CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A record-setting launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites is scheduled for 9:56 a.m Eastern Standard Time on Monday, November 11, 2019, from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The 11-minute launch window closes at 10:02 a.m.
The latest forecast from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron gives an 80% chance of overall acceptable launch weather conditions.
Cumulus clouds are the primary weather concern on launch day.
For the first time, fairing halves recovered over the Atlantic Ocean from a previous SpaceX launch will be reused.
The original plan to catch the two fairing halves at sea after launch has been canceled.
A Falcon 9 core that was flown on three prior missions will be used again for the Starlink mission, setting a record for the most times a Falcon 9 engine core has been reused.
Following stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 Block 5 will attempt a landing on an autonomous drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The 60 Starlink satellites are part of a next-generation satellite network developed by SpaceX to provide the globe with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.
Each Starlink satellite weighs approximately 500 lbs. (227kg) and features a flat-panel design with multiple high-throughput antennas and a single solar array.
SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end-users with low latency, high bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit.
Starlink satellites feature Hall thrusters powered by krypton to adjust position on orbit, maintain intended altitude, and de-orbit.
A Hall thruster is a type of electric propulsion device that produces thrust by ionizing and accelerating a noble gas, usually xenon.
While producing comparatively low thrust relative to conventional rocket engines, Hall thrusters provide significantly greater specific impulse or fuel economy.
This results in increased payload carrying capacity and a greater number of on-orbit maneuvers for a spacecraft using Hall thrusters rather than traditional rocket engines.
Starlink satellites are capable of tracking on-orbit debris and autonomously avoiding a collision.
95 percent of all components of this Starlink satellite design will quickly burn in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of each satellite’s life-cycle which exceeds all current safety standards.