SpaceX will launch 60 Starlink satellites into orbit on Wednesday, the first step in the company’s plan to build a global satellite internet network.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, launching from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, will carry the satellites.
The first launch window is from a 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday until 12:00 a.m. Thursday. Failing that, a second launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday and closes at 12:00 a.m. ET Friday.
The livestream of the mission will start about 15 minutes before liftoff, and you can watch it below.
According to SpaceX, the Starlink satellites will be deployed approximately one hour and two minutes after liftoff, at an altitude of 440km, after which they will use onboard propulsion to reach an operational altitude of 550km.
After stage separation, SpaceX will once again attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
In a press kit document, SpaceX also shared some new details about the Starlink satellites. They have a flat-panel design with a single solar array and multiple high-throughput antennas, and weigh approximately 227kg each. They’re equipped with krypton-powered Hall thrusters, a Startracker navigation system, and they can automatically avoid collision with debris. Once they’ve done all they can do, 95 percent of components will burn in Earth’s atmosphere, which SpaceX says exceeds all current safety standards.
According to SpaceX, this mission pushes the limits of what the Starlink satellites can do, and that it expects to encounter issues on the way.
“Our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future,” the company said.