Tonight, SpaceX will continue to expand its constellation of Starlink satellites to provide global broadband internet. The company will be launching a rocket from Florida, and the launch will be streamed live so you can watch along from home.
What to expect from the Starlink launch
A Falcon 9 rocket will be launching a batch of 52 Starlink satellites in addition to two other payloads: A Capella Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, and a smallsat from a California company called Tyvak-0130.
As is typical for SpaceX missions, several parts of the Falcon 9 rocket in this launch have been used before in previous missions. SpaceX seems to have cracked the reusable rocket concept, having recently used a Falcon 9 rocket booster on its 10th mission, which was the company’s long-stated goal for reusability.
For this Starlink mission, the booster being used has been on several previous missions. As SpaceX writes, “The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that supported this mission previously launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and three Starlink missions.”
In addition, both halves of the fairing being used have flown on previous missions, with one half used in the SXM-7 mission, and the other used in the NROL-108 mission.
How to watch the Starlink launch
The launch is scheduled to take place at 6:54 p.m. ET (3:54 PT) on Saturday, May 15, from from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If weather or other conditions prevent the launch from going ahead, there is a backup window tomorrow, Sunday, May 16. However, the weather at Cape Canaveral is predicted to be fine and sunny today, so it looks likely that the launch can go ahead as planned.
SpaceX will be livestreaming the launch so you’ll be able to watch it live. This includes the last-minute preparations before launch, the launch itself, the landing of the Falcon 9’s first stage on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean, and confirmation of the deployment of the Starlink satellites and other payloads.
You can watch the livestream either on SpaceX’s YouTube channel or by using the video embedded at the top of this page. The livestream is set to begin around 15 minutes before the launch takes place, so that’s around 6:40 p.m. ET (3:40 p.m. PT).