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Trevor Mahlman

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SpaceX will try to launch its “Transporter-3” mission into low-Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday morning.

The rocket has a 29-minute launch window, opens at 10:25 a.m. ET (15:25 UTC), and weather conditions are forecast to be fair. This will be the company’s third rideshare mission in which it uses its Falcon 9 rocket to compete with smaller satellite launch companies.


The rocket will launch 105 different spacecraft for this mission. Among them are 44 “Superdove” satellites for the planet, what the company said will refill its current constellation, which creates an image of every landmass on Earth every day. The diverse manifest includes CubeSats, Microsats, PocketCubes and Orbital Transfer Vehicles for a mix of government and commercial customers. The satellites will be deployed over a period of about 90 minutes.

The combined mass of the payload is light enough that SpaceX will be able to make a land-based return of the Falcon 9’s first stage to its landing area along the Florida coast — the first in more than half a year. Nearby residents, therefore, will be able to enjoy both the launch and then a series of sonic booms approximately eight minutes after liftoff.

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For the launch, SpaceX is using a previously flown first stage that has a lot of experience. The rocket, initially used for a commercial crew demonstration mission in 2019, has since flown ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1 and five Starlink missions.

Upon launch, it will become the third Falcon 9 first stage that SpaceX has flown 10 times. Notably, this booster, number 1058, reached this 10-flight milestone in 594 days. The previous 10-flight rockets required 1,100 and 799 days, respectively. So SpaceX continues to reduce the time required between each first stage reuse, as Booster 1058 requires only two months between flights.

The company will start a webcast for the Transporter-3 mission about 15 minutes before liftoff.

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