Update at 12:20 PM ET on February 27: SpaceX has delayed the Starlink launch from Vandenberg to no later than Tuesday (February 28) and has pushed the launch in Florida to 6:13 PM EST (2313 GMT) tonight (February 27).
SpaceX plans to launch the first of a new generation of Starlink internet satellites tonight, and you can watch them live online for free.
Twenty-one of SpaceX’s new Starlink “V2 mini” satellites are scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 6:13 PM EST (2313 GMT) today, February 27, about five hours later than originally planned. , according to a SpaceX update. . The launch was originally one of two planned within two hours today (the second Falcon 9 was set to launch an older version of Starlink from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this afternoon, but that flight was delayed due to inclement weather.
You can watch the missions live here on SpaceX.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or live here across the company (Opens in a new tab).
Related: 10 strange things about SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites
As usual, the first stages of the Falcon 9 will return to Earth to make landing attempts about 8.5 minutes after each launch. This will be the third and twelfth launch, respectively, of the boosters flying today and ultimately the Vandenberg Falcon 9 launch, according to an astronaut every day (Opens in a new tab).
SpaceX has already launched Nearly 4,000 Starlink satellites (Opens in a new tab) For worldwide internet service, and more satellites to come: The company has regulatory permission to send up to 12,000 Starlink vehicles and has applied for approval to deploy nearly 30,000 satellites on top of that.
In December 2022, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SpaceX to deploy 7,500 Starlink 2.0 satellites into low-Earth orbit — far fewer than the 29,988 Starlink 2.0s that SpaceX applied for in 2020. The FCC granted limited approval “to the processing,” agency officials said in a statement. That time concerns about orbital debris and space safety.”
“Our work will allow SpaceX to begin deploying Gen2 Starlink, which will bring the next generation of satellite broadband to Americans across the country, including to those who live and work in areas traditionally unserved or deprived of ground systems”, which you can find here (Opens in a new tab). “Our work will also enable satellite broadband service around the world, helping to bridge the digital divide on a global scale.”
The 21 Starlink V2 minisatellites scheduled for launch Monday are a test suite for SpaceX’s Falcon 9; The full-size version of Starship 2.0 is optimized for SpaceX’s massive Starship Mars rocket, which is not yet operational.
Starlink 2.0 full-size satellites are larger and can do more than previous generations of Starlink, according to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. Each Spacecraft 2.0 weighs 1.25 tons (1,130 kilograms) and can send service directly to mobile phones; SpaceX has already announced its intention to do so in 2023 through a partnership with T-Mobile.
The two Starlink launches originally planned for Monday were supposed to be part of a triple header, along with NASA’s Crew-6 astronaut mission, which was scheduled to lift off early Monday morning. But Crew-6’s planned takeoff is canceled due to a ground system problem late in the countdown.
The next possible Crew-6 launch opportunity is Thursday (March 2) at 12:34 AM EST (0534 GMT).
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2 p.m. EST to reflect SpaceX launch time changes for the Starlink missions and the Crew-6 astronaut flight.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of “Why am I taller (Opens in a new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab) or Facebook (Opens in a new tab).