By Anan Ashraf
Elon Musk‘s company, SpaceX, readied two more Falcon 9 rockets on SpaceX launch pads on Friday, following a Starlink deployment earlier in the day.
The Falcon 9 is a partially reusable medium-lift rocket that has two stages. The first booster stage carries that second stage as it lifts the payload to its destination.
The rocket used a Merlin engine with a shortened nozzle for its need for payload. The upper stage of the rockets carries twenty-one satellites, 5 that are from Iridium and 16 that are from OneWeb to communicate with the low Earth orbit.
“Our constellation is incredibly healthy; however, the spare satellites have no utility to us on the ground,” said Idrium CEO Matt Desch.
SpaceX shared pictures of its three Falcon 9 rockets on 3 SpaceX launchpads.
The rocket manufacturer launched 22 second-generation Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Florida at 12:41 a.m. ET on Friday aboard one of the Falcon 9s. The deployment of the satellites has been confirmed.
“3 Falcon 9 rockets on 3 SpaceX launch pads,” SpaceX said in a tweet.
The company is now eyeing 6:19 a.m. PT to launch the Iridium OneWeb mission to low-Earth orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The third rocket will be launching Axiom Space’s second all-private mission to the International Space Station (ISS) Ax-2 from Florida on Sunday, May 21. While the initial launch window is at 5:37 p.m. ET on Sunday, a backup opportunity is also available at 5:14 p.m. ET on Monday.
SpaceX has rolled out both Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft to the launch pad ahead of the Axiom Space mission. The mission was previously scheduled for May 8.
“Since then, the teams have completed checkouts on the vehicle and the ground systems, and we’re looking good going into today’s attempt,” SpaceX operations engineer Siva Bharadvaj said about the launch.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that the Starlink V2 satellites were experiencing some issues, which are on other parts of the rocket.
Starlink V2 satellites are designed to be very powerful that allows for more broadband capacity.
SpaceX has over 4,000 Starlink satellite in orbit that allows for stronger communication from earth.
Under the mission, the four-member crew will fly on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, dock to the ISS for 10 days and conduct more than 20 research experiments. Axiom finalized a deal with SpaceX for three additional Dragon flights for its fully commercial missions to the International Space Station in June 2021.
The company aims to have an Axiom Station ready to operate as the ISS’ privately owned successor by 2028.
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