SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites on 100th Successful Mission

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 on Saturday, completing the company’s 100th successful launch since the first successful Falcon 1 launch in September 2008.

The 15th dedicated Starlink flight brought to the number of constellation satellites launched to 895. A number of satellites have been deorbited or failed.

Falcon 9 lifted off at 11:31 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Launching for the third time, Falcon 9’s first stage touched down on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The stage previously flew for the GPS III 03 mission in June 2020 and a Starlink mission in September 2020. 

Starlink is designed to provide fast broadband service across the globe. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given Elon Musk’s company permission to launch nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites. SpaceX has applied to raise that number by 30,000 to 42,000.

The company has been conducting a private beta test of the Starlink constellation. Musk has said SpaceX will begin a public beta test soon.

SpaceX Wins License to Operate Starlink in Canada

SpaceX has received a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) license from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to offer its Starlink satellite broadband service north of the border.

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Microsoft’s Azure Space Partners with SpaceX, SES, Viasat and Others

Credit: Microsoft

SEATTLE (Microsoft PR) — Microsoft is moving into the final frontier with Azure Space, a new initiative that will deliver innovation to serve the mission needs of the space industry, and collaborating with industry leaders to bring new and enhanced offerings to organizations across the public and private sector.

As barriers to space access fall, organizations across a multitude of industries are taking advantage of the opportunities that satellites and other space technologies can offer for endeavors such as earth observation and global satellite communications. This creates rich opportunities as well as challenges.

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SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Broadband Service Nears Public Beta

60 Starlink satellites begin to separate after deployment from the Falcon 9 second stage. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the company is close to public beta testing on its Starlink satellite broadband service after the launch of 60 additional satellites aboard a Falcon 9 booster on Tuesday.

“We will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta [service] in northern US and hopefully southern Canada,” he tweeted. “Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval.”

The satellites launched this week will first need time to reach their operational locations. Smallsat News reports:

Normally it would take about 2-3 weeks following launch to place a flight of satellites into their designated positions.

Musk’s SpaceX rockets have launched around 775 satellites into orbit and is expected to place another 60 into orbit before the end of October. However, a batch of satellites launched in May 2019 have been deliberately de-orbited. SpaceX has yet to give a reason for the de-orbiting.

Spaceflight analyst Jonathan McDowell says that 39 satellites were de-orbited from that May 2019 launch.

SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, raising the number of spacecraft launched for the broadband Internet constellation to 775.

The successful flight followed three scrubs, two for bad weather and the other due to a ground sensor issue.

Falcon 9’s first stage successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship. The booster previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts onboard and the ANASIS-II mission. It was the 43rd flight with a reused first stage.

Ms. Tree recovering boat captured a fairing half that was used in two previous launches.

Constellationizing Space: Chinese Company Seeks Approval to Launch Nearly 13,000 Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Larry Press reports a Chinese company named GW has filed for spectrum allocation from the International Telecommunication Union for two broadband constellations called GW-A59 and GW-2 that would include 12,992 satellites.

The size of GW’s request indicates to Press that the company would compete globally with broadband constellations being built by SpaceX, OneWeb and Amazon. He wrote:

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SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9 Launch Due to Weather

SpaceX scrubbed the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Monday morning due to weather violations on the Eastern Test Range.

SpaceX said it will attempt another launch tomorrow at 7:29 a.m. EDT. The weather forecast is 70 percent favorable for liftoff.

SpaceX will begin its launch webcast about 15 minutes before scheduled take off.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch of Starlink Satellites Scheduled for Monday

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Monday, October 5 at 7:51 a.m. EDT, 11:51 UTC, for its thirteenth Starlink mission, which will launch 60 Starlink satellites to orbit. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts onboard and the ANASIS-II mission. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. One of Falcon 9’s fairing halves supported two previous Starlink launches.

The Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff.  You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. If you would like to receive updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area, please visit starlink.com.

Antares Flies, Falcon 9 Stays

An Antares rocket lifts off with the Cygnus resupply ship on Oct. 2, 2020. (Credit: NASA)

Update: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted the Falcon 9 launch was aborted due to an “nexpected pressure rise in the turbomachinery gas generator. No word on when they will try launching again.

A Cygnus resupply ship carrying nearly 8,000 lb of cargo for astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) was blasted into orbit by an Antares rocket on Friday night.

The Northrop Grumman booster lifted off on time at 9:16 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island in Virginia. The flight followed a scrubbed launch on Thursday due to a software problem with ground equipment.

Cygnus, which is also a Northrop Grumman vehicle, is scheduled to arrive at the ISS early Monday morning.

Results were not as good on Friday night for SpaceX, which suffered its second Falcon 9 abort of the week in Florida. The countdown from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was halted two seconds prior to a planned 9:43 p.m. EDT liftoff for an unknown reason.

The rocket is carrying the GPS IIII SV-04 navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System.

On Thursday morning, the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink broadband satellites from nearby Kennedy Space Center was halted with 18 seconds left in the count due to an out family reading from a ground sensor.

Antares Scrub Makes It Three in a Row

Antares on the launch pad. (Credit: NASA webcast)

Ground sensors leave rockets stuck on Earth

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — A Northrop Grumman rocket carrying supplies for astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) failed to get off the launch pad in Virginia on Thursday evening, marking the third scrubbed American launch in less than 24 hours.

A computer called an automatic halt to the launch of the Antares booster at 2 minutes 40 seconds before the planned liftoff at 9:43 p.m. EDT. The rocket is carrying a Cygnus resupply ship with cargo bound for ISS.

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Sensors Result in Delta IV Heavy, Falcon 9 Launch Scrubs

Launches of Delta IV Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets from Florida’s Space Coast were aborted with only seconds to go before liftoff less than 10 hours apart.

The countdown of an United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy was stopped 7 seconds before a planned 11:54 p.m. launch on Wednesday after a sensor detected an unidentified fault. Crews safed the vehicle on its launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The massive rocket is carrying the NROL-44 spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. ULA has not set a new launch date.

It was the sixth scrub or launch delay for the ULA booster since Aug. 27. Five of the delays occurred due to technical problems, the other resulted from weather.

Less than 10 hours later, an “out of family” ground sensor aborted the countdown of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center only 18 seconds before a planned 9:17 a.m. EDT liftoff.

The booster is carrying 60 spacecraft for the company’s Starlink satellite broadband constellation. SpaceX has not announced a new launch date for the flight.

Three U.S. Launches Scheduled This Week

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Tuesday, September 29

Launcher: Delta IV Heavy
Payload: NROL-44 reconnaissance satellite
Launch Time: 12:02 a.m. EDT (0402 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Company: United Launch Alliance
Webcast: www.ulalaunch.com

Launcher: Falcon 9
Payload: GPS 3 SV04 navigation satellite
Launch Window: 9:55-10:10 p.m. EDT (0155-0210 GMT on Sept. 30th)
Launch Site:
 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Company: SpaceX
Webcast: www.spacex.com

October 1

Launcher: Antares
Payload: Cygnus ISS resupply ship
Launch Time: 9:38 p.m. EDT (0138 GMT on Oct. 2)
Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility, Va.
Company: Northrop Grumman
Webcast: http://nasa.gov/ntv

TBA

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payloads: 60 Starlink satellite broadband spacecraft
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

The launch was scrubbed on Monday due to weather constraints. SpaceX has not announced a new date yet.

Five Launches Scheduled Over Three Days

Falcon 9 payload shroud. (Credit: SpaceX)

Things are about to get very busy, with four American launches and a Russian one planned over a three-day period beginning on Sunday, Sept. 27.

Here’s the schedule as it stands now. Schedule subject to change without notice. Wagering strictly under penalty of law.

Sunday, September 27

Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Payload: NROL-44 reconnaissance satellite
Time: 12:10 a.m. EDT (1610 GMT)
Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.ulalaunch.com

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payloads: 60 Starlink satellite broadband spacecraft
Time: 10:43 a.m. EDT (1443 GMT)
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Monday, September 28

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payloads: 3 Gonets M communications satellites plus rideshares
Time: 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT)
Location:
Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia

Tuesday, September 29

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: GPS 3 SV04 navigation satellite
Time: 9:55 p.m. (0155 GMT)
Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Launch Vehicle: Antares
Payload: NG-14 — Cygnus International Space Station resupply ship
Time: 10:27 p.m. EDT (0227 GMT on Sept. 30)
Location:
Wallops Island, Va.
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Legendary Ventures Invests in SpaceX Starlink Constellation

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 22, 2020 (Legendary Ventures PR) — Legendary Ventures announced today an investment in Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (“SpaceX”) through its Series N funding round.

Founded by Elon Musk, SpaceX is an aviation and aerospace company that designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecrafts, including the Starlink satellite constellation.

With this investment, Legendary Ventures continues to execute its strategy of investing in consumer, retail and technology companies, including businesses with enterprise values ranging between $1 billion and $100 billion (USD).

“We are honored to be a part of the SpaceX effort to usher in a new era of space exploration, telecommunications, and travel,” says Jayson Kim, General Partner of Legendary Ventures.

About Legendary Ventures

Legendary Ventures is a venture capital firm that accelerates value creation for early-stage startups in the consumer, retail and technology industries. For more information about the firm or its funds, visit  https://legendary.vc