The Falcon 9 rocket booster that sent NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in May gets recycled again Friday when SpaceX plans to send 60 Starlink satellites to orbit atop its column of fire.
Elon Musk’s trademark reusable rocket will be making its third flight when it lifts off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 10:57 a.m. PT (1:57 p.m. ET). This specific unit sent astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to orbit in May and then launched a South Korean satellite in July. So far, SpaceX has managed to launch and land the same rocket up to six times.
The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday, but it got scrubbed and pushed back a day due to a “recovery issue.” It could be that SpaceX didn’t like the look of the weather in the Atlantic where the first stage and the fairing were set to be recovered.
Standing down from today’s Starlink launch due to recovery issue; vehicle and payload remain healthy. Next launch opportunity is tomorrow, September 18 at 1:57 p.m. EDT, but we are keeping an eye on weather
One half of the nose cone, or fairing, atop the rocket has also seen two previous flights, both of them earlier Starlink missions.
This should be a fairly routine launch. It will be the 13th Starlink mission so far, and SpaceX is ultimately planning on dozens more as it grows its broadband mega-constellation.
Following the launch and separation of the rocket’s second stage and payload, the first-stage booster will again return to Earth to land on a droneship in the Atlantic.
SpaceX will stream the entire thing via the feed above, starting at about 10 minutes before launch.
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World news – GB – How to watch SpaceX use its historic rocket to launch 60 more Starlink satellites Friday