On October 18, SpaceX’s second drone ship ‘booster recovery’ left Port Canaveral at precise at the same time as a Falcon 9 rocket sent 60 Starlink satellites a dozen miles north.
A remote point-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera recently installed by NASASpaceflight.com in the harbor, literally trapped drone ship Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) leaving its berth, and a Falcon 9 taking off on SpaceXs Starlink 13 mission in the same framework. One framework helps capture some of the large scale and spectacularity of the reusable rocket infrastructure that SpaceX has built from nothing in a few short years, as well as the exploits of space, which reusability has begun to enable.
In essence, viewers can see in a single camera frame a massive SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that weighs ~ 560 tons (~ 1.3 million lbs) and stands 70 meters (~ 230 ft) high lift en route to a drone ship (Of Course) , I still love you), landing about 630 km (390 mi) downhill and eventually to Earth.
In the foreground, distant rocket launch likely to glisten on deck, a completely separate football-sized drone ship known as the Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) begins a journey to an almost identical Atlantic landing zone to capture another Falcon 9 rocket’s own Starlink launch and landing three days later.
About eight minutes after launch, the Starlink-13 Falcon 9 booster B1051 performed a flawless, bullseye landing on the drone ship OCISLY, completing the rocket’s sixth orbital launch. If it went well during stage safety operations, OCISLY and JRTI could easily pass only a few miles (or less) apart, as JRTI is pulled out to – literally – the exact same landing zone.
Starlink-13 complete, SpaceX appears to be on its way to launch another Starlink mission just three days later. Known as Starlink-14 or Starlink V1 L14, it will be namesake 14. launch of operational v1.0 Starlink satellites that also mark SpaceX’s 13th Starlink launch in 2020 and 15th Starlink launch in general. Starlink-14 is scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) no earlier than (NET) 12:36 EDT (16:36 UTC), Wednesday, October 21st. L-1d weather forecast predicts a 60% chance of favorable conditions.
As previously discussed at Teslarati, if Starlink-14 starts on schedule or is delayed by less than 72 hours, the Falcon 9 booster that supports it will break SpaceX’s (and thus the world’s) record-breaking record.
NextSpaceflight.com reports that SpaceX has assigned the Falcon 9 booster B1060 to Starlink-14. If Starlink-14 launches on schedule on October 21, the B1060 will beat the B1058 to be the crown jewel of the fastest booster tournament and launch twice in just 48 days. The Falcon 9 B1058 set the current world record when it beat NASA’s space shuttle (54 days) with a 51-day turnaround earlier this year. ”
Teslarati.com – October 15, 2020
As usual, SpaceX hosts an official webcast, typically scheduled to begin ~ 15 minutes before launch. Set around 12.20 EDT (16:20 UTC) to capture Falcon 9s Starlink-14 launch and landing live.