SpaceX has set a date to try again for the launch of its constellation of Internet satellites, signaling the beginning of its entrance into the telecommunications industry.
The next launch attempt is set for Thursday, SpaceX tweeted, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 40. The Air Force’s 45th Space Wing confirmed that the launch window is from 10:30 p.m. to midnight, with a backup date on Friday in case the Falcon 9 rocket doesn’t lift off Thursday.
Now targeting May 23 for launch of Starlink from Pad 40 in Florida
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 20, 2019
Weather is looking 90 percent favorable for Thursday, with the primary concern being surface winds, according to the 45th Weather Squadron. For Friday, conditions are even better with a “spectacular day” expected on the Space Coast, the squadron said.
Elon Musk’s rocket company scrubbed its first attempt at a launch Wednesday due to high upper-level winds. Then, hours before the launch window was set to open for a second attempt Thursday evening, the company chose to postpone to this week.
“Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again,” the company said. “Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success.”
Musk said on a call with reporters last week that the launch of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation is one of the most challenging engineering feats he’s witnessed. The company is planning to launch as many as 12,000 satellites to low-Earth orbit, beginning with this first batch of 60 satellites.
But Musk has repeatedly cautioned everything may not go perfectly smoothly on the first attempt.
“There is a lot of [new] technology — this is very hard,” Musk said.
Ultimately, he hopes the Starlink constellation will be able to provide high-speed Internet service to even the most remote parts of the globe.
“This would provide connectivity for people who either don’t have any connectivity today or where it’s extremely expensive,” Musk said.
© 2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
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