SpaceX is readying itself to launch its second set of Starlink Internet satellites — another 60 of them — on Monday next week. This will be the first time when the company will reuse a payload fairing on a rocket.
In preparation, last Tuesday saw SpaceX completing a static test firing of its Falcon 9 rocket, which is set to launch into space next Monday from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
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Not only will SpaceX be making history by reusing its payload fairing, but it will also be attempting to fly its Falcon 9 first stage for the fourth time.
The fairing supporting this mission previously flew on Falcon Heavy’s Arabsat-6A mission pic.twitter.com/iTgqqtl1pW— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 5, 2019
Its current stage started earlier this year in July, during the company's Iridium 7 mission. It was also used in October 2018 during the SAOCOM 1-A mission, and in February of that same year on its Nusantara Satu and Beresheet spacecraft.
Furthermore, the payload fairing that the rocket will be reusing was previously part of SpaceX's Arabsat-6A mission launched in April of this year. Both halves of the payload fairings were recovered when they landed back on Earth.
Since then, the fairings have been reworked and refurbished, and are ready to take part in the Starlink mission.
The Starlink Internet mission commenced this year in May when 60 experimental satellites were sent to low orbit. SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, stated that the company's goal would be to start providing Internet services around the world as early as mid-2020.
Much depends on the upcoming launch, which was originally due to happen in October. No reasons for the delay have been provided, but things are looking good for November 11 so far.
Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete—targeting 11/11 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Pad 40 in Florida— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 5, 2019
The launch, due to begin at 9:51 AM EST on Monday, will last approximately 11 minutes.