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SpaceX successful with booster replacement on Starlink mission

Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Science & Technology News

SpaceX was back at the launch pad Sunday with an updated rocket to finish off a Starlink mission it tried to send up earlier this month.

A Falcon 9 on the Starlink 10-2 mission lifted off at 1:15 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 amid cloudy skies with 22 more Starlink satellites for the company’s growing internet constellation that now numbers more than 6,100 satellites in orbit.

The launch came nine days since SpaceX last attempted to knock out the mission on June 14. That attempt had a rare scrub as the countdown clock reached 0 and the rocket was ultimately brought back from the pad to allow for last week’s ASTRA 1P satellite launch to go up instead.

But the Starlink satellites returned to the pad, this time with a new first-stage booster, which flew for the 11th time and made another recovery landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas downrange in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX did not reveal what was wrong with the original booster that was trying to fly for the 16th time.

The company has reflown boosters now 292 times, including four that have managed more than 20 missions each.

 

The launch marked the 46th from the Space Coast for the year, with all but three coming from SpaceX.

The next launch is slated for Tuesday when SpaceX plans to send up its first Falcon Heavy of the year from neighboring Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A. That powerhouse rocket is flying the GOES-U weather satellite for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with a planned liftoff at 5:16 p.m. at the opening a two-hour window.

Space Launch Delta 45’s weather squadron, though, forecasts only be a 30% for good launch conditions on both Tuesday and the backup window on Wednesday.

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