SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 rocket with Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base – Spaceflight Now

Archive photo of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on pad 4E ready to launch a Starlink mission. Image: SpaceX

SpaceX is gearing up for another busy week after the third Starship rocket test flight on Thursday and three Falcon 9 missions. The company plans to launch on Monday with 22 Starlink satellites from its pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

A Falcon 9 rocket on the Starlink 7-16 mission is scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at 7:28 PM PT (1028 PM ET, 0228 UTC). If necessary, there are backup launch opportunities until 11:10 PM PT (2:10 AM ET, 0610 UTC).

Spaceflight Now will have live coverage starting about 30 minutes before liftoff.

The Falcon 9 first stage booster used on this flight, tail number B1075 in the SpaceX fleet, will be launched for the 10th time. It had previously launched two missions for the US Space Development Agency, in addition to seven other Starlink missions.

Just over eight minutes after liftoff, B1075 will land on a SpaceX drone, with the words “Of course I still love you.” This will be the 86th landing on OCISLY and the 285th landing for a SpaceX vehicle to date.

While this mission is underway, SpaceX and NASA are also preparing to launch Cargo Dragon from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. This will be the 30th flight under SpaceX's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA to transport cargo and science to the orbital outpost.

This mission also has the distinction of being the first time a second-generation Dragon spacecraft has been launched to the International Space Station from SLC-40. The first Dragon capsule was launched aboard the inaugural Falcon 9 rocket from the pad in 2010, but operations shifted to Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center after the first-generation Dragon was retired following the CRS-20 mission in March 2020.

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