SpaceX continues its march to 100 launches in one year

Late Saturday night, a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station with 23 other Starlink satellites delivered to orbit.

The launch took place at 11:00 PM ET (04:00 UTC), to continue construction of the Group 6 Starlink shell with this mission being Group 6-31.

Twenty-three small Starlink V2 spacecraft were inserted into a 43-degree orbital inclination, the same as previous Group 6 missions. The satellites separated from the second stage just over an hour after launch.

This was the 89th orbital mission of the year for SpaceX as it looks to stay on track to reach 100 launches in one year, and with the majority of launches coming from SLC-40, the average response time between launches was slightly lower. From 5 days ago SpaceX teams work to increase capabilities to enable a rapid back-to-back launch cadence.

Looking ahead to the rest of the month, there are currently five more SpaceX launches scheduled for December 14, including Falcon Heavy from LC-39A. After December 14, there may be a chance of at least eight more launches if schedules can be maintained, however, they are not fixed, and various delays may arise from weather to technical issues, a few of which may be delayed into the new year.

Returning to the launch that took place this weekend, the Falcon 9 rocket assigned to this mission is Booster 1078, which flew for the sixth time. B1078 took a little longer, as its sixth flight had last flown 78 days earlier. The average time to outfit boosters has hovered around 45 days with some exceptions such as Falcon Heavy side cores or Falcons assigned to crew missions.

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B1078 made a successful landing on the “A Shortfall of Gravitas” drone about eight and a half minutes after launch, and as usual, SpaceX will attempt to recover the payload’s fairings for use on another mission.

SpaceX is next scheduled to launch two Starlink launches, one from Florida no later than December 6 and one from California no later than December 8, followed by the Falcon Heavy launch currently scheduled for December 10 after a slight delay.

Questions or comments? Email me at [email protected], or tweet me @RDAnglePhoto.

SpaceX continues its march to 100 launches in one year






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