SpaceX launch countdown clock: When is SpaceX launching the Falcon 9? | Science | News

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The Falcon 9 will leave Earth in less than 24 hours after its Wednesday 9.17am EST (2.17pm GMT) launch window was dogged by poor atmospheric conditions.

The SpaceX rocket is now scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at the same time on Thursday February 22.

SpaceX founder said he would rather delay the launch than risk losing the rocket and its payload to strong winds.

He tweeted: “High altitude wind shear data shows a probable 2% load exceedance. Small, but better to be paranoid. 

“Postponing launch to tomorrow, assuming winds are better then.”

also said: “Standing down today due to strong upper level winds. 

“Now targeting launch of PAZ for February 22 at 6:17 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base.”

Tomorrow’s Falcon 9 mission serves a dual purpose for SpaceX.

Firstly, the company will deliver a Spanish PAZ radar satellite into low orbit on a five year mission.

Secondly, and more importantly to SpaceX, the Falcon 9 will deliver two prototype satellites for the upcoming Starlink project. 

SpaceX plans to deliver a staggering 12,000 satellites into by 2020 to deliver high-speed broadband to every corner of the planet.

Mr Musk teased on Wednesday: “Today’s Falcon launch carries 2 SpaceX test satellites for global broadband. If successful, Starlink constellation will serve the least served.”

The Starlink project was given the seal of approval by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

FCC chairman Ajit Pai thanked the rocket manufacturer for attempting to deliver widespread internet across America.

Mr Pai said: “To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. 

“SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the US market for nongeostationary satellite orbit systems — involves one such innovation.”

He added: “Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fibre-optic cables and cell towers do not reach. 

“And it can offer more competition where terrestrial internet access is already available.”

According to permission documents filed at the FCC by SpaceX, the Starlink network will comprise 4,425 satellites about 700 miles up and another 7,518 around 210 miles up.

SpaceX hopes to have the network operational no later than 2020, drawing in millions of customers to its service.

The company said: “The combined SpaceX System will address both the need to bring new broadband capability to the US and international markets and the need to accommodate growing demands in more developed areas.”



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