After successfully completing the launch of Starlink-26, SpaceX has completed more than half of Falcon 9’s eight orbital launches in six weeks.
On April 23, due to bad weather delayed one day, SpaceX used the flight-tested Falcon 9 thruster and the flight-tested Dragon capsule to launch four astronauts for the first time on their historic space flight. Six days later, the company accelerated the launch of its 24th Starlink, followed by two more 60-satellite Starlink missions on May 4 and 9, the last of which marked the Falcon 9 booster. orbit for the first hour. In the end, Falcon 9 completed another Starlink launch on May 15, this time with 52 bundled internet satellites and two third-party payloads. This is part of SpaceX’s fourth Starlink carpool mission.
However, after launching 234 satellites, four astronauts, and five Falcon 9s in 22 days, and restoring all five thrusters, SpaceX is still not finished. About two weeks ago, most of SpaceX’s June launch list had more or less been stuck in the first half of the month with three specific dates. A few days before the successful launch of Starlink-26, it could well be SpaceX’s fourth and final launch in May 2021.
There is no doubt that Starlink-28 is scheduled to launch on May 26 (18:59 UTC) (2:59 pm ET) (net), which is 11 days after Starlink-26. It’s worth noting that SpaceX chose the Falcon 9 B1063 booster to support this task. The thruster made its debut at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California in November 2020 and was shipped to Florida two months ago. Starlink-28 will be the second release.
Next, SiriusXM’s 7-ton SXM-8 radio satellite arrived at SpaceX’s payload integration facility in Florida earlier this month and is scheduled to launch at 12:25 a.m. Eastern Time (4:25 UTC) on June 1. The mission may take a few days, but it can still start in early June.
Less than three days later, the rare new Falcon 9 booster can perform the refueling mission of NASA’s CRS-22 space station, which is SpaceX’s second enhanced version of the Dragon (also new). Earlier today, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed that the mission is expected to launch on June 3, possibly around 1 p.m. ET (15:00 UTC).
If the weather, the space station, and SpaceX’s rocket, spacecraft and cushion facilities cooperate, then the completion of these next three missions will mark eight successful launches of the Falcon 9, which carries two Dragon spacecraft, four astronauts, and nearly 300 satellites. in orbit. takes less than six weeks (41 days). If SpaceX does this and launches on average every five days, then the company will complete about 45% of launches in 2021 in about 26% of the time so far this year, an obvious acceleration mode.
In the same period, SpaceX Crew Dragon safely returned four astronauts to Earth after the longest manned space flight in US history (May 2), and the company successfully launched and landed the full scale. for the first time. Interplanetary Spaceship Prototype (May 5).