Update for April 26th at 9:50 AM EST (1450 GMT): SpaceX is now targeting no later than Thursday (April 27) to launch 46 Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket due to a “possible failed landing” during the April 26 attempt.
SpaceX plans to launch another large batch of its Starlink internet satellites and land the return rocket at sea on Thursday morning (April 27), and you can watch the event live.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 46 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California Thursday at 9:40 a.m. EDT (1340 GMT; 6:40 a.m. California local time) after an abortion due to landing concerns. Rocket on April 26th. The mission has also been delayed from April 25th.
Watch the launch live here at SpaceX, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company. Coverage is expected to begin about five minutes before take-off.
Related: Starlink satellites: everything you need to know
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 will return to Earth for landing about 8.5 minutes after liftoff, settling quietly on the deck of SpaceX’s Unmanned Ship Of Course I Still Love You, which will be stationed off the California coast.
It will be the thirteenth launch and landing of this particular booster, According to the SpaceX mission description (Opens in a new tab). While that number is impressive, it’s only slightly short of SpaceX’s booster reuse record of 15 flights.
Meanwhile, the Falcon 9 upper stage will continue to tow the 46th Starlink spacecraft into low Earth orbit, where it will deploy about 59 minutes after liftoff.
Starlink is SpaceX’s massive and ever-growing broadband aggregator. It currently consists of about 4,000 global satellites, but that number could eventually grow to more than 40,000.
Thursday’s launch will be the 27th orbital mission of the year for SpaceX. The company also launched a high-profile extraorbital mission last week — the first-ever test flight of a fully stacked rover, the giant vehicle SpaceX is developing to carry people and cargo to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
The Starship performed relatively well on the first flight, which lifted off from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in South Texas. The 394-foot (120-meter) craft reached a maximum altitude of 24 miles (39 kilometers) before experiencing several problems that prompted SpaceX to launch a self-destruct high into the skies over the Gulf of Mexico.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on April 26 to reflect the aborted launch attempt and the new mission objective, which will launch on April 27.
Mike Wall is the author of “outside (Opens in a new tab)Book (Major Grand Publishers, 2018; illustration by Carl Tate), a book about the search for aliens. Follow him on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab). Follow us @employee (Opens in a new tab)or in Facebook (Opens in a new tab) And Instagram (Opens in a new tab).