SpaceX plans to launch forty OneWeb Internet communications satellites on 2022-12-08 at 22:27 UTC. This will be the fourth flight of Falcon 9 booster B1069 with a turn-around time of 54 days since its last flight. The launch will be from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. Weather is currently forecast as 90% favourable for launch.
The satellites will be delivered into an initial polar low Earth orbit from which they will raise their altitude to the operational 1200 km circular orbit using their on-board xenon thrusters. This is the first SpaceX launch for OneWeb, which had previously launched on Soyuz boosters procured through Arianespace prior to termination of the Soyuz contract after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thirty-six OneWeb satellites which were scheduled for a Soyuz launch in March, 2022 remain stranded in Kazakhstan and have been written off by the company. On 2022-10-22, OneWeb launched 36 satellites on an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)) GSLV Mk III rocket. After this mission, three additional launches are planned to complete deployment of the OneWeb constellation: three are booked on SpaceX Falcon 9 and one on the ISRO GSLV Mk III.
This will be the eighth SpaceX launch to polar orbit from Florida, and the first from Launch Complex 39A. The payload and trajectory will permit the first stage booster to return to the launch site for a landing at Landing Zone 1. This flight represents a return to flight for Falcon 9 after the delay and roll-back of the booster planned to launch the HAKUTO-R M1 mission to the Moon on 2022-12-01. SpaceX said only that the delay and roll-back, and delay of the OneWeb mission, were for “further inspections of the launch vehicle and data review”. It’s possible something was found in post-flight inspection of a Falcon 9 booster that required inspection and/or repair to fleet boosters before their next flight.