SpaceX’s 13th Starling release comes just hours before the next ULA Delta IV heavy launch
SpaceX and ULA’s next launch efforts are coincidentally scheduled to take place within hours of each other for the second time this month.
On Thursday, September 17th, SpaceX’s thirteenth Starling – and 12th Starling V1.0 – launch dates appeared to have solidified earlier this week, pointing the T-0 to 2:17 pm EDT (UTC-4). Almost simultaneously, after a rare abortion Then Ignition of the engine, ETD is scheduled for September 18 before 12:30 a.m., the third launch attempt (NET) of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) fifth to last Delta IV heavy rocket.
Within 11 days of the launch of ULA’s second Delta IV heavy launch site, SpaceX successfully completed two orbital Falcon 9 launches, placing Argentina’s SAOCOM 1B Earth observation spacecraft and 60 new Starling satellites in orbit. Now that the ULA is working to fix the Delta Ivy Heavy for its third NROL-44 launch attempt, SpaceX is gearing up for its third release, the Starling-12.
Under the protection of Delta IV Heavy, the rocket was never designed with easy operation in mind, and it is very rarely launched, it is relatively natural to cultivate numerous launch pad and aircraft hardware issues during each missile campaign. SpaceX suffers from its own technical challenges and occasional launching delays, but as always the Falcon 9 should be a relatively simple and easily launched rocket. Thanks to its industry-leading launch site, the Falcon 9 and its two East Coast missiles Delta IV-style surprises have a rare amount of joint operational experience and optimization.
The Falcon 9 and heavy boosters are designed to be reusable, with the expectation that they will be fired at least twice before the first launch. Due to the wide range of design results, Delta IV rockets can only attempt mechanical ignition once before requiring major inspections, repairs and partial replacements. With three boosters, ULA’s NROL-44 Delta Ivy Heavy requires considerable work after ignition after being discontinued on August 29th.
At the moment, the distinct Falcon 9 rocket with the completely new block Starling satellites is fortunately ahead of the Delta IV Heavy, meaning it can launch SpaceX before it stumbles back due to additional ULA-side delays. According to Next space flight, The Falcon 9 booster P1058 is assigned to Starling-12, which marks a turn of 59 days since its last launch.
If the launch plan goes ahead and all 60 (some might be less if Mission RightShare payloads are included) new StarLank satellites are healthy, SpaceX could step out of a galaxy where two more Starlinks are ready to support its first public Internet service. Beta tests. The Starling V1.0L14 is currently scheduled to launch in October, meaning SpaceX could begin general beta testing in early November.
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