SpaceX is set to launch the next batch of 60 Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.
The launch is the 13th Starlink mission for SpaceX so now the company will have more than 750 of the orbiting satellites in place, about 6% of its approved plans to get 12,000 of the 570-pound satellites flying around the globe in an effort to provide cheap internet and fund the company’s bigger plans to eventually colonize Mars.
The U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 60% chance for good weather during the launch window from 2:07 p.m. to 2:28 p.m. citing possible cumulus and anvil cloud rule violations because of afternoon showers in its forecast issued Tuesday
Hurricane Sally will have moved inland over the Southeastern U.S. by Thursday, which may make the winds hitting the space center become more southwesterly and increase chances for afternoon and evening thunderstorms, forecasters said.
In the event of a 24-hour delay, weather conditions would deteriorate further on Friday because of Sally’s remnants allowing more moisture to descend on Central Florida.
The launch, designated Starlink 12 as it’s the 12th operation flight for the Starlink array after an initial flight with two test satellites, will be from launch pad 39-A using a previously used first-stage booster making its third launch attempt.
The company will try and recover it on its drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.” SpaceX will also attempt to recover the two fairing halves as well.
If successful, it will be 17th SpaceX launch in 2020 and 94th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket overall.
The Starlink program at full capacity looks to provide the company billions in annual funds from millions of Internet subscribers across the planet. This summer it’s been beta testing the network with employees but has stated it hopes to roll it out to Canada and the northern U.S. before the end of 2020 and global accessibility by the end of 2021.