Update on February 27 at 12:20 pm ET: SpaceX delayed the Starlink launch from Vandenberg until Tuesday (Feb. 28) and pushed the Florida liftoff to 6:13 pm EST (2313 GMT) tonight (Feb. 27).
SpaceX plans to launch a new generation of Starlink Internet satellites tonight, which you can watch online for free.
Twenty-one of SpaceX’s new Starlink “V2 mini” satellites are scheduled to launch today, February 27, at 6:13 pm EST (2313 GMT) aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, about five hours later than originally planned, according to a SpaceX update. . A second Falcon 9 was scheduled to launch an older version of the Starling from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base this afternoon, but that flight was delayed by bad weather.
You can check out the work courtesy of SpaceX or directly on Space.com here through the company (opens in new tab).
Related: 10 Weird Things About SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Satellites
As usual, the Falcon 9 first stages will come back down to Earth about 8.5 minutes after each launch to make landing attempts. These will be the third and 12th launches, respectively, for the boosters flying today, following the eventual Vandenberg Falcon 9 launch. Astronaut everyday (opens in new tab).
SpaceX has already launched Almost 4,000 Starlink satellites (opens in new tab) More satellites are coming for internet service around the world: The company has received regulatory approval to launch 12,000 Starlink craft and has applied for approval to deploy nearly 30,000 more satellites.
In December 2022, the U.S. 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. concerns about orbital debris and space safety,” agency officials said at the time.
“Our action will allow SpaceX to begin deploying Gen2 Starlink, which will bring next-generation satellite broadband to Americans across the country, including those who live and work in areas traditionally underserved or underserved by terrestrial systems,” FCC officials wrote in the December decision order. You can find out Here (opens in new tab). “Our action will enable universal satellite broadband service, helping to close the digital divide globally.”
21 V2 mini Starlink satellites scheduled for launch Monday are a test suite for SpaceX’s Falcon 9; The full-scale version 2.0 spacecraft is optimized for SpaceX’s largest Starship Mars rocket, which is not yet operational.
According to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, the full-size Starlink 2.0 satellites are bigger and can do more than previous Starlink generations. Each 2.0 spacecraft weighs 1.25 tons (1,130 kilograms) and can transmit service directly to cellphones; SpaceX has already announced intentions to do so in 2023 through a partnership with T-Mobile.
The two Starlink launches scheduled for Monday will be part of a triple-header, with the Crew-6 astronaut mission for NASA scheduled to launch early Monday. But Crew-6’s scheduled liftoff was scrapped late in the countdown due to a ground-structure problem.
The next Crew-6 launch opportunity is Thursday (March 2) at 12:34 pm EST (0534 GMT).
Author’s note: This story was updated at 2 p.m. EST by SpaceX to reflect launch time changes for its two Starlink missions and the Crew-6 space mission.
Elizabeth Howell is co-editor of “Why am I tall? (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @HowellSpace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) Or Facebook (opens in new tab).