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SpaceX, Falcon 9 to Utilize a "Diagonal Liftoff" Profile for Next Starlink Launch


SpaceX is known for pushing the limits of their Falcon 9 rocket during Starlink launches, and it appears they have found another way to innovate. As early as the next Starlink launch (which is scheduled for May 26th), Falcon 9 will launch in a diagonal orientation. This would be similar to a sounding rocket launch, where they use the strongback to tilt the rocket to its desired attitude. We reached out to Falcon 9 Principal Integration Engineer Jon Ihnsprucker, for comment:

"This new launch profile will enable us to skip the first 30 seconds of gravity turn, making it easier for our software engineers to program. If this technique proves successful, we will try and implement it to all launches, including military, government, and commercial launches. We are still debating whether or not to attempt this with crew, however it shouldn't pose any significant risk to the capsule."

We also spoke with a representative of Sirius XM, who will be launching their SXM-8 satellite later this month with SpaceX. The representative, which chose to be anonymous, said:

"We might have to switch our launch vehicle over to ULA's Atlas V after this new development; we can't risk another loss of payload like we did with SXM-7."

SpaceX did not comment on Sirius XM's statement.

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