SpaceX set to launch 53 more Starlink internet satellites – Spaceflight Now

Live coverage of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Starlink 4-19 mission launched SpaceX’s next batch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites. Follow us on Twitter.

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SpaceX plans to launch a reusable Falcon 9 booster for a record-breaking 13th time Friday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, hauling 53 more Starlink internet satellites into orbit. Liftoff from pad 39A is set for 12:08 p.m. EDT (1608 GMT).

The Falcon 9 will head northeast from Kennedy to deliver the flat-packed broadband relay stations to an orbit ranging between 144 miles and 209 miles in altitude (232-by-337 kilometers). Deployment of the 53 flat-packed satellites from the Falcon 9’s upper stage is expected about 15 minutes after liftoff.

The launch will kick off a busy weekend for SpaceX, with two more Falcon 9 flights on tap Saturday and Sunday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, then from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, a few miles south of the Kennedy Space Center.

With Friday’s mission, SpaceX will have launched 2,706 Starlink internet satellites, including prototypes and test units no longer in service, nearly an order of magnitude more spacecraft than any other spacecraft fleet. The launch Friday will mark the 48th SpaceX mission primarily dedicated to hauling Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

Stationed inside a firing room at Kennedy’s launch control center, SpaceX’s launch team will begin loading super-chilled, densified kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 vehicle at T-minus 35 minutes Friday.

Helium pressurant will also flow into the rocket in the last half-hour of the countdown. In the final seven minutes before liftoff, the Falcon 9’s Merlin main engines will be thermally conditioned for flight through a procedure known as…

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