SpaceX prepares for Starlink, transfer vehicle launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Many are used to hearing that SpaceX is sending Starlink satellites, but during Sunday night’s launch, it will also be sending up an orbital transfer vehicle for another company.


What You Need To Know

  • The launch is happen at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • The instantaneous launch window opens at 10:09 p.m. EDT
  • Learn more about the missions for Starlink and Spaceflight
  • Watch the launch below

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is preparing to send its cargo to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The instantaneous launch window opens at 10:09 p.m. EDT, with a backup launch set for Monday, Sept. 5, at 9:39 p.m. EDT, SpaceX stated.

The first-stage booster B1052 is no stranger to launches, as it has a number of them under its belt … if a belt was big enough to fit the Falcon 9’s 12-foot diameter.

The six missions are:

After the stage separation, the first stage will land on the droneship Just Read the Instructions, which is in the Atlantic Ocean.

About the mission

The Starlink satellites provide internet access to most parts of the planet, stated the company. SpaceX operates the Starlink company.

Before Sunday’s launch, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ astronomer Jonathan McDowell recorded the following: 2,940 Starlink satellites were in orbit, with 2,905 working and 2,387 that are operational.

In addition to the Starlink satellites, also onboard is private-space company Spaceflight’s orbital transfer vehicle Sherpa-LTC.

The Sherpa-LTC (just one type in a family of Sherpas) is a spacecraft that transports private companies’ satellites and puts them in orbit while traveling in a rocket, in this case, the Falcon 9.

Spaceflight described the Sherpa as “a mothership for small satellites that allows them to rideshare and reduce their launch costs.”

Onboard the Sherpa-LTC is Boeing’s Varuna Technology Demonstration Mission. The mission is to “demonstrate technologies and perform in-orbit performance testing for a V-band communications system …,” Boeing stated in its orbital debris assessment report.

Part of the mission is to help determine if other companies’ hardware and equipment are compatible with Boeing’s V-band fixed satellite.

Watch the launch