Monday, April 15

Starlink launch scrubs on eve of Starship’s third flight – Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready to support the Starlink 6-44 launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on March 13, 2024. Image: Spaceflight Now

Update 9:45 p.m. ET: Tonight’s Falcon 9 launch of 23 Starlink satellites scrubbed with about two minutes left in the countdown. Launch rescheduled for Thursday at 7:04 p.m. EDT (2304 UTC).

SpaceX is busily preparing for two missions from launchpads in both Florida and Texas. It’s poised to launch the third integrated flight test (IFT-3) of its Starship rocket Thursday morning, but in the meantime, it hopes to launch a batch of Starlink satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Liftoff of the Starlink 6-44 mission from Launch Complex 39A is set for no earlier than 9:25 p.m. ET on Wednesday (0125 UTC on Thursday). There are 23 satellites on board the Falcon 9 rocket, which will mark more than 6,000 Starlink satellites launched to date.

Spaceflight Now will have live coverage about an hour prior to liftoff.

The first stage booster supporting this mission, B1062, will be launching for a 19th time, tying it as the flight leader alongside B1058 and B1061. B1058 was destroyed during its voyage back to Port Canaveral.

B1062 previously launched two GPS satellites; Inspiration4 and the Ax-1 crewed flights; and 11 Starlink missions among its previous 18 launches.

About 8.5 minutes after liftoff, B1062 will land on the SpaceX droneship, ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas.’ This will be the 61st landing on ASOG as well as the 284th SpaceX booster landing to date.

Following this mission, SpaceX will have launched 26 times. This will also be the 49th orbital launch globally.

Starship on the horizon

While the Starlink mission is in work, SpaceX is also in the endgame of the Starship IFT-3 mission. Late Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a launch license for the flight from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in southern Texas. Read the supporting documents here.

The weather outlook for a Thursday morning launch, which is the current stated target date, may present a problem for a launch. In addition to fog around 7 a.m. CT (1200 UTC), it is also forecasted to be cloudy.

SpaceX has multiple backup dates for launch attempts, which currently extend through Monday, March 18.