Watch SpaceX launch 53 Starlink satellites early Monday (Image Credit: Space.com)
SpaceX will launch another big batch of its Starlink internet satellites to orbit early Monday morning (June 12), and you can watch it live.
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff for a pinpoint touchdown on the SpaceX droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
It will be the ninth launch and landing for this particular booster, SpaceX wrote in a mission description.
The rocket’s upper stage will continue carrying the 53 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit, ultimately deploying them there about 65 minutes after liftoff.
SpaceX has launched more than 4,500 Starlink satellites to date, and nearly 4,200 of them are currently operational, according to astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.
But the Starlink megaconstellation is nowhere near complete: SpaceX has permission to deploy 12,000 of the broadband satellites and has applied for approval for another 30,000 on top of that.
The early-morning Starlink liftoff is the first leg of a planned Falcon 9 doubleheader on Monday. SpaceX also plans to launch the Transporter 8 rideshare mission on Monday at 5:19 p.m. EDT (2119 GMT) from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Transporter 8 will send 72 satellites aloft for a variety of customers.