CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites is scheduled for 9:19 p.m Eastern Standard Time on Monday, January 6, 2020, from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The launch was pushed back from Friday due to weather.
According to the latest forecast from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is a 90% chance of favorable weather for the launch at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The primary weather concern for launch is cumulus clouds.
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.