[Update: Launched] SpaceX continues to push reuse records by launching another life leading booster

May 15th, 7:35 PM EDT: SpaceX successfully launched and deployed all payloads on the Starlink V.10 L26 mission.


Earlier this week we saw the first 10th flown booster take off from Cape Canaveral, finally hitting the milestone Elon Musk set out. This week another high flight number booster will take off with more Starlink Satellites.

Date: Saturday, May 15th, 6:58 PM EDT

Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9 (B1058-8)

Payload: 52 Starlink Satellites, Tyvak-0130, and Capella SAR satellite

Launch Pad: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center

Landing Site: ASDS Of Course I Still Love You, Atlantic Ocean

The Rocket

Like all Starlink missions so far, Starlink V1.0 L26 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 it first launched in 2010, the Falcon 9 has launched 117 missions with a 98% success rate.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, referred to as “the booster”, is able to land vertically on either land or on a barge in the ocean after its missions. This allows for cheaper access to space, increased reliability, and quicker turnarounds. SpaceX has successfully landed 78 out of the 80 attempted landings of Falcon 9 boosters.

The Booster

The historic Falcon 9 booster B1058 first launched last year carrying SpaceX’s DM-2 mission, their first crewed flight. This flight certified SpaceX to begin operational crewed flights to the International Space Station. Since that flight, it has launched 2 commercial flights (including the first SpaceX rideshare mission), 1 NASA Commercial Resupply mission, and 3 Starlink missions. All while sporting the iconic NASA Worm logo, the only booster to have it.

B1058 in Port Canaveral with NASA Worm logo visible. Credit: Zac Hall for Space Explored

The Weather

The most recent update from Delta 45 for Saturday’s launch shows similar conditions from yesterday’s report. The weather has a probability of 70% to be GO for launch with the concerns being liftoff winds and cumulus clouds. Isolated showers are probable but unlikely to affect the launch. There is now a moderate concern for booster recovery weather, this is a factor that teams will wait till later in the countdown to determine if it is an issue.

For Sunday’s backup attempt, the weather has improved slightly. It is now showing an 80% probability of GO for launch with similar concerns as Saturday. Booster recovery weather for Sunday seems to be back at a low-risk level.

Featured image by Jared Base for Space Explored.

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