A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry another 51 Starlink satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Monday in one of three missions planned for the launch vehicle in less than 24 hours from both coasts.
Liftoff of the SpaceX rocket will aim for departure during an instantaneous window at 11:31 a.m. or 3:29 p.m. Monday from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.
However, it doesn’t appear that weather will cooperate. On Saturday, SpaceX said Monday’s forecast indicates a 70% chance that conditions won’t be suitable for a launch.
If the mission gets delayed for some reason, backup opportunities exist the next day, at 11:18 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.
The first-stage booster, which has flown 11 missions previously from both Vandenberg and Florida, will land on the drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You, positioned in the Pacific Ocean.
Deployment of the satellites will occur slightly more than 15 minutes after liftoff, according to SpaceX.
The upcoming mission will bring the total of Starlink satellites launched from Vandenberg to more than 200 — just since January.
So far, SpaceX has delivered more than 3,900 Starlink craft into orbit from both California and Florida.
Monday’s West Coast launch would follow a Falcon rocket for a NASA mission to carry a crew to the International Space Station with liftoff aiming for 10:45 a.m. Pacific time from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Twelve hours later, SpaceX intends to launch 21 next-generation Starlink satellites into orbit aboard a Falcon rocket set to blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. That rocket will aim for liftoff at 10:38 a.m. Pacific time.
If the schedule and weather cooperate, the Vandenberg rocket launch would occur less than an hour after the East Coast Starlink mission.
For those hoping to see the Vandenberg mission, the base has restricted access, but several locations around the Lompoc Valley provide views of the launch site, which is south of West Ocean Avenue/Highway 246.
The locations include west of Lompoc, the peak of Harris Grade Road, and near the intersection of Moonglow and Stardust roads.
Providence Landing Park, at 699 Mercury Ave. in Vandenberg Village, also is a popular gathering spot along with West Ocean Avenue west of the Lompoc’s city limits.
A live broadcast of the mission can be found about five minutes before the launch time on the SpaceX website or its YouTube channel.