SpaceX is set to launch its fifth batch of Starlink internet satellites on Monday, Feb. 17. Liftoff is scheduled for 10:05 Eastern (15:05 UTC) from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The mission will feature the fastest turnaround time to-date of a Falcon first stage booster.
The first stage booster for this weekend’s Starlink mission is serial number B1056. The flight will be the core’s fourth mission.
The booster’s most recent launch was JCSAT-18/Kacific1, occurring on Dec. 16 at 19:10 Eastern. Thus, less than 63 days will have elapsed between the third and fourth flights of B1056.
This will be a new first stage turnaround record for SpaceX.
The company’s previous record was a 72-day turnaround of Block 4 booster B1045 between the TESS and CRS-15 missions for NASA in 2018.
B1056 launches JCSAT-18/Kacific1 on Dec. 16. Credit: Michael Baylor for NSF
A 63-day turnaround will move SpaceX closer to the current all-time record for an orbital-class launch vehicle. Space Shuttle Atlantis is the current record holder, with only 54 days between the launches of STS-51J and STS-61B.
With SpaceX getting increasingly better at reusing rockets, it is seemingly only a matter of time before the company beats Atlantis’ ...