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Weather clears as SpaceX launch marks 40th for Space Coast this year – Orlando Sentinel

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (SpaceX)
After weather stymied four launch attempts during the week, SpaceX managed to send a Falcon 9 into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday night.
The weather forecast had been poor leading up to the attempt, but things cleared out before the 8:18 p.m. liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 for the rocket carrying 54 of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. Poor conditions scrubbed attempts for four nights in a row from Tuesday-Friday,
The video stream of the launch showed a halo rainbow form as lit up the night sky of the Space Coast.
It marks the 40th launch for the Space Coast from both Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral for 2022 coming during the 38th week of the year. That includes now 33 SpaceX Falcon 9, five United Launch Alliance Atlas V and two Astra Space rockets.
The first-stage booster for this flight made its sixth launch with a successful landing in the Atlantic Ocean on SpaceX’s droneship Just Read the Instructions.
SpaceX had last weekend sent up 34 of its Starlinks and a satellite for company AST SpaceMobile from KSC. After that successful launch, Space Launch Delta 45 commander Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy, who took over the role in late 2020, congratulated the Space Force and Air Force members who supported the mission.
“New leadership often comes with new ideas, but the perspective and ambition carries for generations,” wrote Gen. Purdy on Facebook. “In 2017, Space Launch Delta 45, known then as the 45th Space Wing, put into motion the ‘Drive to 48.’ The goal was to support 48 launches within 12 months on the Eastern Range. In 2018, Space Launch Delta 45 supported 24 launches and now, just four years later, we have not only met that goal, but surpassed it.”
Purdy noted that launch was the 50th within 12 months dating back to September 2021.
“‘Drive to 48′ is now in the rearview mirror, as we look ahead to even greater things and significantly more launches from the Space Coast,” he said. “We will continue to lead the way for assured access to space for the nation and the warfighter. Thank you to the Airmen and Guardians of SLD 45. Another milestone has been checked thanks to your hard work!”
The two Space Coast launch sites saw 37 launches in 2021, and that was equaled at the end of August. Before the end of the year, the Space Coast could see two other new rockets to launch with the first liftoff ever from Relativity Space’s 3-D printed Terran I rocket as well as the massive NASA Space Launch System rocket sending the Orion spacecraft to the moon. If both rockets lift off, then the Space Coast will have used six launch pads — both at KSC and four at CCSFS. Blue Origin may join the fray with its New Glenn rocket from yet another CCSFS launch pad in 2023.
Also on tap before the end of the year are two crewed missions from KSC on board SpaceX Crew Dragons — the Crew-5 launch to send astronauts to the International Space Station set to lift off as early as Oct. 3 and the civilian Polaris Dawn mission on tap for December commanded by billionaire Jared Isaccman who led and funded the Inspiration4 flight last year.
For SpaceX, which also uses Vandenberg Space Force Station in California, the launch was the 42nd Falcon 9 launch for the year, and 180th launch ever.
For Starlink, it’s the 63rd flight including 28 just this year since the first operational deployment in 2019, putting more than 3,300 satellites into orbit, according to statistics tracked by astronomer Jonathan McDowell.
The growing constellation is on target to reach its 4,408 target with about 20-25 more launches depending on how many are actively in orbit, although it’s looking for Federal Communications Commission approval to grow to about 30,000 with future launches on board its in-the-works Starship rocket.
SpaceX, which already blew past its then record 31 launches it had in 2021 in July, is on pace to hit as many as 60 launches before the end of 2022.
Follow Orlando Sentinel space coverage at Facebook.com/goforlaunchsentinel.
Copyright © 2022, Orlando Sentinel
Copyright © 2022, Orlando Sentinel

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Having worked on Entertainment, Technology, and Business for four years, Meenakshi finds solace in technology, and more so in covering it. She has worked with organizations like Hindustan Times and Bracecorp Publications (B2B publication). She loves to read novels, listen to music, and roam around places. She is the responsible person for our editorial lineup. You can reach Meenakshi at editor@thehoopsnews.com.