SpaceX plans to launch 21 of its Starlink satellites to orbit early Friday (Aug. 18), and you can watch the action live.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Friday at 3:30 a.m. EDT (0730 GMT; 12:30 a.m. local California time).
Watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company. Coverage is expected to begin five minutes before launch.
The Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth on Friday morning, if all goes according to plan: It’s scheduled to land on the SpaceX drone ship Of Course I Still Love You about 8.5 minutes after liftoff.
It will be the 15th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. That’s just one short of the company’s reuse record, which is held by two different Falcon 9 first stages.
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Friday morning’s liftoff was originally supposed to occur on Thursday (Aug. 17), when it would have been the second leg of a Starlink doubleheader: The company launched 22 of the broadband satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida late Wednesday night (Aug. 16). But SpaceX ended up pushing Thursday’s planned launch back by 24 hours.
SpaceX has launched nearly 5,000 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO) to date — a huge number to be sure, but likely just the beginning.
Elon Musk’s company already has permission to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites in LEO, and it has applied to an international regulator for approval to loft another 30,000 spacecraft on top of that.