SpaceX plans to launch another big batch of its Starlink internet satellites and land a rocket on a ship at sea Friday, May 13, and you can watch the action live.
A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying 53 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Friday at 6:07 p.m. EDT (22:07 GMT; 3:07 p.m. local California time). If all goes as planned, approximately nine minutes after launch, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth for a precise landing on the SpaceX “Of Course I Still Love You” drone, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean. .
Watch it all here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos
Today’s flight will be the fifth launch and landing of this Falcon first stage – impressive, but far from a SpaceX record: three different Falcon 9 boosters have 12 missions under their belt.
SpaceX has launched nearly 2,500 Starlink satellites to date, many of them recently; So far, 11 of the company’s 18 spaceflights in 2022 have been dedicated Starlink missions. And SpaceX plans to launch another Starlink batch Saturday, May 14 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Such launches will probably be part of our lives for a long time to come. SpaceX plans to continue building the Starlink network, perhaps to truly staggering proportions; the next-generation version of the constellation could eventually include up to 30,000 satellites.
The current version of Starlink is quite functional, providing internet service to people all over the world.
Among its service areas is Ukraine. SpaceX has shipped thousands of Starlink terminals to the country to help maintain its communications infrastructure, which has been damaged by the ongoing Russian invasion of that country.
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.