SpaceX is getting ready for today’s launch of the Starlink Mission, when 60 Starlink communications satellites will be sent into the orbit with the help of the Falcon 9 Rocket.
The company’s Starlink Mission is to provide global internet coverage from space, planning to send nearly 12,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit over the next four years and a half.
On his Twitter, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said about this first mission that “much will likely go wrong.” He also added that they would need six more launches carrying 60 satellites each to get a minor internet coverage and 12 more launches for a moderate coverage. Part of this mission’s goal is for the Starlink broadband constellation to help fund Musk’s dream of creating a colony on Mars.
According to SpaceX schedule, the launch will take place on May 15, from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
SpaceX Starlink Mission: May 15 Schedule
The launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. EDT (May 15), or 2:30 UTC (May 16), and should last until 12:00 a.m. EDT (May 16), or 4:00 UTC (May 16).
The live video will broadcast 15 minutes before the launch, and you can watch it live on SpaceX’s YouTube channel here:
The weather should be 80% in favor of the launch, but it something happens or needs to be delayed, the launch has a possible new launch window on Thursday, May 16.
The landing of the rocket will be on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone-ship which is now in the Atlantic Ocean.
After the launch, at nearly an hour and a couple of minutes, the Starlink satellites will deploy at an altitude of 440km, and use their own propulsion to get to the operational altitude of 550km.
SpaceX Has “plenty of capacity” to launch the Starlink system
The SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell, explained that outside the Starlink launches, the company will conduct other launches:
“This year, depending on customer readiness, we’ll launch between 18 and 21 times. I think next year, roughly the same, I think (we have) 16 to 20 missions on the manifest,” adding that SpaceX has “plenty of capacity to launch our Starlink system,” considering they can launch up to 40 Falcon rocket missions per year.