After a three-month halt in orbital launches for SpaceX, the company has begun making a return to launch action, this time for a second dedicated Starlink Internet satellite mission. The Falcon 9 booster that will be used for this mission – estimated to be flight-proven core B1048.4 – was quickly static fired on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida earlier today.
(Lead Image via Stephen Marr – click for video)
The next batch of Starlink satellites are slated to launch no earlier than Monday, November 11 at around 10 a.m. Eastern time (14:00 UTC). This will be SpaceX’s 11th launch of the year, the 9th flight of the Falcon 9 in 2019, and the 76th Falcon 9 mission (but 75th flight) in total.
The static fire test was a critical dress rehearsal of almost all the activities that will take place on launch day, so as to ensure that the rocket, ground systems, flight controllers, and the range are ready for the countdown and launch.
Before the test occurred, SpaceX pad engineers rolled the launch vehicle – without the fairing and payload – out of the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) and to the ...