The Falcon 9 first stage that punched NASA astronauts beyond the unceasing clutches of Earth’s gravity well for the first time in SpaceX history has a new assignment.
The same booster thatmission last year is scheduled to make another flight early Wednesday morning. This time the cargo is far less precious: no humans, just the latest batch of 60 Starlink satellites to join .
This will be the booster’s first flight since Demo-2, which brought human spaceflight back to US shores for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, but its sixth overall and its second Starlink mission. Both halves of the nose cone, or fairing, that will shield the new group of routers on their journey up through the atmosphere have also flown on previous missions.
This will be the sixth Starlink mission of 2021 so far, with number seven set to follow it up this Saturday.
Liftoff was originally set for 6:58 p.m. PT (9:58 p.m. ET) on Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It has since been pushed back to 12:13 a.m. PT (3:13 a.m. ET) Wednesday to take extra time “for pre-launch checks.”
The booster will attempt its sixth career landing eight minutes later in the Atlantic Ocean on the droneship Just Read The Instructions.
The mission will be livestreamed starting about 10 minutes before launch and you can watch it right here.
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