After wind shear pushed the Starlink launch debut from SpaceX from May 15 to May 16, satellite software issues forced the company to scrub the second attempt, delaying the launch for another ~ 7 days.
For a mission that is spectacularly ambitious as SpaceX & # 39; s Starlink launch with 60 satellites, delays due to these satellites should be as good as no surprise. Given the huge numbers of people involved and the fact that this is the first flight hardware based on SpaceX & # 39; s radically redesigned Starlink satellite bus, this scrub is only part of the process of developing new spacecraft.
For the time being, this scrub can be effectively considered indefinite. Troubleshooting 60 high-performance satellites – some with possible software or hardware errors – can understandably be a very time-consuming process, especially if these specific spacecraft are closer to a beta test than an actual end product. This is probably the case based on comments made by CEO Elon Musk. As such, resolving hardware and software errors at the launch site while still being associated with Falcon 9 is likely to provide an excellent experience for all involved.
When dealing with the number of satellites, SpaceX will have to realize its Starlink constellation, the company will have to be able to process the anomalies that will inevitably follow the preparation and launch of 1000 or more satellites per year. Starlink v0.9 is just the first step – albeit a shockingly large one – in that direction.
Much more important and much less guaranteed is Falcon 9 & # 39; s completely unobtrusive power up to launch. Although it is SpaceX's third attempt to start a Falcon 9 booster three times, Falcon 9 B1049 is ready to start during the last ~ 60 hours of operations. The weather is back and the first batch of dozens of advanced, customized communication satellites will inevitably experience bugs, but the stoic performance of Falcon 9 is somewhat less guaranteed.
For Starlink to succeed, the launch component of the comparison will be just as critical – if not more important – than ensuring that every satellite is perfect prior to launch, at least reasonable. Failure to act as a good steward of the area with scrap space can have major consequences for the regulations. However, nothing will kill Starlink faster than unreliable, delayed launches, apparently an unlikely proposition in the current state of SpaceX.
As long as Falcon 9 Block 5 remains as reliable and consistent as has been shown so far, even fairly serious issues with aspects of the Starlink constellation itself should be more like roadblocks than showstoppers. If everything goes well with SpaceX & # 39; s aforementioned software updates and triple checks, Starlink v0.9 could be released around May 22 and 24. Keep watching while SpaceX keeps giving updates.
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