SpaceX launches 49 Starlink satellites and lands a rocket on Sunday: watch live
SpaceX will launch more than four dozen satellites and land the return rocket on Monday (February 21), and you can watch the action live.
A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket topped by SpaceX’s 49 Stellar Link The broadband spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Sunday at 9:44 a.m. EST (1444 GMT). You can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company. SpaceX’s webcast will begin approximately 15 minutes before launch.
The launch plan includes a rocket landing: About nine minutes after liftoff, the The Falcon 9s The first stage will return to Earth for a vertical landing on SpaceX’s droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida.
SpaceX had originally planned to launch the mission on Sunday, but delayed it by a day due to poor weather recovering that rocket. “Due to the weather recovery, we are now targeting Monday, February 21 at 9:44 a.m. EST for the Starlink launch,” SpaceX wrote on Twitter Saturday.
Related: Launch of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite megaconstellation in photos
Monday will be the 11th launch and landing of this particular Falcon 9 first stage, according to EverydayAstronaut.com. This will tie SpaceX’s reuse record, which was set by another Falcon 9 core. during a Starlink launch in December.
SpaceX has already launched three big Stellar Link batches this year – two in January and one on February 3. The most recent mission encountered serious problems, however, thanks to a solar flare, which triggered a geomagnetic storm here on Earth.
This storm increased atmospheric density, increasing drag from newly launched Starlink satellites. As a result, up to 40 of the 49 spacecraft came crashing back to EarthSpaceX representatives said.
SpaceX has already launched about 2,100 Starlink satellites into orbit, but the company is far from done. SpaceX has clearance to launch 12,000 Starlink craft and has sought clearance from an international regulator for up to 30,000 more.
Mike Wall is the author of “The low(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom Or on Facebook.