The constellation of Starlink satellites will gain more craft if a Falcon 9 rocket launches as planned Sunday from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
Liftoff of the Falcon rocket, built by Space Exploration Technologies, is scheduled for 8:47 a.m. Sunday from Space Launch Complex-4 on the South Base.
If the mission misses the first window, a second launch opportunity will occur at 12:45 p.m Sunday.
Mariners have been warned to remain off the ocean near the launch site between 5:27 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.
Pilots have been warned to stay out of area between 8:12 a.m. and 1:46 p.m.
SpaceX typically has an instantaneous window to get off the ground so the satellites can be placed where they are needed in space.
Unfavorable weather or technical troubles can cause delays of rocket launch attempts.
If the countdown is delayed a day, a backup launch availability exists for Monday but will be slightly earlier. The two opportunities occur at 8:34 a.m. and 12:31 p.m. Monday.
For Starlink missions, SpaceX typically plans to land the first-stage booster on a droneship, dubbed “Of Course I Still Love You,” positioned in the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles from the Central Coast.
That means residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties won’t hear the sonic booms that accompany a first-stage return to land at Vandenberg.
The first-stage booster has already carried spy satellites, a NASA spacecraft and other Starlink satellites into orbit.
For this flight, the rocket will carry 49 Starlink satellites plus D-Orbit’s ION SCV009 Eclectic Elena mission, according to SpaceX.
Starlink involves thousands of satellites designed to deliver Internet access to remote areas of the world, especially regions where the land-based service isn’t available or reliable.
It will be the second of three planned Starlink missions with the other two from Florida. The first blasted off Thursday morning with another planned for early next week from there.
Vandenberg has restricted access, but several locations around the Lompoc Valley provide views of the launch and landing sites, which are 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.