SpaceX poised to launch 22 Starlink satellites late on Sept. 15 (Image Credit: Space.com)
SpaceX plans to launch 22 more of its Starlink internet satellites late on Friday night (Sept. 15).
A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the Starlink spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Friday at 11:38 p.m. EDT (0338 GMT on Sept. 16). You can watch it live via SpaceX’s account on X (formerly Twitter). Coverage is expected to begin about five minutes before liftoff.
SpaceX had been planning to launch shortly after midnight on Friday, but the weather apparently didn’t cooperate, forcing a nearly 24-hour delay.
If all goes according to plan on Friday night, the Falcon 9’s first stage will touch down about 8.5 minutes after liftoff on the SpaceX droneship Just Read the Instructions, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
SpaceX’s desire to have calm seas for this recovery operation may be the reason for the delay; the company had said that it was keeping an eye on the effects of Hurricane Lee in the touchdown zone.
It will be the fifth launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description.
The 22 Starlink satellites, meanwhile, are scheduled to deploy from the Falcon 9’s upper stage about 65 minutes after launch.
Friday’s launch will be SpaceX’s 64th orbital mission of 2023. More than half of those flights have been dedicated to building out the company’s Starlink megaconstellation, which currently consists of more than 4,700 operational satellites.
Every new SpaceX launch extends the company’s record for most liftoffs in a year. The previous mark, 61, was set in 2022.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 14 with news of the 24-hour launch delay.