Update for 2:50 pm ET: SpaceX has postponed the launch of its next Starlink mission until Tuesday, January 18, due to weather issues. See our updated story below.
A SpaceX rocket will launch a new fleet of the company’s Starlink internet satellites into orbit on Tuesday night (January 18) and you can watch it live online.
In what will be SpaceX’s third flight of 2022, the company will launch 49 Starlink satellites into space on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff is scheduled for 7:04 pm EST (0004 Jan 19 GMT).
The launch was originally scheduled for Monday night, but SpaceX postponed it by 24 hours due to weather conditions at the launch site and the Falcon 9 booster drone landing site in the Atlantic Ocean.
“With more favorable weather conditions for liftoff and booster recovery, we are now targeting Tuesday, January 18 at 7:04 p.m. ET for the launch of the Falcon 9 Starlink satellites,” SpaceX wrote in a Twitter update on Monday. in the afternoon. Current weather forecasts from the US Space Force predict a 95% chance of fair weather at the time of SpaceX’s Starlink flight launch on Tuesday, with high winds at liftoff the only concern.
You’ll be able to watch the launch here and on the Space.com home page, courtesy of SpaceX, about 15 minutes before launch. You can also watch it directly from the SpaceX website and on YouTube.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite mega-constellation launches in photos
(Image credit: SpaceX)
Tuesday’s launch will mark SpaceX’s second Starlink mission of 2022 following the Jan. 6 launch of another 49 satellites from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. A second SpaceX mission, called Transporter-3, launched 105 small satellites into orbit on Jan. 13 from a nearby pad at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, but did not carry any Starlink satellites.
The next launch will be the 36th dedicated Starlink mission for SpaceX, which has launched nearly 2,000 broadband Internet satellites since 2019. Since that first flight, SpaceX has steadily grown its Starlink mega-constellation to provide fast, reliable Internet service across anywhere on Earth. especially in remote and underserved regions. The initial constellation is expected to number some 4,400 satellites.
In 2021, SpaceX redesigned its Starlink satellites to include laser communications so they could better communicate with each other without using ground relays. Starlink satellites equipped with those laser systems will soon activate them, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote in a Twitter update on Saturday (Jan 15).
Musk also added that 1,469 of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are currently active, with 272 of them moving into operational orbits between 335 and 348 miles (540 and 560 kilometers) above Earth.
The Falcon 9 rocket that launched the Starlink mission on Tuesday has flown nine times before. It has launched six different Starlink missions, as well as the GPS III-3 satellite for the US military, the Turksat 5A satellite for Turkey, and the Transporter 2 rideshare mission, which launched 85 small satellites and three Starlink satellites.
The two payload fairings that make up the nose of the Falcon 9 have also flown on Starlink missions before. After launch, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth to land on SpaceX’s A Shortfall of Gravitas drone in the Atlantic Ocean so it can be refitted for future flight. SpaceX regularly reuses Falcon 9 boosters and cowlings as part of its reuse program to reduce the cost of its missions.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:50 pm EST to include the new launch date and time of Tuesday, January 18 for SpaceX’s next Starlink mission.
Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@ or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us on @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.
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