X

SpaceX Starlink launch today is first space mission of 2022: How to watch

The latest Falcon 9 flight will bring the total number of satellites launched to just under 2,000.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects. CNET's "Living off the Grid" series. https://www.cnet.com/feature/home/energy-and-utilities/living-off-the-grid/ Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
2 min read
starlink-in-space-cropped-for-door.png

A stack of Starlink satellites being deployed.

SpaceX

The first orbital launch of the new year blasts off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to carry 49 of the company's Starlink satellites beyond the planet. 

This latest batch will put the total number of the orbiting routers launched over the past few years at just under 2,000, although it's estimated that less than 1,800 are still in orbit today due to a few failures and disposal of early versions of the hardware.

The first-stage booster that will be used for this mission will be making its fourth flight. Its most recent trip to orbit was in support of Inspiration4. After liftoff it will separate from the second stage and return for a landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas stationed in the Atlantic. 

SpaceX completed 31 rocket launches in 2021, a new commercial space record. There's plenty more on the agenda for 2022 for both Falcon 9 and Starship, the next-generation vehicle SpaceX founder Elon Musk is building to take humans to the moon and Mars and which he hopes to see make its first orbital test flight as early as March. The company plans to transition to launching Starlink with Starship, allowing for a greater number of satellites to be deployed in a single mission.

A rideshare mission with a number of small satellites aboard a Falcon 9 is also planned for next week.

Thursday's launch is set for 1:49 p.m. PT, and you can watch it here via the feed below, which is set to start about 20 minutes prior to liftoff.