The Falcon 9 rocket that blasted SpaceX’s first-ever astronauts into space in May 2019 is about to lift off the launch pad again.
This time, however, the rocket will be carrying not humans but 60 Starlink internet satellites for deployment in low-Earth orbit.
The launch will take place at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Wednesday, April 7.
“The Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster supporting this mission previously supported the launch of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station,” SpaceX said in a message about the upcoming launch. The same booster also launched the ANASIS-II, CRS-21, and Transporter-1 missions, as well as two previous Starlink missions.
What to expect
First up, you’ll get to enjoy the spectacular launch. After that, look out for live footage showing the separation of the Falcon 9 rocket’s first and second stages. A short while later, you’ll get to see the first-stage booster land upright on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship waiting in the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll also get to see the 60 Starlink satellites drifting into orbit, and possible coverage of the capture of the rocket fairing parts in giant nets mounted on ships.
Wednesday’s launch will see SpaceX’s Starlink constellation grow to around 1,400 satellites following a string of deployments since the first one in 2019. The commercial space company led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is making progress with its broadband-from-space service, with a growing beta service already in operation in several countries around the world. The more satellites it deploys, the broader the coverage, though SpaceX is particularly interested in serving locations where internet access has been unreliable or unavailable.
How to watch
The launch is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 7 at 12:34 p.m. ET, with a backup opportunity available on Thursday, April 8 at 12:12 p.m. ET.
You can watch the event by hitting the play button on the video player embedded at the top of this page. Alternatively, the same livestream can be viewed on SpaceX’s YouTube channel.
To confirm the launch time and keep up with any developing situations, be sure to check SpaceX’s Twitter account. We’ll also include any updates here just as soon as we can.
In the meantime, take a moment to check out this compilation of all of the launches that took place last summer involving a range of rockets from around the world.