SpaceX’s eighth Starlink mission this year is only a few days away from the launch. After the same launch time was postponed from June to July, this may be a record month.
Now, July has become the latest candidate for this milestone, instead of June 2020 may become SpaceX’s fourth launch month. Called Starlink V1 L9 or Starlink-9, SpaceX’s second Starlink ride-sharing-carrying 57 Starlink satellites and two BlackSky Earth imaging spacecraft-is scheduled for July 8th (Wednesday) at noon Eastern Time ( UTC) before launching. . If the timetable remains the same, this means that Starlink-9 will fly eight days after SpaceX successfully launched the third US military GPS III satellite on June 30.
In other words, SpaceX exchanged GPS III SV03 and Starlink-9 launch orders from NET from June 30 and June 22 to June 30 and July 8, respectively, eight days apart. The reason why the fast pace of the East Coast launch is possible is because SpaceX uses separate launch pads LC-40 and LC-39A, which are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base (CCAFS) and the Kennedy Space Center. A few miles.
Just a few weeks ago, SpaceX’s single-pad turn record was a few hours less than 10 days and was obtained by back-to-back Starlink launch on the LC-40. The simultaneous use of Pad 39A and LC-40 means that post-launch refurbishment does not have to limit SpaceX’s turnaround ability, although it does limit the overall launch rhythm SpaceX can achieve. It is unknown how much of the workforce of SpaceX’s LC-40 and Pad 39A is shared, so in practice the turnover limit for multi-pad launches may not be so obvious, but SpaceX is only technically separated from Florida and California twice or twice Launch pad.
In addition to the LC-40’s pad turnover record, SpaceX’s Florida turnover record was also set a few weeks ago, when the company successfully launched two NASA astronauts (Pad 39A) and 60 Starlink satellites (LC-40), Less than five days apart. In theory, if SpaceX can complete the flipping of two launch pads in just 10 days, the company can maintain a five-day launch rhythm indefinitely, and it can carry out more than 70 launches per year.
However, this level of startup activity is still far away. At present, SpaceX has not launched four times a month (or about 30 days) since its first flight in 2006. Given that very few rockets in history can claim that they have reached the same milestone, this is no harm to us, but if the company wants to launch thousands of Starlink satellites quickly, a high launch rhythm is crucial made of. Before Starlink-9 slips from June 22 to July 8, it is likely that June 2020 will be the company’s fourth release month.
Now, this opportunity has been handed over to July. As of now, SpaceX has planned four launches this month, one of which is temporary. The target of Starlink-9 is relatively stable on July 8 relative to the target of PadA 39A, followed by South Korea’s ANASIS II military communications satellite NET at LC-40 on July 14. Eventually, Argentine radar satellites SAOCOM 1B and SpaceX’s own Starlink-10 missions can be launched a few days apart, using Pad 39A and LC-40 again. SAOCOM 1B can easily slip into August or even longer, because the mission was initially postponed by the coronavirus pandemic on March 30, and the epidemic is not over yet.
SpaceX has changed from a zero chance of four launch months to two back-to-back facts, which shows that even if it did not happen in July 2020, this milestone is close at hand.
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