SpaceX to launch 23 satellites tonight on 2nd half of Starlink doubleheader

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch 23 Starlink internet satellites tonight (Oct. 29), on the second of two planned missions for the day.

A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station tonight at 7:45 p.m. EDT (2345 GMT). If the Falcon 9 can’t get off the ground on time, seven backup opportunities are available, from 8:17 p.m. EDT to 10:47 p.m. EDT (0017 to 0247 GMT on Oct. 30), according to a SpaceX mission description

You can watch the action live via SpaceX’s account on X (formerly known as Twitter). Coverage will start about five minutes before liftoff.

If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth for a vertical landing about 8.5 minutes after launch on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

It will be the eighth launch and landing for this rocket’s first stage, according to the mission description. 

The 23 Starlink satellites will deploy from the Falcon 9’s upper stage into low Earth orbit about 65.5 minutes after liftoff, if all goes according to plan.

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Tonight’s launch is the second half of a planned Sunday Starlink doubleheader. SpaceX  was scheduled to send 22 Starlink craft skyward from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base early Sunday morning. 

Starlink is SpaceX’s broadband megaconstellation, which beams internet service down to customers around the world. SpaceX has launched more than 5,000 Starlink satellites to LEO to date, and many more liftoffs are coming: The company has permission to deploy 12,000 of the spacecraft, and it has applied for approval for another 30,000 on top of that.

Source: Space.com

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