CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Valentine’s Day could be full of fireworks this year as both SpaceX and Russian space agency Roscosmos are working towards a double-headed launch tonight (February 14) .
The California-based SpaceX is expected to launch a full stack of Starlink satellites into space, while Russia and NASA work together to launch a cargo ship to the International Space Station. You can watch the live action online.
SpaceX he kicks off the shows as one of his Falcon 9 rockets is expected to take off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 11:21 am EST (0421 GMT on Feb 15), followed by a rocket Soyuz 2.1a from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. That Russian launch will transport the Progress MS-16 spacecraft, also known as Progress 77, to the space station at 11:45 pm EDT (0445 GMT on February 15).
you can watch both launches live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of SpaceX and NASA, starting with SpaceX, which will host a webcast about 15 minutes before it is built. You can too watch Starlink launch directly through SpaceX. The Progress 77 release will also be broadcast by NASA, with a NASA webcast starting at 11:15 pm EST (0415 GMT).
Related: Valentine’s Day in Space: Cosmic Love Pictures
After some recent delays and a few mission exchanges, SpaceX is back on the launch pad, preparing to launch its next Starlink mission into space. That flight will come just 10 days after his last Starlink mission, and this could be the first of two releases this week for the private spaceflight company.
SpaceX deployed its fleet of recovery ships a few days before its launch, with its drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” ready to capture this boost. If successful, the landing will mark the 75th revival for SpaceX since the company made its first promotion in 2015.
Appearing in today’s mission will be the so-called B1059 hike, set for its sixth flight. This first phase previously carried two different SpaceX Dragon cargo missions to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s CRS-19 and CRS-20 flights, a Starlink mission last June, a Earth-observing satellite for Argentina (SAOCOM-1B in August 2020), and a spy satellite for the U.S. government as part of the NROL-108 mission in December. Sunday’s flight marks the second Starlink payment burden that this particular increase has borne.
If all goes as planned, about nine minutes after construction, B1059 is ready to go back down on the deck of the drone ship, completing another successful mission.
Related: SpaceX’s StarX satellite megaconstellation launches in images
SpaceX created its Starlink internet program with one main goal: to connect customers worldwide and to provide a reliable and affordable internet service, in particular, those in remote and rural areas. To that end, SpaceX predicted that the first Starlink constel would have 1,440 of the satellite beams with horizontal pans. The company currently has the license to launch up to 30,000 Starlinks satellites, with plans to launch even more.
With more than 1,000 satellites already in orbit, SpaceX officially offered the service to the public last week. Customers can order and register the necessary hardware through company website, although there is a disclaimer that it is only open to a limited number of customers per service area.
They were launched following a public and private beta test phase, entitled “Better than nothing,” which was recently extended to people in the UK.
SpaceX installed their twin receivers before their launch on Sunday, and will retrieve them after a shower. The fairing pieces (or both halves of the protective “nose cone” on the rocket platform) are equipped with a parachute and navigation software that directs each piece to a designated recovery zone where they are caught in mid-air or scraped out of the water by two boats equipped with nets – known as GO Ms Tree and GO Ms.
These recovery efforts typically occur approximately 45 minutes after erection.
Currently, the weather is 40% “off” for a Sunday launch opportunity, with the main weather charge being the ability of storm clouds over the launch site. There is an opportunity to launch a backup on Monday night, should the need arise.
Monday’s forecast improves to 60% favorable.
Less than 30 minutes after the FalX 9 SpaceX rockets landed, worldwide, Russian Soyuz take to the skies, to deliver more than 5,000 lbs . of materials for the astronauts on the space station.
The Progress supply vessel weighs about 5,424 lbs. (2,460 kilograms) of cargo and supplies for the crew currently on board the station. That bounty weighs 3,086 lbs. (1,400 kg) of crew inspection and supply, along with freshwater, nitrogen gas and engine for the station’s Zvezda service model transfer system.
After launch Sunday, it will reach orbital center Tuesday at 1:20 a.m. EST (0620 GMT), landing at the Pirs sinking section.
It will be attached to the station until July, when it will separate from the ISS (along with the Pirs), and perform a devastating reentry where the two will burn up in the Earth ‘s atmosphere. This will allow Roscosmos to come up with a new model – the biggest Russian addition to the space station in twenty years.
Pirs currently serves as an aircraft for Russian astronauts to use when transporting spacecraft and also as a dock port for visiting spacecraft. (There is another similar port left on a station called Poisk.)
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