SpaceX successfully sent an Italian surveillance satellite to orbit Monday and now has two launches lined up for Wednesday and Thursday, blasting off from opposite coasts.
Monday’s mission launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station carrying a COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite for the Italian Space Agency. Next, Elon Musk’s company will loft a spy satellite from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base for the National Reconnaissance Office on Wednesday at 12:18 p.m. PT. Then, a launch is scheduled to take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida the following day.
Previously, SpaceX had planned to do the NRO and Starlink launches in less than two hours of each other, but the latter has since been pushed to Thursday.
Things weren’t supposed to line up this way. Monday’s launch was originally planned for last week, but was pushed back a few days by poor weather. A Sunday evening attempt was then scrubbed at the literal last minute due to a cruise ship in the launch exclusion zone.
SpaceX’s launch director called it off with just over 30 seconds to go before engine ignition.
“Port Canaveral and Coast Guard confirm the cruise ship that violated yesterday’s SpaceX launch hazard area was Harmony of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship,” reports Emre Kelly of Florida Today.
Royal Caribbean did not respond to a request for comment.
The Starlink launch has also been pushed back a few times and was set to happen Monday, but Sunday’s scrub appeared to have postponed it again to Tuesday. On Tuesday morning it became clear it had been pushed back one more time, to Wednesday, and now it’s going up Thursday. Further delays are always possible, so this launch itinerary could be reshuffled yet again.
If the company does manage three launches as planned, it will be close to tying a record from December of three Falcon 9 flights in 69 hours.
Monday’s mission was the fourth of 2022 for SpaceX. The next two flights will be livestreamed starting about 10 minutes before launch. Check back for updates as the situation evolves.