Watch SpaceX launch a new fleet of Starlink satellites on a used rocket today

CAP CANAVERAL, Fla .– SpaceX will launch its fourth Falcon 9 rocket of the month today (May 26) to transport a new fleet of Starlink high-speed satellites into space and you can watch the action live online.

Private spaceflight company to launch full stack of 60 Starlinks satellites on one of its latest rockets, a Falcon 9 called B1063. The frequent flyer is scheduled to take off from Space Launch Complex 40 here at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station here in Florida at 2:59 p.m. EDT (1859 GMT).

You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of SpaceX, starting about 15 minutes before takeoff. You can also watch the launch directly via SpaceX and on Youtube.

Related: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite mega-constellation launches in photos

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean mapping satellite takes off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on November 21, 2020. California on May 26, 2021. (Image credit: NASA TV)

Wednesday’s flight is the 16th Falcon 9 mission for SpaceX so far in 2021 – none of which has flown on a shiny new rocket. The mission, called Starlink 28, is the company’s fourth flight this month and will bring the total number of SpaceX high-speed satellites launched into orbit to 1,737.

SpaceX created its Starlink program in the hopes of providing high-speed internet access to users around the world and helping fund its deep space ambitions. The service is intended for users in rural or remote areas who have little or no connectivity, although anyone can use it.

The rocket performing the lift is one of the last members of SpaceX’s fleet – a booster called B1063. About to complete its second mission, the rocket’s previous flight launched the Sentinel 6 Michael Freilich ocean mapping satellite into space for NASA and the European Space Agency. This mission was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California in November 2020.

After a trip across the country, the booster is now ready to charge its second payload: a full stack of SpaceX Starlink satellites. Typically, the company registers its new boosters for paying customers, but with recent launches increasing, SpaceX was ready to put the B1063 to work.

To that end, SpaceX deployed the rocket to the pad on Monday evening, and set fire to the Falcon’s nine 1D Merlin engines as part of a pre-launch test. The rocket was held down on the cushion while its engines briefly ignited, allowing engineers to ensure it was functioning properly.

Static fire testing is a common part of SpaceX’s pre-launch procedures; However, the company has skipped this step for more than half of the Falcon 9s launched so far this year. This could be because most of the rockets launched so far this year have flown multiple times. It could also be because SpaceX is trying to maintain a fast launch pace, and having to do a static fire test before each one slows down the schedule.

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SpaceX created its Starlink program in the hopes of providing high-speed internet access to users around the world and helping fund its deep space ambitions. The service is intended for users in rural or remote areas who have little or no connectivity, although anyone can use it.

To date, the company has launched more than 1,600 flat-screen satellites into space. SpaceX estimated that it would need at least 1,440 satellites in its initial constellation to begin deploying commercial service. While that has yet to happen, the company is working on a commercial rollout later this year.

Before it could offer a commercial service, SpaceX was busy testing its Starlink program in a now global beta testing program called “Better than Nothing beta.” The company reports that more than 500,000 people have so far signed up for the service.

Potential users can pay a small deposit by signing up for the service now, through the Company Website. However, it may take a few months for the actual service to become available.

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Wednesday’s launch marks the 119th flight of SpaceX’s 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 booster, and if all goes according to plan, it will also be the 87th recovery of a Falcon 9 first-stage booster since the launch. company landed its first in December 2015.

SpaceX plans to land B1063 on the deck of one of its massive drone ships, named “Just Read the Instructions”.

The weather looks good for Wednesday’s take-off, forecasters from 45 Weather Squadron predicting a 90% chance of favorable launch conditions. The concerns relate to the potential for cumulus clouds. Officials also say sea conditions in the recovery area appear to be good.

There is a backup launch opportunity, if necessary, on Thursday May 27, with conditions deteriorating slightly to provide an 80% chance of good launch conditions.

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.




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