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SpaceX Falcon 9 Auxiliary Squadron Reunites for West Coast Starlink Launch

For the second time in a month, SpaceX has delivered a heavy-flying Falcon 9 booster from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the West Coast launch center.

The arrival of the Falcon 9 booster B1051 on June 24 at Vandenberg Air/Space Force Base (VAFB) may be the best sign, but SpaceX means it’s reaching almost instantaneously and maintaining an unprecedented launch pace. seen on the west coast in the last decade Just four weeks before the B1051’s second appearance at the California shooting range, the B1049 became the first Falcon 9 supporter to arrive at Vandenberg in more than half a year.

The arrival of the B1

051 means SpaceX now has two Falcon 9 boosters are set to support the polarized Starlink launched from Vandenberg – a launch that could begin next month. SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell first teased in April. Preparations for the July launch target have been going well for several months. Several key parts were quickly replaced at the same time.

A few weeks after Shotwell’s comments, SpaceX signed a lease for new dock space and rocket processing facilities. and moved the year-old West Coast recovery operation from the Port of Los Angeles to the adjacent Port of Long Beach facility shortly thereafter. Around May 27 Falcon 9 booster B1049. was carried to the VAFB.

On June 10, the Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) drone ship began a 5,000-mile (~8000 km) voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Port Long Beach, California, where Ultimately, the booster will be restored for hundreds of miles. Downgraded after launching a dedicated Polar Starlink. After waiting for several days in a nearby port The massive SpaceX recovery platform was passed through the Panama Canal aboard a larger carrier on June 25 and is now on its way to California – ETA: July 6.

Falcon 9 B1049 May 9 (Richard Angle)
Falcon 9 B1051 May 12 (Richard Angle)

When OCISLY arrived, the only real uncertainty left was preparing the drones for recovery operations after a long journey. and ensuring SpaceX’s VAFB SLC-4E launch pad is ready to go after six months of inactivity. That puts the Falcon 9 in stage 2, payload fairing, and satellite testing, delivery and integration. together This is a routine process for SpaceX after 30 successful Starlink launches.

With both the Falcon 9 boosters B1049 and B1051 in hand, SpaceX will be able to push the SLC-4E to its design limits with monthly Starlink launches. SpaceX’s West Coast Starlink launch campaign has achieved unprecedented success. at 61 and 38 days respectively, so they are unlikely to be affected by any additional service outages anytime soon.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Auxiliary Squadron Reunites for West Coast Starlink Launch

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