Update: Due to the weather, SpaceX is now targeting the launch at 9:20 pm EDT (0120 GMT). SpaceX web sites will begin 5 minutes before liftoff. Webcast instructions are provided by AST SpaceMobile.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will fly at a record-breaking 14 hours on Saturday night (Sept. 10), launching 34 of the company’s Starlink internet satellites and a huge direct-to-space connectivity test engine to orbit.
Scene two Falcon 9will coincide with Starlinks and AST SpaceMobile’s Blue Walker 3 test satellite, scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Saturday 9:20 pm EDT (0120 GMT on Sept. 11). Watch here with Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company (Opens in a new tab).
The liftoff will be the 14th for this most Falcon 9 first stage, setting a new record for rocket reuse. According to a * SpaceX mission description (Opens in a new tab), the course also helped launch SpaceX’s first astronaut mission, the Demo-2 flight to the International Space Station (ISS), in May 2020; the ANASIS-II satellite for the South Korean military in July 2020; the CRS-21 robotic mission to the ISS in December 2020; Transporter-1 and Transporter 3 rideshare flights in January 2021 and January 2022, respectively; and eight Starlink missions.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation moves in photos
Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth because yet another entry was made on Saturday night. This will make the touchdown point above SpaceXBriefly about the Gravity drone in the Atlantic Ocean 8.5 minutes after liftoff, if all go according to plan.
The upper part of the rocket, meanwhile, will continue on its orbital path. They were approaching deployment of Blue Walker 3 under 50 minutes after liftoff and 34 Starlinks hours and 14 minutes later. All of this will require five engines burning — more than any other Falcon 9 mission, according to SpaceX’s mission description.
“One of our most complex missions,” the founder and CEO Elon Musk he said via Twitter Friday (Opens in a new tab) (Sept. 9).
Starlink It is a constellation of SpaceX, which already serves hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The company has launched more than 3,200 Starlink satellites so far and plans to launch more; has a license to put 12,000 Starlink satellites into orbit and has applied for a license for an additional 30,000 satellites.
In fact, yet another batch of Starlinks will go up this weekend, if all goes to plan: Falcon 9 carrying 54 Starlinks is scheduled to launch late Sunday night from the Cape Canaveral Space Station, which is next door to KSC.
Late last month, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced a deal with T-Mobile to provide direct connectivity of the smartphone Using Starlink Version 2 satellites, larger and more powerful variants are due to arrive in the next year. Saturday night’s launch will compare the device to the likes of Blue Walker 3.
Blue Walker 3 is a test satellite that will be operated by the Texas-based company AST SpaceMobile, which plans to build its own broadband cellular space network.
“We’re excited to see the industry’s excitement around the satellite-to-phone connectivity model we’ve been building for five years,” Scott Wisniewski, chief strategy officer at AST SpaceMobile, said in an emailed statement.
“Our launch of the BlueWalker 3 test satellite will be a major validation of this large and globally growing market opportunity,” he added.
BlueWalker 3 will feature a phased array antenna that covers 693 square feet (64 square meters) — the largest commercial communications array ever deployed in low Earth orbit, AST SpaceMobile representatives said in an emailed statement. A satellite can be brighter than all the night sky except the moon; The new Physicist reported (Opens in a new tab).
SpaceX has launched 40 orbital missions until 2022. Twenty-six of them were primarily involved in building the Starlink megaconstellation.
Mike Wall is the author of “There you go (Opens in a 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 a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (Opens in a new tab) or * Facebook (Opens in a new tab).