Watch SpaceX launch its first 60 Starlink satellites

The rocket company is taking a major step toward realizing its broadband satellite aspirations, flinging a hefty payload into orbit this evening.

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2 min read

Falcon 9 blasts off.


SpaceX is again gearing up to send the first 60 satellites in the Starlink megaconstellation to space. After multiple delays, the company said Monday that the new launch window will open Thursday night, May 23. Here's when and how to follow the historic mission live.

Starlink is SpaceX's satellite broadband project and will eventually see a total of 12,000 satellites swinging around the Earth to deliver internet to basically every corner of the globe. The first 60 test satellites are currently crammed into the payload pay of a Falcon 9, waiting for departure. You can brush up on Musk's aspirations for Starlink in our handy guide.

Watch this: SpaceX launches first batch of Starlink satellites

The launch window opens on May 23 at 7:30 p.m. PT and closes at midnight on May 24. Like last week, a backup launch window will open 24 hours later, on May 24 at 7:30 p.m. PT, should something go awry during the first launch window. The launch is taking place at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

If you want to follow along live, SpaceX is streaming a webcast of the launch. The broadcast will kick off 15 minutes before liftoff. You can watch that below:

The first 60 satellites will be dropped off at an altitude of approximately 270 miles (440 kilometers) above the Earth, if everything runs smoothly, and then they will gently propel themselves out to an orbit of about 340 miles (550 kilometers). The success of the mission will be with release of these satellites, which is scheduled to occur around one hour after launch, so don't tune out.

This will be the third time this particular Falcon 9 booster has ascended to space, according to SpaceX, with two previous flights coming in September 2018 and January 2019. As usual, SpaceX will try to land the booster rocket on a droneship in the Atlantic.

Musk has tried to temper expectations of this first, historic deployment of satellites, saying that "much will likely go wrong" and these first 60 satellites are a test, providing a demonstration of Starlink's future capabilities. Another six launches will be required before even "minor" coverage is offered.

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