- SpaceX will send another 60 tiny Starink satellites into orbit tonight, and you can watch the launch live right here.
- The mission is scheduled to launch at 9:25 p.m. EDT and will be live-streamed on SpaceX’s YouTube channel.
- The Starlink mission is SpaceX’s future-looking attempt to build a grid of communication satellites around Earth.
SpaceX has had a busy week, but it’s not slowing down for anyone. The company is planning to launch another batch of 60 of its Starlink communications satellites into orbit tonight, and you can watch the whole thing live right here. The launch is scheduled for 9:25 p.m. EDT.
It was just this past Saturday that SpaceX and NASA launched the Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. It was a huge event for both the space agency and SpaceX, and Crew Dragon is now just one step away from securing the coveted certification that will allow NASA to use it whenever it needs to send humans into space.
But before Crew Dragon ever lifted off the launch pad, a SpaceX Starship prototype named SN4 was performing a static fire test when something went terribly wrong, resulting in the loss of the test vehicle. Well, “something went wrong” is underselling it a bit; SN4 exploded and there’s pretty much nothing left of it.
So, to say that the company has been busy would be an understatement, but the show must go on. SpaceX needs to continue to launch Starlink satellites into orbit if it has any hope of eventually offering communications services using the huge, planet-spanning grid of Starlink satellites it has planned for the future.
Tonight’s launch will see another 60 of those satellites shot into orbit at the same time. As is usually the case, SpaceX will be providing a live stream of the launch and deployment of the satellites. The stream will go live in the YouTube window above shortly before the launch, and SpaceX staff will provide commentary and additional details regarding the mission.
Much of the hardware being used for the launch has already seen service in space. SpaceX explains:
Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and two separate Starlink missions in May 2019 and in January 2020. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
There’s been no shortage of controversy regarding the Starlink missions, as astronomers and even amateur space fans have complained that the army of tiny satellites can obscure views of the cosmos from Earth. SpaceX responded by using a different paint coating on the satellites and orienting them in a way that doesn’t reflect as much light back toward Earth.