SpaceX plans to release a package of Starlink satellites From Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Saturday. The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch into low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at 1:24 a.m. PT, although launch schedules often change. The launch may be considered unremarkable — SpaceX has launched more than 1,800 Starlink satellites so far, According to Space.com — but for the fact that its scheduled flight would have the missile travel soon over Earth and then along the California coast before turning east, an unusual maneuver. This is said to be the first time a SpaceX launch from Vandenberg has followed such a path, and is bound to give Southern Californians an unprecedented experience. light show.
The temporary flight restrictions put in place show a reserved portion of the airspace extending southeast of Vandenberg roughly parallel to Interstate 1 in California, and this appears to eject the missile over the southern Gulf of California and the Channel Islands.
Teslarati website — who describes himself As a «California-based multi-platform media company and leading lifestyle brand with a focus on Tesla, SpaceX, and Elon Musk’s projects» — explain The launch would put the satellites into orbit at an inclination of 53.22 degrees. NASA knows Orbital tilt as a measure of the angle formed between the equator and the plane of an object’s orbit when viewed from the side, so that the plane appears as a line.
Teslarati reported that previous Vandeberg launches had not been able «to launch regularly to inclinations of less than about 56 degrees.» A smaller inclination keeps the orbit closer to the equator, and thus potentially in view of the more desirable ground stations. In this case, the website notes that SpaceX has provided it Celestrac Information that the Falcon 9 rocket will turn slightly left after launch — just a few degrees — to achieve an orbit with a lower inclination. Shallower is a relative term, of course, as it has about 53 degrees, but not quite, a polar orbit — which is defined as an orbital inclination of 60 to 90 degrees, according to European Space Agency.
Starlink is a constellation of satellites operated by SpaceX connected by A tangled network of data links Which provides Internet connections to remote areas and other services. SpaceX has been launched Another Falcon 9 from Vandenberg last month and St. Louis Bishop platform Reports Base-launched typically provide the central coast with a «scene». Space launches typically avoid populated areas as much as possible for as long as possible while in the atmosphere, often heading directly over deep water. The unusual itinerary of this launch may make the show more exciting than others. Current weather forecast For Vandeberg during launch time, the skies are clear and temperatures are in the high 30s — great sky-watching weather. SpaceX Reports It could also launch on Sunday, December 19 at 1:03 a.m. PST if the first launch is postponed.
SpaceX’s rockets are designed to be reusable, and the company says the Falcon 9 first-stage booster is being used in this weekend’s shot «the first previously launched Dragon crew experimental mission, the RADARSAT constellation mission, the SXM-7, and seven Starlink missions.»
If all goes according to plan, this boost will land on a SpaceX drone barge — dubbed «Of course I still love you» — in the Pacific Ocean. the The company will flow A live webcast of this mission will start approximately 15 minutes before takeoff.
Contact the author: Brian@thedrive.com.