SpaceX Starlink Group 6-8 Launch

SpaceX plans to launch 22 Starlink V2 mini satellites into the Generation 2 Group 6 shell on 2023-08-07 at 01:00 UTC (this will be in the evening of August 6th in western hemisphere time zones). The launch will be from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The first stage booster, B1078, will be making its fourth flight, after a turnaround time of 64 days since its last mission. The operational orbit will be 530 km circular at 43°.

SpaceX appears to have added flexibility to their Starlink launches, announcing that for this mission:

If needed, there are up to four additional launch opportunities the same day starting at 9:50 p.m. ET (1:50 UTC) until 12:22 a.m. ET on August 7 (4:22 UTC). Up to five backup opportunities are also available on Monday, August 7 starting at 8:35 p.m. ET (00:35 UTC August 8) until 11:57 p.m. ET (3:57 UTC).

They may be simply opportunistically launching for the backup launch times to a different Starlink orbital plane (there are 28 such planes for satellites at the 43° inclination, of which a total of 3,360 are planned to be orbited), or allowing the orbital plane to precess as the orbit is raised to service altitude until it is in the originally planned plane. With this flexibility comes the disadvantage for SpaceX launch watchers that the announced time should be treated as “no earlier than”, with the launch being slipped to another opportunity in the window depending on the weather, resolving speed bumps in the countdown, or any other reason. Check the Webcast player for changes in the start time to keep track of launch time updates, and/or follow SpaceX on 𝕏, where they post launch time updates.

Here is a pre-flight preview from Everyday Astronaut.

Weather is not promising for an on-time launch, with the probability of violating weather constraints forecast as 70% at the start of the launch window, diminishing toward 20% near the end as afternoon/evening thunderstorms abate.