SpaceX is ready to launch a payload of 58 new Starlink , alongside three Earth-observing Planet Labs spacecraft. More importantly, however, the launch marks the California-based company’s 100th mission. The Falcon 9 booster rocket used tomorrow has also served SpaceX on five previous missions.
The booster flew on three Starlink missions and two private missions.
SpaceX said: “Falcon 9’s booster supporting this mission previously launched Telstar 18 VANTAGE, Iridium-8, and three separate Starlink flights.”
The 229ft-tall (70m) Falcon 9 is pencilled in to blast off tomorrow at 3.31pm BST (10.31am EDT).
The rocket will fly from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
How to watch the SpaceX launch live online:
On Monday, SpaceX was given a 70 percent chance of favourable weather during launch.
Primary concerns involve strong winds and rains that could derail the mission.
If the mission gets scrubbed, a backup window should open on Wednesday.
SpaceX tweeted: “Targeting Tuesday, August 18 at 10.31am EDT for Falcon 9’s launch from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida of 58 Starlink satellites and three @planetlabs spacecraft.”
SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship
Weather permitting, you will be able to watch the launch in the embedded video player above.
SpaceX broadcasts all of its launches live on YouTube and its website.
The streams typically kick off about 15 minutes before liftoff.
Before the launch, you can relive SpaceX’s last Starlink mission here.
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After the Falcon 9 completes its flight into space, SpaceX will attempt to recover the booster rocket.
The payload fairing used on the mission previously served on SpaceX’s fourth Starlink launch.
SpaceX said: “Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the fourth launch of Starlink.
“Planet’s SkySats will deploy sequentially beginning about 12 and a half minutes after liftoff, and the Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 26 minutes after liftoff.”
As of August 7, SpaceX has launched 597 Starlink satellites into orbit.
The goal is to develop a global network of internet-beaming satellites.
The full constellation is expected to number at least 12,000 units, although SpaceX has explored the possibility of expanding the fleet by another 30,000 satellites.
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