SpaceX is looking to launch two Falcon 9 Starlink missions tonight from the East and West Coasts just hours apart.
These two launches will represent the 99th and 100th dedicated Starlink mission for the company. First up will be a launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida currently targeting 8:14 p.m. ET (00:14 UTC on August 17) followed by the launch from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Station currently targeting 12:01 a.m. PT (7:01 UTC).
For the Florida Starlink mission, the satellites will be launched on a South Easterly trajectory and inserted into a 43-degree orbital inclination just over an hour after liftoff. The weather may factor in as usual for Florida launches, which could cause the two missions to occur much closer to each other.
Targeting back-to-back Falcon 9 launches of @Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from both Florida and California starting on Wednesday, August 16 → https://t.co/bJFjLCiTbK pic.twitter.com/e2JfiqwNFt
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 16, 2023
If needed, SpaceX has four more opportunities between 9:07 p.m. ET (1:07 UTC on August 17) until 12:00 a.m. ET on August 17 (4:00 UTC). The weather outlook shows a 20% chance of acceptable weather improving to a 65% chance of acceptable weather at the end of the window. If weather or technical issues prevent the launch tonight, there are four opportunities tomorrow evening.
The Falcon 9 launching Starlink Group 6-10 is Booster 1067 which will be making its 13th flight. B1067 has previously launched the Crew 3 and Crew 4 missions to the ISS, two ISS resupply missions, four commercial payloads, and four Starlink missions. B1067 will attempt a landing on the droneship “A Shortfall of Gravitas” eight and a half minutes after launch.
The California launch will feature a launch of 21 Starlink satellites, the most of the V2 mini variant yet from the West Coast. This launch will not be heading to 43 degrees as it is the first mission of a new shell. The Group 7-1 mission will head to the Southeast and be inserted into a 53-degree orbital inclination. Prior missions to 43 degrees featured a dog-leg maneuver which cut performance and limited Falcon 9 to launching just 15 at a time to that inclination from the West Coast.
Like the Florida launch, SpaceX has multiple opportunities to launch between 12:51 a.m. PT (7:51 UTC) and 3:23 a.m. PT (10:23 UTC). If needed, there are 2 launch opportunities ~24 hours later.
The booster tasked with the Starlink Group 7-1 mission is B1061 embarking on its 15th flight to space and back. B1061 has previously launched the Crew 1, 2 and the CRS-23 missions to the ISS, six commercial payloads, and five Starlink missions. B1061 has a scheduled landing on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” eight and a half minutes after launch.