SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to launch Starlink internet satellites into orbit. The launch was set for 2:19 p.m. EDT (1819 GMT) Thursday. However, SpaceX has called off the launch citing "Recovery issue" with the Falcon 9.
"Standing down from today's Starlink launch due to recovery issue; vehicle and payload remain healthy," SpaceX representatives announced in a Twitter update. "Next launch opportunity is tomorrow, September 18 at 1:57 p.m. EDT, but we are keeping an eye on the weather."
SpaceX will add 60 more Starlink satellites into its broadband network. SpaceX has so far launched more than 700 Starlink satellites into orbit. The internet satellites are launched from a 70-meter Falcon 9 rocket head. The rocket has 1.7 million pounds of thrust produced by 9 Merlin main engines. After a two and a half minute flight, the rocket will shed its first stage booster.
Falcon 9's first stage will land aboard a drone ship. The ship is located northeast of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic ocean. The propulsive landing will take eight minutes after take-off. Falcon 9's first stage has flown two times. This mission will mark the 13th launch of Starlink satellites. The deployment of this network started in May 2019. There's a 60 percent probability of good weather conditions for the launch. This is according to the 45th Weather Squadron in Cape Canaveral. However, the only concerns are anvil and cumulus clouds which cause thunderstorms.
SpaceX Starlink Network
SpaceX plans to launch 1,440 Starlink satellites. Some of these Starlink satellites are being moved to lower altitudes. The Starlink satellites are built at SpaceX facility in Redmond, Washington. A flat-panel Starlink satellite weighs a quarter-ton. SpaceX has the largest fleet of satellites in the world. However, SpaceX will launch more satellites in the near future. SpaceX is building six Starlink's every day. It also plans to launch the satellites every two to three weeks. The missions will continue until the network of 1440 satellites is achieved. SpaceX is performing speed tests with its beta testing program. The tests show the network has super-low latency. This is fast enough to provide reliable bandwidth.
Global Coverage at High-speeds
According to Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX's vice president of Starlink and commercial sales, SpaceX intends to upgrade its Starlink satellites. "With 1,440 satellites, that's when we get 24/7 global coverage, and the plan is to not stop there," Hofeller said. "We'll continue to launch, and with each launch, we can provide more and more capacity. There's never enough capacity. You can't limit what your kids want to watch, and what your family wants to consume. So we'll continue to densify the network."
If you're interested, you can watch the launch here. It's expected to start 15 minutes before launch. The Starlink 12 flight presents a great opportunity for SpaceX to enhance its network of Starlink satellites. The initial satellites that were launched in May 2019 were used for the testing series. SpaceX has launched 700 Starlink satellites so far. This is part of the initial plan to launch 1440 satellites. The company is gradually improving the network of satellites. This will provide users with fast download speeds.
SpaceX has maintained a successful launch pace. This is because of the flight-proven boosters at its disposal. This launch will mark the 17th flight for 2020. The Falcon 9 rocket is the most flown rocket in America. SpaceX has landed its first stage boosters 60 times. This is because it has two drone-ship landing platforms.