A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch for an unprecedented 15th time on Saturday (Dec. 17), and you can watch the record-breaking action live.
A Falcon 9 topped with 54 of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Saturday at 4:32 p.m. ET (2132 GMT). It will be the 15th launch for this Falcon 9’s first stage, setting a new reusability mark for SpaceX.
Watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company (opens in new tab). Coverage will begin about five minutes before liftoff.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 first stage will come back to Earth for the 15th time on Saturday. Just under nine minutes after liftoff, it will land on SpaceX’s Just Read the Instructions droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
The rocket’s upper stage will continue hauling the 54 Starlink craft to low Earth orbit, deploying them all about 15.5 minutes after launch, according to a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab).
Starlink is SpaceX’s huge and ever-growing constellation of broadband satellites, which beam internet service to people around the world.
The company has already launched more than 3,500 Starlink spacecraft to date and intends to loft many more. SpaceX applied for permission from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to deploy nearly 30,000 of its next-generation Starlink 2.0 satellites, which the company aims to loft primarily using its Starship deep-space transportation system. The FAA recently granted approval for 7,500 of those spacecraft but is reserving judgment on the rest.
Saturday’s launch will be the third in two days for SpaceX. On Friday (Dec. 16), a Falcon 9 launched the SWOT water-watching satellite for NASA from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base, and another lofted two satellites for European telecom company SES from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The SES mission was the 200th orbital launch for SpaceX, and the 191st for the Falcon 9. The other nine flights were by the now-retired Falcon 1 (five liftoffs between 2006 and 2009) and the still-active Falcon Heavy (four missions 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 Facebook (opens in new tab).