Don’t look up today. Look up and east tomorrow (Friday) for the next SpaceX launch.
Launch of the Falcon 9 rocket is slated for 4:18 p.m. at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch pad 39A. It was scheduled for Tuesday, then today, but SpaceX has settled on Friday afternoon and a 10-minute launch window.
According to the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is a 60 percent chance of favorable weather Friday afternoon for liftoff. The primary concern would be the presence of large cumulus clouds.
The launch would be the 10th one to send 60 Starlink satellites into orbit, part of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s foray into the broadband internet business. The satellites would provide internet connectivity to rural areas currently outside of service areas. Musk said he hopes to begin service to in North America near the end of the year.
Two BlackSky Earth observation microsatellites are also going along for the a ride on the Falcon 9 on Thursday (or whenever it launches) as part of the SpaceX rideshare program which offers a lower cost option for aerospace companies to reach orbit.
In July, things will get busy down the road a bit. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket is scheduled to launch NASA’s Perseverance rover to Mars on Wednesday, July 22 (moved from July 20) from Launch Complex 41. The spacecraft will explore the Jezero Crater to study the planet’s habitability, seek signs of past microbial life, collect and store samples of selected rock and soil and prepare for future human missions.
The rover also carries the Ingenuity helicopter, a technology demonstration to prove that powered flight can be achieved at Mars.