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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch Starlink satellites on record-tying 19th mission tonight

SpaceX is set to tie its rocket-reuse record tonight (March 13).

A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch 23 of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites to orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida tonight, during a four-hour window that opens at 7:29 p.m. EDT (2329 GMT).

It will be the 19th liftoff for this Falcon 9’s first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. That will tie a mark set this past December and matched for the first time last month.

You can watch the launch live via SpaceX’s account on X, beginning about five minutes before the window opens.

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

If all goes according to plan tonight, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff, landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage will continue haulilng the 23 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit, where they will be deployed about 65.5 minutes after liftoff.

Extensive rocket reuse is a key priority for SpaceX and its founder and CEO, Elon Musk. Indeed, the company’s next-generation vehicle, called Starship, is designed to be fully and rapidly reusable, a breakthrough that Musk thinks will make Mars settlement economically feasible.

SpaceX is gearing up for the third-ever test flight of Starship, which will lift off from the company’s Starbase site in South Texas. The mission could launch as soon as Thursday (March 14).

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