SpaceX faced another setback as poor weather conditions forced the cancellation of its Starlink satellite launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base. This marks the third time this week that SpaceX has had to scrub a launch, adding to the challenges faced by the aerospace company.
The scheduled launch, designated as the Starlink 7-13 mission, was intended to deploy a batch of Starlink satellites into orbit. However, launch teams reached the final minute of the countdown before ultimately deciding to stand down due to unfavorable weather conditions.
The next available launch opportunity is set for Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 5:17 p.m. PST (8:17 p.m. EST, 0117 UTC), providing hope for a successful launch after the weather clears.
The Falcon 9 first stage booster assigned to this mission, known as B1071, was poised to make its 14th flight. Previously, it supported the Starlink 7-8 launch on Dec. 8, 2023, showcasing SpaceX’s commitment to reusable rocket technology.
In the event of a successful launch, the booster is scheduled to return to Earth and land on the SpaceX droneship, “Of Course I Still Love You,” stationed in the Pacific Ocean. This would mark the 82nd landing on the droneship and the 211th overall successful droneship landing for SpaceX.
The decision to scrub the Starlink 7-13 launch came after strong ground winds hindered SpaceX and NASA’s attempt to launch NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Consequently, the PACE mission has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8, at 1:33 a.m. EST (0633 UTC).
If the Starlink 7-13 mission proceeds as planned on Wednesday night, it will contribute to several notable statistics, including the 14th launch and landing of booster B1071, the 65th SpaceX launch from SLC-4E, and the 296th Falcon 9 launch overall.
Additionally, it would mark the 82nd landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, the 270th Falcon 9 booster landing, and the 5th orbital launch from California in 2024. Moreover, it would represent the 11th SpaceX launch and the 25th orbital launch overall in 2024, highlighting the company’s extensive launch manifest for the year.
As SpaceX continues to navigate challenges posed by adverse weather conditions and technical considerations, the aerospace community remains eagerly awaiting the next opportunity for the successful deployment of Starlink satellites and other payloads into orbit.