Change: SpaceX has efficiently static fired the Falcon 9 tasked with launching DART. The rocket will now roll back to SLC-4’s integration hangar for payload set up sooner than rolling out to the pad a 2d time.

NASA will intentionally atomize the DART spacecraft into an asteroid to seek if that’s an very ideal method to substitute its path, will also silent an Earth-threatening asteroid be found sometime

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2021

SpaceX has scheduled its subsequent East Flit Starlink originate ideal about a weeks after the most up to the moment as a clear Falcon 9 rocket prepares to originate NASA’s DART asteroid redirection demonstration mission.

On Tuesday, NASA confirmed that a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is heading in the appropriate path to originate the Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) spacecraft no sooner than (NET) 10: 21 pm PST on Tuesday, November 23rd (06: 21 UTC 24 Nov). Following the a hit originate of NASA and the European Direct Company’s (ESA) Sentinel 6A spacecraft in November 2020 and the fundamental originate of a paunchy batch of laser-linked Starlink satellites on September 14th, DART will seemingly be SpaceX’s third West Flit originate in ideal over 12 months and the fundamental time the firm has launched out of Vandenberg twice in 365 days since 2019.

Up subsequent, Spaceflight Now and originate photographer Ben Cooper no longer too lengthy ago confirmed that SpaceX has already scheduled its subsequent Starlink originate after a a hit mission on November 13th, aiming to ship one other batch of ~53 laser-linked satellites to orbit NET 1: 36am EST (06: 36 UTC), Wednesday, December 1st.

SpaceX’s subsequent launches:

• Nov. 24 — 1: 21am EST — Falcon 9 / DART

• Dec. 1 — 1: 36am EST — Falcon 9 / Starlink

• Dec. 9 — 1am EST — Falcon 9 / IXPE

• Dec. 18 — 10: 58pm EST — Falcon 9 / Turksat 5B

• Dec. 21 — 5: 06am EST — Falcon 9 / CRS-24


— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) November 18, 2021

Oddly, Spaceflight Now’s originate calendar indicates that SpaceX’s subsequent Starlink originate received’t aid most up to the moment confusion over the constellations mission naming blueprint. SpaceX’s most most up to the moment Starlink originate became as soon as deemed “Starlink 4-1,” which is printed below.

“In easy terms, the fundamental ~4400-satellite tv for computer segment of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation is split into 5 groups of satellites – identified as shells – with varied orbital altitudes and inclinations (the orbit’s tilt). In May well per chance well per chance also just, SpaceX’s most most up to the moment East Flit Starlink originate effectively carried out the fundamental of those 5 shells or groups. With Starlink V1.5’s September debut, SpaceX additionally debuted a brand recent naming blueprint, deeming the mission Starlink 2-1 – the fundamental originate of the 2d shell. Essentially based on the inclination implied in Starlink 4-1’s hazard warning, Shell 4 refers to a 2d community of 1584 satellites nearly identical to Shell 1, whereas Shell 2 is a semi-polar community of 720 satellites. Which method that Shells 3 and 5 are sets of either 340 or 158 satellites at rather varied altitudes in polar orbit and is commonly the closing Part 1 Starlink satellites SpaceX launches.” — November seventh, 2021

SpaceX’s subsequent Starlink originate, alternatively, is apparently named “Starlink 4-3,” implying that the firm has either skipped a originate or became as soon as pressured to swap the issue of two missions for unknown reasons (per chance the identical reason that Starlink 2-3 – itself leapfrogging 2-2 – became as soon as indefinitely delayed from an customary October originate target. In transient, with the exception of being few and much between for unspecified reasons, the sequencing of SpaceX Starlink launches were a multitude in the 2d half of 2021 and it doesn’t seek love that’s going to substitute anytime soon.

Barring the prolong of 1 or several other missions, CEO Elon Musk’s most up to the moment commentary that SpaceX is “aiming [to launch] 80 tons” or ~175,000 kilos of payload in Q4 2021 leaves room for two extra Starlink launches (alongside with 4-3) in the closing six weeks of the year.

Falcon 9’s Sentinel 6A originate and touchdown, November 2020. (SpaceX)

Within the intervening time, as early as November 23rd, SpaceX is scheduled to originate DART to an unspecified orbit – per chance a geostationary switch orbit (GTO) however per chance without prolong into deep home, the latter of which would non-public it Falcon 9’s first originate beyond the Earth-Moon arrangement. No subject the extremely gentle payload, Falcon 9 booster B1063 is anticipated to land at sea on drone ship Of Route I Peaceable Cherish You (OCISLY), which falls in favor of a excessive-velocity Earth fracture out originate.

A SpaceX, JHUAPL (Johns Hopkins University Utilized Physics Lab), and NASA team efficiently mated the ~550-670 kg (1200-1500 lb) spacecraft to Falcon 9’s payload adapter on November 10th and are seemingly ideal about a days away from encapsulating DART at some level of the rocket’s comparatively huge payload fairing. Sans payload, Falcon 9 will seemingly roll out to SpaceX’s SLC-4E pad and compose a prelaunch static fireplace test any day now sooner than heading back to the hangar for fairing set up.

Change: A forum member noticed Falcon 9 vertical whereas touring by educate past SpaceX’s Vandenberg originate pad, confirming that a static fireplace is drawing terminate.

SpaceX schedules subsequent Starlink originate, fires up rocket for asteroid redirect mission

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