SpaceX: Over 500,000 orders for Starlink satellite internet service received to date

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CNBC 04 May, 2021 - 04:38pm 13 views

Barring delays, SpaceX appears to be on track to launch a batch of 60 Starlink satellites and perform a fifth high-altitude Starship flight test mere hours apart on Tuesday, May 4th.

Around 1am on May 3rd, SpaceX completed a successful wet dress rehearsal (WDR) and static fire test with Falcon 9 booster B1049, an expendable upper stage, and the latest stack of Starlink satellites. Around eight hours later, as per usual, SpaceX confirmed via social media that the test was a success and that its 25th operational Starlink mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than 3:01 pm EDT (19:01 UTC) on Tuesday, May 4th.

Simultaneously, after a handful of delays, SpaceX also appears to be on track to attempt the first launch of a Starship with “hundreds of improvements” sometime between ~1pm and ~8pm CDT (18:00-01:00 UTC) on the same Tuesday.

Targeting Tuesday, May 4 at 3:01 p.m. EDT for Falcon 9 launch of 60 Starlink satellites from LC-39A in Florida, but team is keeping an eye on weather in the recovery area

F9/Starlink L25: SpaceX test fired a Falcon 9 first stage at KSC pad 39A at 1am EDT Monday; test appeared normal; we’ll await an update from SpaceX on test results and plans to launch another 60 Starlink internet satellites Tuesday pic.twitter.com/R1ZHPLZjZA

Starlink-25 will be SpaceX’s second daylight Falcon 9 launch in months – rare as of late due to arcane specifics of the constellation’s orbital mechanics. Aside from generally offering a much better view of the launch, Starlink-25’s 3:01 pm EDT launch target means that Falcon 9 and Starship SN15 could technically launch at the exact same time in Florida and Texas.

While it’s unlikely if SpaceX would actually allow truly simultaneous launches and unclear if such a thing is even possible, it is possible that SpaceX could launch Starship SN15 at some point in the ~50 minutes Starlink-25 will be quietly coasting in orbit. More likely, though, SpaceX will use Starship SN15’s eight-hour window and wait until Starlink-25 is complete unless some kind of encroaching weather system shrinks that window to a few hours.

That still means that Starlink-25 and Starship SN15 could launch less than six hours apart, though it’s far more likely that the experimental rocket prototype will suffer minor delays and grow that gap to a day or two. Additionally, SpaceX itself cautions that it’s “keeping an eye on weather in the [Starlink-25] recovery area,” meaning that conditions at sea could also delay the Starlink launch a day or two.

Ultimately, it looks likely that both rockets will launch before the week is out. Stay tuned to find out just how ‘back to back’ they’ll actually be.

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Updates: Watch SpaceX launch new batch of Starlink satellites from Florida

Florida Today 04 May, 2021 - 12:35pm

Watch live as SpaceX targets 3:01 p.m. ET Tuesday for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Watch live as SpaceX targets 3:01 p.m. ET Tuesday for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This afternoon's mission will include a drone ship landing in the Atlantic Ocean and marks the 26th to date for the internet constellation.

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