SpaceX is building a megaconstellation of Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit to provide high-speed broadband internet connection worldwide, primarily in places where traditional internet infrastructure is unreliable or unavailable. The Starlink constellation will have over 12,000 satellites. To date, SpaceX has deployed around 1,205 and plans on launching at least 120 satellites on a monthly basis. Earlier this month, on March 4, SpaceX launched 60 satellites and is now ready to deploy 60 more this week. UPDATE: SpaceX is "now targeting Thursday, March 11 at 3:13 a.m. EST for launch of Starlink – taking some additional time for pre-launch checks," the company announced today, March 9.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/DRBfdUM7JA— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 30, 2020
The historic Falcon 9 rocket booster that launched SpaceX’s first crewed flight in 2020 will launch the twenty-first Starlink fleet tonight. Instead of placing the historic booster featuring a red retro 'NASA worm' logo on display at a museum SpaceX has already reused it five times. The flight-proven Falcon 9 first-stage is identified as booster B1058-6. It first launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) on May 30 last year (video above), then it launched the ANASIS-II satellite for South Korea in July 2020. The booster also conducted SpaceX’s 21st resupply mission to ISS for NASA, as well as its first rideshare-dedicated Transporter-1 mission carrying over 100 spacecraft for different organizations, and a Starlink mission. B1058-6 will liftoff a sixth time tonight at 9:58 p.m. EST to launch more Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. “…Weather is looking good for launch and landing,” SpaceX announced.
SpaceX plans to recover the booster again, it is set to land on “Just Read the Instructions” autonomous droneship, waiting around 633-kilometers downrange in the Atlantic Ocean. Rocket reusability has enabled SpaceX to lower the cost of spaceflight and increase launch rate. SpaceX also shared that the 60 satellites are encapsulated inside previously-flown fairing halves. “One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the ANASIS-II and SXM-7 missions, and the other half previously supported launch of Sentinel-6A,” the company said. The fleet of 60 Starlink satellites will be released into low Earth orbit approximately forty-five minutes after liftoff. You can watch the twenty-first Starlink mission in the video below, courtesy of SpaceX [All dates are subject to change].
WATCH IT LIVE!
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.