[Update: Payload deployment] SpaceX to launch their 4th and most likely final mission of May

May 26th, 3:46 p.m. EDT: SpaceX has deployed the 60 Starlink satellites that endured the ride to space this afternoon. This batch will finish up the first shell of satellites needed to provide high-speed internet around the globe.

Later today, SpaceX will attempt to launch another batch of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. This will be their 4th mission of May again tying their record for most launches in a calendar month.

Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2:59 PM EDT

Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9 (B1063-2)

Payload: 60 Starlink Satellites

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

Landing Site: ASDS Just Read The Instructions, Atlantic Ocean

The Rocket

Like all Starlink missions so far, Starlink V1.0 L28 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 118 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.

The Booster

This relatively new booster will launch on its second mission and its first for SpaceX. B1063’s first mission was for the European Space Agency launching Sentinal 6 into a polar orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base. SpaceX moved the booster over to the space coast and is now using it to fill their manifest full of Starlink missions.

B1063 landing at LZ-4 after launching Sentinel 6 Credit: SpaceX


The weather seems perfect for launch this afternoon with Space Launch Delta 45 giving the probability of 90% GO for launch. The report also reads no other additional risks and only a very slight chance of cumulus clouds scrubbing the launch. If you’re heading out to the launch today, there is a chance of a short rainfall as the coastal winds blow inland.

For the backup date of tomorrow, Delta 45 gives it an 80% probability of good weather with similar no additional risks.

May 26th, 3:46 p.m. EDT: The second engine restarted for a brief second to circulate the orbit before deploying the 60 Starlink Satellites.

May 26th, 3:09 p.m. EDT: Second Engine Cut Off or SECO has been called out. This is the shutdown of the single Merlin engine on the upper stage. The navigation officer confirmed a nominal orbit.

May 26th, 3:08 p.m. EDT: Landing confirmed! B1063 has landing on the droneship of Of Course I Still Love out in the Atlantic Ocean.

May 26th, 3:07 p.m. EDT: Entry burn shutdown.

May 26th, 3:06 p.m. EDT: The first stage has begun its entry burn. This burn slows down the speed of the booster during the most stressful point of reentry.

May 26th, 3:03 p.m. EDT: MECO! The booster has shut down its 9 Merlin engines. The second stage separated from the booster and then ignited its single vacuum optimized Merlin engine. The payload fairing covering the satellites also separated successfully, these will be recovered by SpaceX’s GO Searcher and GO Navigator vessels.

May 26th, 3:01 p.m. EDT: Max-Q! The Falcon 9 has just passed through the maximum point of aerodynamic pressure.

May 26th, 2:59 p.m. EDT: Liftoff of Starlink L28 from Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40!

May 26th, 2:29 p.m. EDT: The infamous “T-20 min vent” has begun meaning we are on track for today’s liftoff time. This vent is excess liquid oxygen being released from the Falcon 9’s fuel tanks.

May 26th, 2:26 p.m. EDT: Fueling operations have begun for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 rocket use RP-1 and liquid oxygen to fuel the 10 Merlin engines.

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