SpaceX fires up next eight-flight Falcon 9 booster for Tuesday Starlink launch

Update: SpaceX has confirmed a good static fire and Starlink-17’s 6:19 am, February 2nd launch target.

Ending a few-day delay, SpaceX has successfully static-fired Falcon 9 B1049 at Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A – now set to become the company’s second eight-flight booster as early as 6:19 am EST (11:19 UTC).

Originally scheduled to occur as early as Friday, January 29th, Falcon 9 B1049’s static fire test was delayed for unknown reasons and then aborted late into the countdown on the 30th before SpaceX was able to complete the test on Sunday afternoon. Pending official confirmation that the test results were positive, B1049 should now be on track to launch SpaceX’s 17th batch of Starlink v1.0 satellites (and 18th dedicated Starlink mission overall) this Tuesday.

Towed by tugboat Finn Falgout, drone ship Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) is en route to a landing zone roughly 630 km (390 mi) northeast of Cape Canaveral after a partially aborted departure (the loop visible below). The ships should arrive on-site within the next ~24 hours to support Falcon 9 B1049’s eighth landing attempt.

Simultaneously, tugboat Lauren Foss departed Port Canaveral with drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) in tow on January 30th, headed towards a recovery zone more or less identical to JRTI’s destination. OCISLY is scheduled to support Falcon 9 booster B1059’s sixth launch and landing no earlier than (NET) 1:19 am EST (06:19 UTC), February 4th, delivering Starlink-18 to orbit as few as 42 hours after Starlink-17.

Stay tuned for updates as SpaceX gets ready for an extraordinarily busy first week of February.

SpaceX fires up next eight-flight Falcon 9 booster for Tuesday Starlink launch
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