Oct. 6th Starlink 12 finally flies
7:29 AM Est, atop a Falcon 9 rocket from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center
Originally set to launch September 16th, Starlink 12 has finally left Earth and brought another sixty satellites into orbit. After the 16th we heard the 17th then the 18th, the 28th. Then October came and the 1st brought another scrub. On October 5th foul weather made the range conditions RED, and launching was not going to happen. With several slips in the schedule, and four actual scrubs of this launch all were happy to see the scrubs had finally ended. September was dubbed #Scrubtember due to three launches scrubbing in 24hrs. This carried over into October on the Space Coast of Florida.
The Antares rocket which was delayed by a few days finally went up on Oct. 2nd, and we rejoiced thinking the scrubs were done. This was not the case as later in the same day SpaceX's GPSIII-SV04 mission aborted just a second after the engines ignited. The ULA Delta IV Heavy slated to go up on September 29th is still inside the Mobile Service Tower after it was aborted just seven seconds before the launch. The series of misfortunes have left everyone scratching their heads. Even Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and founder has come to Cape Canaveral to investigate the engine issue with the GPSII-SV04 first stage booster 1062.
The launch delays had to end at some point, and today they did. At 7:29 AM Est SpaceX Falcon 9 booster 1058 earned it's .3 with successfully launching and landing for the third time. This is the same booster astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley used to taxi them to the International Space Station and still has the iconic NASA "worm" logo painted on it's first stage core. Many people are hoping to have this booster put on display somewhere, in my case preferably at the Kennedy Space Center. It is pretty historic after becoming the first vehicle made by a private corporation to deliver astronauts to the ISS. Elon has tweeted though he is hoping to get ten flights from this booster before retiring it. For those keeping score only one booster has flown six times so far, and two first stage booster have flown five times and successfully landed, and several boosters making three or four flights to space and then becoming unable to land safely, or crashing at sea near the autonomous drone ship. Unfortunately during liftoff the logo is not visible due to the super cooled fuel loaded inside making a frost outside the rocket. In the picture to the right you can see what looks like smoke billowing off the rocket. This is actually steam and ice breaking away as the rocket ignites and movement causes chunks to break away.