[Update: Launched!] SpaceX to send another 60 Starlink satellites to space on top of an iconic booster

SpaceX’s Starlink internet constellation is growing every month with the California-based aerospace company launching between 2 and 3 batches of Starlink satellites each month, the next for this month coming in the next couple of days.

Date: Thursday, March 11th, 3:13 AM Est

Rocket: SpaceX’s Falcon 9

Payload: 60 Starlink Satellites

Launch Pad: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

Landing Site: Just Read The Instructions, Atlantic Ocean

The Rocket

Like all Starlink missions so far, Starlink L20 will launch on top of a Falcon 9 rocket powered by 9 Merlin engines on the first stage and a single vacuum optimized Merlin on the second stage. The workhorse for SpaceX since its first launch in 2010 it has launched 109 missions with a 98% success rate.

The Booster

This booster, B1058, is a historic booster, first launched in May of 2020 carrying Dragon Endeavour with  Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board for the Demo-2 mission. It sports the iconic NASA Worm logo along its side. Making it the only SpaceX booster to do so since starting with Crew-1 the Worm logo is now painted onto the second stage which is not recovered.

This will be the booster’s 6th flight, its most recent launching back on January 20, 2020 for the Transporter-1 rideshare mission.

Weather

The current weather report from the 45th Space Wing has brought the chance of weather being GO for launch back up to 90% for tonight’s launch attempt. The concerns for violation are still the same, with primary issues being winds at liftoff and cumulus clouds. For the 24-hour delay launch attempt, concerns remain the same but the chance of weather being GO is lower at 80%.

Terminal Count Updates

Tuesday, March 9th, 7:48 PM: SpaceX pushed back the launch time to early Thursday morning for “additional time for pre-launch checks”.

Tuesday, March 11th, 3:14 AM: Liftoff!

https://spaceexplored.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2021/03/SpaceX_Falcon9_Starlink17_Liftoff.mp4
Credit: SpaceX

Tuesday, March 11th, 3:23 AM: Falcon 9 booster B1058 landed on the SpaceX droneship Just Read The Instructions for the 6th time.

https://spaceexplored.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2021/03/SpaceX_Falcon9_Starlink17_JRTI_Landing.mp4
Credit: SpaceX

Thursday, March 11th, 4:19 AM: SpaceX’s 60 Starlink satellites have been deployed.

https://spaceexplored.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2021/03/SpaceX_Falcon9_Starlink17_Deployment.mp4
Credit: SpaceX

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