Exclusively delays, it appears that SpaceX is on track to launch a batch of 60 Starlink satellites and perform a fifth high-altitude Starship flight test every few hours on Tuesday, May 4th.
Around. 3 on May 3, SpaceX completed a successful Wet Test (WDR) and static fire test with the Falcon 9 booster B1049, a usable upper phase and the latest stack of Starlink satellites. About eight hours later, as usual, SpaceX confirmed via social media that the test was a success and that its 25th operational Starlink mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than 15:01 EDT (19:01 UTC) on Tuesday, May 4th.
At the same time, after a handful of delays, SpaceX also seems to be on track to try the first launch of a Starship with “hundreds of improvements”
Starlink-25 will be SpaceX’s second daylight Falcon 9 launch in months – rarely too late due to orbital properties of the constellation’s orbital mechanics. Aside from generally offering a much better overview of the launch, the Starlink-25’s 15:01 EDT launch target means that the Falcon 9 and Starship SN15 could technically launch at exactly the same time in Florida and Texas.
While it is unlikely that SpaceX would actually allow it really simultaneous launches and unclear whether such a thing is possible at all, it is possibly that SpaceX could launch the Starship SN15 at some point in the 50 minutes that Starlink-25 will put in orbit. More likely, however, SpaceX will use the Starship SN15’s eight-hour window and wait until the Starlink-25 is finished, unless some kind of intrusive weather system reduces the window to a few hours.
That still means the Starlink-25 and Starship SN15 could launch less than six hours apart, though the experimental rocket prototype is far more likely to suffer minor delays and grow this gap to a day or two. In addition, SpaceX itself warns that it “keeps an eye on the weather in [Starlink-25] recovery area, ”which means that offshore conditions can also delay the Starlink launch by a day or two.
In the end, it looks like both rockets will launch before the week is out. Stay tuned to find out how ‘back to back’ they actually want to be.