SpaceX is in the process of attempting static-fire the first fully-assembled Starship prototype as few as four hours before a Falcon 9 rocket’s schedule Starlink launch.
After SpaceX decided to scrub a November 22nd launch attempt for vague “additional mission assurance” and preempted a November 23rd backup to wait for better Atlantic Ocean recovery weather, Starlink V1.0 Flight 15 (Starlink-15) is now scheduled to launch no earlier than (NET) 9:13 pm EST (02:13 UTC), November 24th.
Simultaneously, SpaceX is three hours into a five-hour window for Starship serial number 8’s (SN8) second triple-Raptor static fire attempt, believed to be one of the last tests required before the massive steel rocket is considered ready for its 15 km (~9.5 mi) launch debut.
Starlink-15’s November 22nd launch attempt was unfortunately called off shortly before propellant loading was scheduled to begin. A backup window on November 23rd included a high risk of recovery weather violations, likely causing SpaceX to delay to November 24th, where weather forecasts are currently 80% go with a moderate (down from “high”) risk of unfavorable recovery weather.
After Crew-1 Falcon 9 booster B1061 was seemingly almost knocked off of its drone ship by a large swell around November 15th, it’s not a huge surprise that SpaceX is being a bit more cautious about recovery weather on its next launch.
While B1061 was exceptionally important due to the fact that it’s scheduled to become the first commercial reusable rocket to launch astronauts early next year, Starlink-15 Falcon 9 booster B1049 is still important in its own right, as the mission will be its seventh launch – a first for SpaceX. In the company’s own words, B1049 will become the Falcon booster flight leader, adding significant importance to its successful landing and recovery.
As usual, SpaceX will host an official Starlink-15 launch webcast, beginning around 9 pm EST (02:00 UTC) if the mission remains on track.