SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sits on its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, in preparation for the launch of 60 Starlink broadband data satellites. (SpaceX Photo)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says tonight’s scheduled launch of 60 Starlink satellites is aimed at spreading “fundamental goodness” in the form of high-speed internet access for the billions of people who currently don’t have it.
The first full stack of Starlink satellites is packed in the nose cone of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that’s scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT). At roughly 18.5 tons, the total payload mass sets a record for a SpaceX liftoff, Musk said during a pre-launch teleconference with reporters.
Minutes after launch, the first-stage booster is due to separate and land itself on a drone ship called “Of Course I Still Love You,” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. Tonight’s twice-recycled booster was previously used for the Telstar 18 Vantage satellite launch last September and the Iridium 8 satellite launch in January.
About an hour after launch, the 500-pound, flat-panel satellites will be spun into low Earth orbit like playing cards ...