The upgraded SpaceX drone supports the Falcon 9’s next Starling launch and landing in the Atlantic Ocean at approximately 630 kilometers (~ 390 miles).
This year alone marks SpaceX ‘s 11th Starling launch, the 12th operational (V1.0) launch and the 13th Starling launch in total, representing about 700 operational satellites in orbit. According to an interview with SpaceX COO and President Quinn Shotwell in May 2020, those general beta tests could begin shortly after the completion of 14 Starling launches, while the latest FCC filing shows that VX0 is only considering satellites as part of the SpaceX action galaxy. In other words, if successful, the public Internet service will leave Starling-12 SpaceX two large distances from two galaxies to begin beta tests.
Meanwhile, the Falcon 9 rocket assigned to the mission will break SpaceX’s booster reuse breakthrough record – set in 51 days between launches of the same booster currently assigned to Starling-12.
The SpaceX rocket, known as the Falcon Booster 9B1058, became the first American vehicle to launch astronauts since 2011, sending NASA astronauts Bob Behanken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. After a successful launch on May 30, the spacecraft arrived with ISS about two days later and spent more than two months in orbit before returning to Earth in early August.
Meanwhile, Booster P1058 was busy, and the spacecraft it launched was placed in orbit at its speed. On July 20, the rocket crushed SpaceX’s breakthrough record when it launched South Korea’s Anasis II communications satellite, 51 days after supporting Crew Dragon ‘s initial space launch. That 51-day breakthrough broke SpaceX’s previous record of 62 days, making it the fastest reusable orbit-class rocket ever built by NASA’s spacecraft.
For now, the Falcon 9B1058 Starling-12 (NET) is scheduled to launch on Thursday, September 17th at 2:17 pm ETD (UTC). Excluding delays, this marks a 59-day turn from Booster’s record-breaking second start. With the launch of the Starling-12 by September 19th, the P1058 will boast of both the first and second turning points of the SpaceX, and will technically fly three times in ~ 110 days.
After Starling-12, SpaceX aims to launch the Starling-13 in late September and plans to launch its third U.S. military GPS III launch – the new Falcon 9 Booster B1062 – which will be available before September 30 (NET). Not at all. Although not possible, if everything is on schedule, September 2020 could be the first four release months in SpaceX history.
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