Barring delays, SpaceX appears to be on track to launch a batch of 60 Starlink satellites and perform a fifth high-altitude Starship flight test mere hours apart on Tuesday, May 4th.
Around 1am on May 3rd, SpaceX completed a successful wet dress rehearsal (WDR) and static fire test with Falcon 9 booster B1049, an expendable upper stage, and the latest stack of Starlink satellites. Around eight hours later, as per usual, SpaceX confirmed via social media that the test was a success and that its 25th operational Starlink mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than 3:01 pm EDT (19:01 UTC) on Tuesday, May 4th.
Simultaneously, after a handful of delays, SpaceX also appears to be on track to attempt the first launch of a Starship with “hundreds of improvements” sometime between ~1pm and ~8pm CDT (18:00-01:00 UTC) on the same Tuesday.
Starlink-25 will be SpaceX’s second daylight Falcon 9 launch in months – rare as of late due to arcane specifics of the constellation’s orbital mechanics. Aside from generally offering a much better view of the launch, Starlink-25’s 3:01 pm EDT launch target means that Falcon 9 and Starship SN15 could technically launch at the exact same time in Florida and Texas.
While it’s unlikely if SpaceX would actually allow truly simultaneous launches and unclear if such a thing is even possible, it is possible that SpaceX could launch Starship SN15 at some point in the ~50 minutes Starlink-25 will be quietly coasting in orbit. More likely, though, SpaceX will use Starship SN15’s eight-hour window and wait until Starlink-25 is complete unless some kind of encroaching weather system shrinks that window to a few hours.
That still means that Starlink-25 and Starship SN15 could launch less than six hours apart, though it’s far more likely that the experimental rocket prototype will suffer minor delays and grow that gap to a day or two. Additionally, SpaceX itself cautions that it’s “keeping an eye on weather in the [Starlink-25] recovery area,” meaning that conditions at sea could also delay the Starlink launch a day or two.
Ultimately, it looks likely that both rockets will launch before the week is out. Stay tuned to find out just how ‘back to back’ they’ll actually be.
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