(CTN News) – SpaceX has announced a delay in the launch of 21 new Starlink satellites scheduled for Tuesday, August 22, citing the effects of Hurricane Hilary in the Pacific Ocean.
The launch, which was originally set for Thursday, August 17, has already been postponed by one day prior to this latest delay. The hurricane’s impact on recovery operations has forced an additional four-day delay in the launch schedule.
The Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Starlink spacecraft, is now slated to take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Tuesday at 2:04 a.m. EDT (0604 GMT; 11:04 p.m. local California time on Aug. 21).
The delay is due to concerns about the safety of recovery operations in the Pacific Ocean, where SpaceX typically lands its first-stage Falcon 9 boosters on a drone ship approximately 8 minutes after launch.
Hurricane Hilary, classified as a powerful category 4 storm, is located about 400 miles (640 kilometers) south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It is forecasted to move towards the west coast of Baja Mexico and potentially reach Southern California by Sunday night, August 20.
The live broadcast of the Starlink launch will be available on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, as well as directly through SpaceX’s channels. Coverage is set to begin five minutes before the scheduled launch time.
Assuming weather conditions permit, the Falcon 9’s first stage is expected to return to Earth on Tuesday morning, landing on the SpaceX drone ship named “Of Course I Still Love You” approximately 8.5 minutes after liftoff. This launch will mark the 15th successful launch and landing for this particular booster, a significant milestone for SpaceX’s reusability efforts.
Originally intended to occur on August 17, this mission was initially planned as part of a Starlink doubleheader. SpaceX launched 22 broadband satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on August 16.
However, the company rescheduled the planned launch to the current date due to the predicted impact of Hurricane Hilary on rocket recovery operations.
SpaceX has already launched nearly 5,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), with plans for an extensive satellite network.
The company has obtained permission to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites in LEO and has applied for international regulatory approval to launch an additional 30,000 spacecraft, reflecting SpaceX’s ambitious plans for expanding global internet coverage.
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