Update: SpaceX says a Falcon 9 rocket is on track to launch 48 Starlink 4-10 satellites no earlier than 8:45 am EST (13:45 UTC) on Wednesday, March 9th after a one-day delay from March 8th.
Tune in below around 8:30 am EST to watch the mission – SpaceX’s tenth launch of 2022 and fourth Starlink launch in 16 days – live.
Continuing its relentless cadence, SpaceX appears to be on track to launch its fourth batch of Starlink satellites in just over two weeks.
Know as Starlink 4-10 and scheduled to launch no earlier than (NET) 9:06 am EST (14:06 UTC) on Tuesday, March 8th, the mission will also be SpaceX’s 10th launch of 2022 – an average of one launch every 6.6 days. SpaceX appears to be fully on track to more or less continue that pace of orbital launches for at least the next month.
Beginning at the end of an unusual launch drought in November 2021, Starlink 4-10 will also be SpaceX’s 18th launch in four months, representing an average of 54 launches per year if sustained for the rest of 2022. Given that SpaceX has now sustained that cadence for more than a third of a year, it’s entirely plausible that the company will actually achieve its goal of weekly missions (i.e. 52 launches) in 2022.
For Starlink 4-10, drone ship A Shortfall Of Gravitas (ASOG) departed Port Canaveral on March 5th, joining drone ship Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) – still at sea after recovering a Falcon 9 booster for Starlink 4-9’s March 3rd launch. It’s unknown which Falcon 9 will support SpaceX’s 10th launch of the year but the company has plenty of options in its fleet of 11 flight-proven boosters, four or five of which are theoretically available for the mission. The best candidates are B1051 – on its record-breaking 12th launch – or B1052, a converted Falcon Heavy booster flying as a Falcon 9 for the second time.
Beyond Starlink 4-10, SpaceX reportedly has two more launches scheduled this month. Another Starlink mission (likely Starlink 4-12) could launch as early as mid-March. Axiom-1, Crew Dragon’s second fully private mission, could launch four private astronauts (including three paying customers) to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 30th. SpaceX then has a substantial number of launches scheduled in April 2022, including its Transporter-4 rideshare mission, Crew-4, NROL-85, and one or two O3B mPOWER satellite launches. A Starlink mission or two will likely fill any gaps.