CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - SpaceX has delayed its next launch of Starlink satellites targeting no earlier than Sunday, February 7.
The space company tweeted on Thursday that its next Falcon 9 rocket will liftoff at 4:31 a.m. from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.
That mission was planned for Friday morning but is being postponed, "to allow time for pre-launch checks and recovery vessels to get on station after offloading fairing halves from a previous mission." The weather could be an issue on Sunday, however.
SpaceX successfully launched a Starlink mission early Thursday morning. A Falcon 9 rocket soared over Cape Canaveral just after 1 a.m., carrying with it a payload of 60 communications satellites. The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 marked the18th Starlink mission for SpaceX.
Minutes later, the Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Starlink satellites are part of an ongoing mission to create a space-based broadband network that would be available worldwide.
"With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite Internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable," SpaceX says.
Sixty briefcase-sized satellites are launched at a time, then released one after another. They use low-powered thrusters to slowly space themselves out, a process that takes several months.
SpaceX says there are now hundreds of Starlink satellites in orbit, the largest constellation of artificial satellites. The plan is to eventually have thousands of small satellites in orbit.
Their orbits can be tracked online on various websites, including Starflare.com.
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