine cut off to deliver the Starlink satellites into orbit. The 54 Starlink spacecraft, built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, were confirmed to separate from the Falcon 9 rocket at T+plus 15 minutes and 21 seconds.
The capture rods, released from the Starlink payload stack, allow the flat-loaded satellites to fly freely from the Falcon 9’s upper stage in orbit. The 54 spacecraft will deploy their solar arrays and go through automated activation stages, then use krypton-fueled ion engines to maneuver into an operational orbit.
Falcon 9’s guidance computer aimed to place the satellites in an elliptical orbit with an inclination of 53.2 degrees to the equator. The satellites will use onboard propulsion to do the rest of the work to reach a circular orbit 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth.
Starlink satellites will fly in one of five orbital “shells” at different inclinations for SpaceX’s global internet network. Once in operational orbit, the satellites will enter commercial service and begin transmitting broadband signals to consumers who can purchase Starlink service and connect to the network through a SpaceX-supplied ground terminal.
ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1067.6)
DOWNLOADING: 54 Starlink satellites (Starlink 4-34)
STARTS PAGE: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida
START DATE: September 18, 2022
START TIME: 20:18:40 EDT (September 19 0018:40 GMT)
WEATHER FORECAST: 40% chance of fair weather; Low risk of upper level winds; Low risk of adverse conditions for booster recovery
ENHANCED RECOVERY: “Read the Instructions” drone east of Charleston, South Carolina
START AZIMUTH: North east
TARGET ORBIT: 144 miles by 208 miles (232 km x 336 km), 53.2 degree inclination
- T+00:00: Liftoff
- T+01:12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
- T+02:27: First stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
- T+02:31: Phase separation
- T+02:36: Second stage engine ignition
- T+02:42: Fairing jump
- T+06:48: First stage input ignition (three engines)
- T+07:07: First stage inlet burnout
- T+08:26: First stage landing ignition (one engine)
- T+08:40: Second stage engine shutdown (SECO 1)
- T+08:47: First stage landing
- T+15:21: Detachment of Starlink satellite
- The 176th launch of the Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
- The 184th launch of the Falcon missile family since 2006
- Release 6 of Falcon 9 booster B1067
- The 151st Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
- 97th Falcon 9 launch from pad 40
- 152nd release from pad 40 overall
- 118th flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
- 61st special Falcon 9 launch with Starlink satellites
- 42nd Falcon 9 launch of 2022
- 42nd launch by SpaceX in 2022
- 40th orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2022
Follow Stephen Clarke on Twitter: @StephenClark1.
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