The Falcon 9 rocket booster that sent NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in May is set to get recycled again when SpaceX sends 60 more Starlink satellites to orbit atop its column of fire.
Elon Musk’s trademark reusable rocket will be making its third flight when it lifts off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. This specific unit sent astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to orbit in May and then launched a South Korean satellite in July. So far, SpaceX has managed to launch and land the same rocket up to six times.
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The launch was originally scheduled for earlier in the month, but has been postponed multiple times due to weather, including on Monday morning when heavy clouds above Cape Canaveral prevented launch at the last second. A scrub for the day was announced about 30 seconds before planned liftoff at 7:22 a.m. PT. A new target launch date has not yet been announced.
When it finally gets off the ground, it should be a fairly routine launch. It will be the 13th Starlink mission so far, and SpaceX is planning on dozens more as it grows its broadband mega-constellation.
One half of the nose cone, or fairing, atop the rocket has also seen two previous flights, both of them earlier Starlink missions.
SpaceX Starship prototype takes first ‘hop’
Following the launch and separation of the rocket’s second stage and payload, the first-stage booster will again return to Earth to land on a droneship in the Atlantic.
SpaceX will stream the entire thing, starting at about 10 minutes before launch. When a new launch date is announced, we’ll update this post and you can also plan to watch here via the feed below.