Launch Thread: Starlink launches to return to Florida coast for new orbital shells [Update: Successful launch]

It has been a busy week for SpaceX, with Crew-2 returning Monday and Crew-3 launching Wednesday. Now the company will launch its first Starlink mission from Florida since last May. SpaceX will launch 53 Starlink satellites into a 560 km (about 350 miles) orbit on this mission. The fourth shell will have 360 Starlink satellites in total.

SpaceX successfully launched and deployed its 53 Starlink satellites early Saturday morning.

Date: Saturday, November 13, 7:19 a.m. EST

Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9 (B1058-9)

Payload: 53 Starlink satellites

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

Landing Site: Just Read The Instructions, Atlantic Ocean

The Rocket

SpaceX will be launching the next Starlink mission on their workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9. Nine Merlin engines power the first stage and a single vacuum optimized Merlin engine on the second stage. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first took flight in 2010 and has since become a workhorse for private, scientific, and defense payloads to orbit. In total, the Falcon 9 has launched 127 times and has a 98% success rate.

The Booster

Starlink Group 4-1 will launch on the iconic booster 1058, which first launched in May 2020 on the historic DM-2 mission. This mission was the first crewed flight for SpaceX and the return to crewed launches from the Florida coast since the Space Shuttle’s retirement in 2011. Unique to this booster is the NASA Worm logo painted on the side. Post-DM-2, SpaceX painted the logo on the non-reusable second stage.

Since that launch, B1058 made a single non-NASA/SpaceX mission for the South Korean military. After some suspected backlash of having a rocket with the NASA logo launch a military payload, the booster has only launched NASA and Starlink payloads since. Starlink 4-1 will be the booster’s ninth launch putting it in an exclusive but slowly growing club of life leading first stages.

Like all SpaceX launches, the company will provide a well-produced and informative live stream about the mission. SpaceX prides itself in including and educating the general public with these streams. In return, they have become the most popular and sought-after rocket companies to work for. You can find SpaceX’s stream on its website, YouTube channel, and social media pages.

SpaceX launch weather

Since weather delayed today’s launch attempt we now have another report for SpaceX’s Starlink Group 4-1. Weather shouldn’t be an issue for tomorrow as Space Luanch Delta 45 gives SpaceX a 90% chance of good weather. We also see no additional concerns show up more than “low.”

This seems like it’s as good as it gets, which most of the time it is, but if somehow we delay back to Sunday the forecast improves to >90%. As long as no issue arises with this mission’s payloads or the rocket, weather should be of no concern this weekend.

  • November 12 (L-1 day) weather report
    • 90% potential GO
    • No additional risk criteria
  • Launched delayed until November 13 due to poor weather conditions.
  • November 11 (L-1 day) weather report
    • 60% potential GO
    • No additional risk criteria

Featured Image: Jared Locke / Space Explored

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