SpaceX will launch 54 of its Starlink broadband satellites to orbit and land a rocket on a ship at sea on Saturday (Aug. 27), and you can watch the action live.
A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying 54 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida Saturday at 10:22 p.m. EDT (0222 GMT on Aug. 28). Watch it here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company (opens in new tab). Coverage will start about five minutes before liftoff.
A little less than nine minutes after launch, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come down to Earth for a landing on the SpaceX droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos
It will be the second launch and landing for this Falcon 9 first stage. The booster also helped send a robotic Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station last December, according to a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab).
Meanwhile, the Falcon 9’s upper stage will continue hauling the Starlink satellites skyward, eventually deploying all 54 them into low Earth orbit 15 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff,
Saturday night’s launch will be the 38th of 2022 for SpaceX, extending the company’s record for most orbital missions in a calendar year. It will be the 24th mission of the year devoted to Starlink, SpaceX’s internet megaconstellation.
SpaceX has big plans for Starlink, as that aggressive launch cadence shows. On Thursday (Aug. 25), for example, Elon Musk announced a deal with T-Mobile to use Starlink to beam connectivity directly to smartphones.
That direct-to-handset service is expected to debut next year. It will employ Starlink Version 2 satellites, which will be much bigger and more capable than the Starlink satellites SpaceX has launched to date.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).