321 Launch: Space news you may have missed over the past week

·2 min read
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket clears low-lying fog and the lightning protection system at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Launch Complex 40 on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. The mission marked the 31st for SpaceX's Starlink internet constellation. SpaceX will attempt another Starlink launch Wednesday evening.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket clears low-lying fog and the lightning protection system at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Launch Complex 40 on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. The mission marked the 31st for SpaceX's Starlink internet constellation. SpaceX will attempt another Starlink launch Wednesday evening.

Weather looking good for Wednesday launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket should lift off into excellent conditions around Cape Canaveral this week, local Space Force forecasters said Sunday.

If conditions remain stable and teams at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Launch Complex 40 remain on schedule, a Falcon 9 rocket with dozens of Starlink internet satellites will take flight at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday. Conditions during that instantaneous window stand at 90% "go."

The launch marks the 32nd for SpaceX's Starlink internet constellation, which already has roughly 1,700 operational satellites in low-Earth orbit. The company recently said more than 100,000 customers have signed on to receive their user terminals and internet connection packages, which initially cost $499 for hardware and $99 a month thereafter.

Five more launches slated this year

Despite a slowdown in Florida's rocket launch cadence in recent months due to supply chain issues and shortages, teams are hoping to squeeze in up to five more missions before the year is out.

From a Space Force mission to a resupply run to the International Space Station, both SpaceX and United Launch Alliance have requested time on the Eastern Range this holiday season. NASA's high-profile, multibillion-dollar James Webb Space Telescope is set for launch in mid-December as well, though not from Florida's shores.

Click here to see the schedule of launches still to come in 2021.

Getting satellites to launch pad no easy task

The vast majority of American satellites are launched from the Space Coast, either at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station or at Kennedy Space Center.

An Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy transport is seen at Kennedy Space Center's Launch and Landing Facility on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, with the NOAA's GOES-T spacecraft. Once on orbit, the satellite will help forecasters and scientists better understand weather and climate.
An Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy transport is seen at Kennedy Space Center's Launch and Landing Facility on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, with the NOAA's GOES-T spacecraft. Once on orbit, the satellite will help forecasters and scientists better understand weather and climate.

But the vast majority of American satellites are built somewhere other than the Space Coast.

Getting the costly spacecraft to the launch pads is no easy task.

In the case of new weather satellite, the trip involved back a specially designed tractor-trailer directly in the belly of a massive cargo plane.

Learn more about what it takes to get a satellite to the Space Coast.

A 25+ year veteran of FLORIDA TODAY, John McCarthy currently oversees the space team and special projects. Support quality local journalism by subscribing to FLORIDA TODAY. You can contact McCarthy at 321-752-5018 or jmccarthy@floridatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: 321 Launch: Space news you may have missed over the past week

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