More than 700 Starlink satellites are already zipping around the planet and the internet-beaming constellation will grow by another 60 today. SpaceX is targeting Thursday afternoon for what will be the company’s 15th Starlink mission to date. The launch comes just four days after a Falcon 9 rocket carried the last batch of 60 satellites into orbit.
Weather permitting, the newest batch will launch after 5pm BST (4pm UTC) from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida.
However, the latest weather forecasts suggest the launch could be touch and go.
SpaceX tweeted earlier today: Targetting Thursday, October 22 at 12.14pm EDT for Falcon 9’s launch of Starlink SLC-40 in Florida.
“Keeping an eye on weather; current forecast is 50 percent favorable for liftoff.”
How to watch the SpaceX launch today:
SpaceX is pencilled in to blast off at 5.14pm BST (12.14pm EDT).
The Starlink payload will be carried aboard SpaceX’s signature Falcon 9 rocket, which flew on two previous missions.
You can watch the mission in the embedded YouTube video player above.
Simply hit play about 15 minutes before liftoff to see some of the pre-launch activities.
Should poor weather scupper today’s mission, a backup window will open tomorrow at 4.53pm BST (11.53am EDT).
Follow Express.co.uk for the latest SpaceX news and launch updates.
SpaceX said: “Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported the GPS III Space Vehicle 03 mission in June 2020 and a Starlink mission in September 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.”
The Falcon 9 booster will return to Earth about eight minutes into the flight.
Then, about one hour and three minutes into the mission, the Starlink satellites will deploy.
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The satellites will then slowly coast into their target orbits, expanding SpaceX’s Starlink mega-constellation.
Earlier this month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, 49, teased the internet-beaming network will soon go live in parts of North America.
The goal of Starlink is to provide high-speed broadband access to every corner of the globe through a constellation of at least 12,000 satellites.
The network has already been tested in some limited capacity in the US.
SpaceX said: “Earlier this week, Ector County Independent School District in Texas announced their participation in a pilot program to help local students and their families access high-speed, low-latency internet.
“Similar to other rural communities, many residents of Ector County have limited to no connectivity.
“This issue was brought to the forefront for the school district earlier this year when COVID-19 forced school building closures and nearly two in five students did not have access to reliable high-speed internet at home.
“Starting in 2021, Starlink will connect up to 45 households in the community as part of the pilot programme.
“As network capabilities continue to grow, it will then expand service to an additional 90 households in the school district.”
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