SpaceX will launch 53 of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit early Thursday (February 2) for you to watch live.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 53 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday at 2:43 am EST (0743 GMT).
Watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company. (will open in a new tab). Lighting is expected to begin approximately five minutes before launch.
Related: 10 Strange Things About SpaceX Starlink Internet Satellites
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will make a vertical landing at sea on SpaceX’s A Shortfall of Gravitas drone about eight minutes and 45 seconds after launch.
According to the SpaceX mission description, this will be the fifth launch and landing of this particular booster. (will open in a new tab). The rocket also launched another large batch of Starlink satellites (the company did not say which one, but there were many); SpaceX CRS-24 cargo flight to the International Space Station in December 2021; Telecommunications satellite Eutelsat Hotbird 13F in October 2022; and flight OneWeb 1 in December 2022.
OneWeb 1 sent 40 Internet satellites into orbit for OneWeb. The London-based company signed launch contracts with SpaceX and the commercial arm of India’s national space agency after its deal to fly Russian Soyuz rockets fell apart last year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
SpaceX has already launched two missions for OneWeb; the second started Jan. nine.
Thursday’s launch will be SpaceX’s eighth in 2023 and the fourth year dedicated to Starlink, the company’s vast and growing constellation of broadband satellites.
SpaceX launches over 3,800 Starlink satellites (will open in a new tab) on a date. But the company has permission to launch 12,000 Internet ships and has applied for permission to deploy an additional 30,000 Starlink satellites on top of that.
All Starlink satellites to date have flown aboard Falcon 9 rockets, but that could change soon. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said the company will primarily rely on its massive Starship spacecraft to launch the next-generation larger Starlink 2.0 spacecraft.
Starship is still in development, but it could make its debut orbital test flight soon, perhaps by the end of February.
Mike Wall is the author of Out There (will open in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrations by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or facebook (will open in a new tab).