SpaceX Prepares To Launch Starlink-13 and Starlink-14 After The Record-Breaking Falcon 9 Booster

With a record-breaking Falcon 9 booster turnaround, SpaceX has added a further Starlink launch to its October manifest and plans to finance the project.
Several media outlets have recently reported that on October 18, SpaceX will attempt to launch Starlink-13, the 13th launch of operational v1.0 satellites and 14th overall launch, no earlier than (NET) 8:25 am EDT (12:25 UTC). informs two days later that SpaceX aims to launch Starlink-14 as little as three days later, planning to lift off NET on Wednesday , October 21st at 12:36 pm EDT (16:36 UTC).
At the same time, the eighth attempt to launch the NROL-44 spy satellite of the National Reconnaissance Office is scheduled for NET 10 pm EDT (02:00 UTC), October 23rd, by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket.
As a consequence, SpaceX and ULA seem to be doomed to butt heads again on the Cape Canaveral launch range in Florida, save for a (recent) unusual instance of two back-to-back on-time launches.
Originally scheduled to launch in June 2020, the NROL-44 launch of Delta IV Heavy slipped into August, finally landing on August 26. Thus a bizarre sequence of delays began.
On 27 August, pad pressurization systems were to blame for the first delay, followed by a rare post-ignition abort on 29 August.
Such an abort takes at least several weeks of rework for Delta IV Heavy and the next NROL-44 launch attempt came on September 26th, only to be aborted by problems with the umbilical ‘swing arm’ of the pad.
On September 28th, weather scrubbed another attempt, while a leak in a pad hydraulic system aborted the subsequent September 29th backup. Last but definitely not least, at T-7 seconds on September 30th, Delta IV Heavy experienced yet another last-second abort.
All the while, ULA’s NROL-44 mission took precedence over the range, ensuring that all other missions would be postponed by the US Air Force wing responsible for implementing range protection and providing weather forecasts until the ULA launch was either completed or significantly delayed.
ULA ‘s range priority led to many SpaceX Starlink and GPS III SV04 launch delays in September and early October, combined with temperamental weather.
Now, unless SpaceX manages to launch Starlink-13 and Starlink-14 right on time on October 18 and 21, as Delta IV Heavy takes the stage, anything more than a day or two of delays is likely to snowball into more delays.
If SpaceX manages to successfully launch Starlink-13 and Starlink-14 within the next two or so weeks, regardless of the schedule uncertainty and potential for delays, October will mark the first time the company has launched three Starlink missions in one month.

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