SpaceX to launch 22 Starlink satellites from California tonight (Image Credit: Space.com)
SpaceX is poised to launch 22 Starlink internet satellites on Friday (Jan. 19) on the company’s second mission in as many days.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 Starlink spacecraft is set to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California during a three-and-a-half-hour window that opens at 9:15 p.m. EST (6:15 p.m. California time; 0215 GMT on Jan. 20).
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth 8.5 minutes after liftoff. It will touch down on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
It will be the 16th launch and landing for this booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. Among its previous flights are 10 other Starlink missions.
The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, will continue hauling the 22 Starlink satellites skyward. They will be deployed in low Earth orbit tonight about 63 minutes after liftoff.
The Starlink mission will be the second half of a SpaceX two-day streak, if all goes to plan.
On Thursday, Elon Musk‘s company launched the Ax-3 astronaut mission toward the International Space Station. Ax-3, which is run by the Houston company Axiom Space, is sending four people to the orbiting lab for a roughly two-week stay.