SpaceX plans to launch another batch of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit tonight (August 26), and you can watch the event live.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral in Florida Saturday at 9:05 p.m. EST (0105 GMT Aug. 27). The SpaceX launch will bring the total number of Starlink satellites launched to date to more than 5,000, according to astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell. (Toll It currently stands at 4,983.)
You can watch the takeoff live here on Space.com, free from SpaceX, or live across the company. Coverage is expected to begin about five minutes before launch.
Related: Starlink space train: How to see and track it in the night sky
The first stage of the Falcon 9 will return to Earth on Saturday, if all goes according to plan: It’s set to land on a SpaceX drone ship, just read the instructions about 8.5 minutes after liftoff.
This will be the third launch and landing of this particular booster, according to A SpaceX mission description.
The Falcon 9 upper stage will continue to fly, eventually deploying 22 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) about 65 minutes after launch.
Starlink’s launch Saturday will follow another SpaceX mission from Florida’s Space Coast: The company aims to launch a Crew-7 mission of four astronauts toward the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center early Saturday morning. Crew-7 was scheduled to lift off from Earth on Friday morning (August 25), but SpaceX pushed it back 24 hours for further analysis.
Five thousand Starlink satellites is a sure thing, but that number is likely to grow a lot in the future. SpaceX has permission to deploy 12,000 Starlink spacecraft into low Earth orbit, and has applied for permission to deploy about 30,000 more on top of that.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the new launch date of August 26th. SpaceX was targeting August 25th for the Starlink launch.
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