SpaceX's busy Saturday will see rocket launches on both coasts

All told, the company is actually going for three launches in the span of about three days.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack
2 min read

A Falcon 9 blasts off at night. 


SpaceX plans to start and end its Saturday with a Falcon 9 launch. 

The next batch of SpaceX Starlink satellites leaves this planet via Falcon 9 from California in the early morning hours, and another of Elon Musk's rockets is set to loft a Turkish communications satellite from Florida less than 20 hours later. 

SpaceX has previously pulled off two launches within about 48 hours of each other, but this would set a new mark for busy days for the company. 

The company was previously targeting Friday morning for the Starlink launch but announced late Thursday that launch is now planned for 1:24 a.m. PT on Dec. 18. The mission will deliver 52 flying routers to low Earth orbit. 

Most Starlink and other SpaceX launches take place from Cape Canaveral, Florida, but this Starlink mission will be the odd one that blasts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The Falcon 9's flight path will hug the Pacific coast as it boosts the satellites for deployment from the rocket's second stage about 15 minutes after launch. By that time, the first-stage booster should already have completed its landing on a droneship in the Pacific.

On the earthbound side of Starlink, SpaceX has already shipped over 100,000 Starlink internet terminals to customers around the world. The service is intended to offer high-speed internet access to just about any location. Musk hopes Starlink will be a key revenue source to fund his magnum opus of sending scores of humans to Mars. 

The launch of TurkSat 5B, which will expand broadband coverage for Turkey and parts of the Middle East and Africa, is scheduled for 7:58 p.m. PT (10:58 p.m. ET) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 

But that wont be the end of pre-holiday launch activity for SpaceX. 

Early Tuesday, a Falcon 9 will send a Dragon capsule loaded with supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station. 

Both of Saturday's launches will be streamed live via SpaceX. Coverage typically starts about 10 minutes before launch.