Batch Starlink Internet Satellites Take Shape for Florida Launch

While SpaceX’s next squadron mission awaits launch just offshore, another Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral on Thursday, carrying another cluster of 53 Starlink internet satellites to a deployment orbit nearly 200 miles above Earth.

SpaceX’s launch crew at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station began rolling the Falcon 9 from its hangar to pad 40 on Wednesday, then landed the 70-foot-tall spacecraft that evening.

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The launch is scheduled for Thursday at 11:14 a.m. EDT (1514 GMT) to kick off the 42nd release of SpaceX, which will primarily put satellites into orbit for the privately funded Starlink network connection.

According to the US Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, there is a 70% chance of favorable weather for release Thursday morning. The biggest concern for the weather for Thursday is surface winds from the east, expected to flutter up to 22 miles per hour at Cape Canaveral.

The Starlink 4-14 mission will be SpaceX’s 15th Falcon 9 launch of the year and the 149th flight of a spacecraft since the workhorse launcher’s debut on June 4, 2010. The Falcon 9 will take off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the northeast, floating through the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean. At full power, the rocket’s nine Merlin 1D engines will generate approximately 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

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The Starlink 4-14 mission will be accompanied by the flight of another Falcon 9 rocket, currently on pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a few miles north of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX plans to launch up to 42,000 internet satellites. The final figure is determined by the market demand for the Starlink service, which offers excellent connectivity with low latency.

COVER IMAGE: SPACEX

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