SpaceX crews are preparing for the next Starlink launch, but they may only have a 50% chance of experiencing favorable weather conditions. The launch window for the Starlink 6-21 mission opens at 10:16 p.m. on Wednesday and extends until 2:46 a.m. on Thursday. The launch will take place at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Launch Complex 40.
The primary threats to the launch are the presence of cumulus clouds associated with onshore-moving showers and breezy liftoff winds. The weather forecast from the Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 45 predicts a rebound in shallow moisture on Tuesday and Wednesday, leading to scattered low-topped showers moving in from the Atlantic onto the coast. The National Weather Service warns that these storms may bring gusty winds and frequent lightning strikes.
The payload for this launch is SpaceX’s next batch of Starlink internet satellites, which will be deployed into low-Earth orbit. The Falcon 9 rocket will follow a southeasterly trajectory and attempt a landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
This mission will be the 53rd launch for the Space Coast this year, assuming it launches as scheduled. Unlike some previous launches, this one is not expected to generate any local sonic booms. The first-stage booster, measuring 130 feet, will aim for a landing on the drone ship about eight minutes after liftoff.
While the weather conditions for this SpaceX launch are uncertain, the launch forecast for Friday’s United Launch Alliance (ULA) launch for Amazon’s Project Kuiper indicates an 80% chance of favorable weather. ULA will use an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to launch the pair of prototype satellites, KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, for Amazon’s broadband system.
For more information on upcoming launches in the area, visit floridatoday.com/space.