SpaceX has been preparing to launch its CSG-2 mission for the Italian Space Agency for the last few days. Weather has delayed the launch from last Thursday to today, January 30. The delay also pushed back the launch of Starlink 4-7 to Monday. Additionally, SpaceX will be launching once again on Wednesday with NROL-87.
COSMO-SkyMed 2 (CSG-2) is set to launch from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on January 30 at 6:11 p.m. ET. The Falcon 9 will carry an Earth-observing satellite from the Italian Space Agency into a sun-synchronous orbit. It will join the initial CSG-1 satellite in orbit providing data to civilian and military customers. This mission will feature an RTLS landing, so those in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral can expect to hear sonic booms as the booster lands just a few minutes after launch.
Falcon Heavy booster finds a new life
The booster supporting this mission is B1052-3. This has never before flown on a Falcon 9 mission, having instead supported two Falcon Heavy flights as a side booster. The side-core flew on Arabsat 6A and STP-2. Because of its Falcon Heavy origin, the booster lacks the standard Falcon 9 logo seen high up on most boosters.
SpaceX continues to expand its Starlink satellite internet constellation. These launches have become rather routine at this point. SpaceX intends to launch a Falcon 9 rocket supporting Starlink 4-7 from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center at 2:17 p.m. ET on Monday, January 31. The launch will carry 49 more Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit.
Over 2,000 Starlink Satellites have been launched, though less than 1,900 are currently in orbit. Many of the earlier launched satellites were intentionally deorbited, along with other Starlink satellites that experienced issues.
On the opposite coast, SpaceX will be launching NROL-87 for the National Reconnaissance Office on Wednesday. The Falcon 9 will launch a classified payload from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on February 2, at 12:18 p.m. PT. This southern-trajectory mission will also feature an RTLS landing.