It looks like February 17, 2020, will be the date SpaceX delivers 60 more satellites to its prospering constellation. Originally, the launch was due to February 16, however, had to be delayed due to an issue with a valve component on the rocket’s second stage.
Standing down from tomorrow’s Starlink launch; team is taking a closer look at a second stage valve component. Now targeting Monday, February 17.— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 15, 2020
SpaceX is targeting Monday, February 17 at 10:05 a.m. EST, or 15:05 UTC, for its fifth launch of satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
In case of any emergencies, a backup launch opportunity is also available on Tuesday, February 18 at 9:42 a.m. EST, or 14:42 UTC.
SpaceX carries a live stream for its every launch, and this Starlink mission will be no different. You can watch the launch and return of the Falcon 9 through the YouTube stream below.
After Falcon 9’s stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. At the end of the liftoff, SpaceX’s two recovery vessels, “Ms. Tree” and “Ms. Chief”, will attempt to recover the two fairing halves.
If all goes according to plan, the mission will bring the total amount of Starlink satellites orbiting the Earth to 300. SpaceX is definitely ambitious and its endgame is to have 12,000 Starlink satellites in orbit. It seems that we will see a lot of Starlink launches in our lifetimes.
UPDATE February 17, 11:53 AM EST
This is the first time a Falcon 9 rocket booster has failed to land on one of SpaceX's drone ships since June 2016. Of course, SpaceX has lost other rocket boosters in the interim. The space-bound company lost the center core of the three-core Falcon Heavy, two of its three times, in the innovative rocket's initial launch attempts. Another Falcon 9 rocket booster missed its landing pad at Cape Canaveral in December 2018 and subsequently fell into the sea following a failure with a gridded fin designed to stabilize the rocket's descent.
SpaceX has also declined to attempt landings of roughly 12 missions since the 2016 mishap — which is a normal procedure when a mission calls for higher velocities that significantly raise the difficulty of landing attempts.