SpaceX is building a megaconstellation of Starlink satellites to beam internet connection globally. The company is ready to launch a third Starlink mission this month to rapidly expand broadband coverage. SpaceX already launched 120 Starlink satellites over two Falcon 9 launches on March 4 and March 11, now, they are “targeting Sunday, March 14 at 6:01 a.m. EDT for Falcon 9's next launch of 60 Starlink satellites,” SpaceX announced. The upcoming mission will be the 22nd Starlink mission that will increase the constellation size to approximately 1,325 satellites orbiting Earth –the world’s largest broadband constellation. Company officials said that around 1,440 satellites could provide ‘moderate’ internet coverage. They target ‘near global' broadband coverage before this year ends. Overall, the megaconstellation will have over 12,000 satellites that will gradually be deployed to increase the network's capabilities. Starlink service is already in use in northern United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and soon in Germany and New Zealand. The service is available for preorder worldwide via Starlink.com. Depending on your location, the service could be available in your area before this year ends. SpaceX founder Elon Musk says "most of Earth" will have broadband coverage "by end of year, all by next year, then it’s about densifying coverage."
This weekend’s Starlink mission will be conducted by a fleet veteran Falcon 9 rocket, production number B1051-8. “The first stage booster supporting this mission has completed eight flights to date,” SpaceX said. The booster previously launched SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission, RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and five Starlink missions. SpaceX plans to recover B1051-8 a ninth time by landing it on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ autonomous droneship, situated in the Atlantic Ocean. “Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the Transporter-1 mission,” the company shared.
Targeting Sunday, March 14 at 6:01 a.m. EDT for Falcon 9's next launch of 60 Starlink satellites. The first stage booster supporting this mission has completed eight flights to date https://t.co/bJFjLCzWdK pic.twitter.com/aTNacxYAiE— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 13, 2021
Reusing Falcon 9 booster’s and fairings decreases the cost of spaceflight. SpaceX aims to reuse a booster ten times, tomorrow’s launch gets the company closer to their reusability goal. To date, the most a particular booster has been reused is eight times. B1051-8 will liftoff for its ninth flight on Sunday morning from Launch Complex-39 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the 60 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit. The United States Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron forecasts a 90% chance of favorable weather for liftoff. You can watch the Starlink mission Live at 6:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday 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.