SpaceX Rocket Launch at Vandenberg to Mark West Coast’s First for Starlink Satellites | Local News
The Space exploration technologies The rocket aims for takeoff at 8:55 p.m. from Space Launch Complex-4 on the south base with the vehicle heading south from the central coast.
The mission has an instant window so that the satellites can be placed in a precise orbit.
Falcon will carry a collection of Starlink spacecraft, developed by SpaceX, to join a constellation along with hundreds of others launched from Florida to create a satellite internet.
After completing its task, the Falcon rocket first stage thruster will return to Earth, landing on the “Of course, I still love you” droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean south of the central coast.
A landing at Vandenberg can be seen and heard from the sonic booms, but the return of the drone is unlikely to create the same spectacle for Central Coast spectators.
This won’t be the booster’s first flight, having already flown missions from both coasts.
Both segments of the rocket’s payload shroud, or nose cone, have also supported previous missions, according to SpaceX.
The rocket will carry around 50 Starlink satellites designed to provide high-speed Internet service across the globe, with the new spacecraft joining more than 1,600 already in orbit after more than two dozen launches from Florida.
The Starlink constellation has attracted attention periodically as the “train of satellites” moves across the sky, prompting questions on social media about the sighting.
“These are Starlinks V1.5 with inter-satellite laser links, which are needed for high latitudes and mid-ocean coverage,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said recently.
Starlink is one of several constellations designed to work with hundreds of satellites, raising concerns about space debris in the industry.
Although access to Vandenberg is restricted, the launch should be visible around the Lompoc Valley and the rest of the central coast as the rocket rises. The locations around the Lompoc Valley also offer views of the launch site, which can be seen looking south from Ocean Avenue (Hwy 246).
Popular viewing sites include along Ocean and Central Avenues west of Lompoc, the top of Harris Grade Road, and near the intersection of Moonglow and Stardust Road in the village of Vandenberg.
If the launch is delayed by 24 hours, the next liftoff would be at 8:56 p.m., according to SpaceX.
The last West Coast Falcon rocket launch was in November when the thruster was carrying a Nasa satellite in orbit.
A live webcast of the Starlink mission will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to launch and can be viewed by clicking here.