SpaceX is continuing its busy year with another rocket launch, and this time it’s sending its own suite of communications satellites into Earth orbit that it hopes will facilitate the spread of high-speed internet networks into remote areas. The mission, called Starlink, requires the deployment of lots and lots of pint-sized satellites, and SpaceX will send a full 60 of them into space tonight.
As with most SpaceX launches, the company will be live streaming the entire event from start to finish. You’ll be able to watch the rocket launch, attempted return of the Falcon 9 to SpaceX’s drone ship, and eventually the deployment of the satellites themselves.
The launch window is scheduled to open at 10:30 p.m. EDT. Unlike with some other recent launches which had instantaneous launch opportunities, the Starlink launch will have exactly one and a half hours to get off the ground. If conditions aren’t perfect immediately after the launch window opens there’s still a chance things will clear up before the window closes.
You can watch the launch via the YouTube window right here:
SpaceX offers some additional details of what to expect in the launch summary:
Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately one hour and two minutes after liftoff, the Starlink satellites will begin deployment at an altitude of 440km. They will then use onboard propulsion to reach an operational altitude of 550km.
Things seem to be looking pretty good for SpaceX to be able to launch its Starlink mission today, but if things have to be delayed there’s a backup launch window already scheduled for Thursday at the same time.