SpaceX poised to launch 21 new Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX will launch another batch of its Starlink internet satellites to orbit early Tuesday (Sept. 12), and you can watch the action live.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch 21 more Starlink internet satellites from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base Tuesday at 2:57 a.m. EDT (0657 GMT; 11:57 p.m. Sept. 11 local California time). 

You can watch it live via SpaceX. Coverage is expected to start about five minutes before liftoff.

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

The Falcon 9’s first stage is expected to return to Earth for a landing in the Pacific Ocean, on the SpaceX droneship Of Course I Still Love You, about 8.5 minutes after launch. 

This will be the 11th launch and landing for this first-stage booster, according to the SpaceX mission description on the company’s website.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage is scheduled to deploy the Starlink satellites about 62 minutes after liftoff.

a black and white rocket stage rests on the deck of a ship at night.

The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rests on the deck of a drone ship shortly after launching 22 Starlink satellites on Sept. 8, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Tuesday morning’s launch will be the 64th of 2023 for SpaceX, which is blowing past the record it set last year with 61 launches. 

SpaceX is outpacing the rest of the world in space missions this year, with the majority of its launches supporting the company’s Starlink megaconstellation. 

The total number of operational Starlink satellites in orbit currently exceeds 4,600, according to astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who tracks the constellation on his website, and SpaceX hopes to increase the number to as many as 42,000 over the long haul.

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