A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will fly for a record-breaking 14th time on Saturday evening (Sept. 10), launching 34 of the corporate’s Starlink web satellites and an enormous direct-to-smartphone connectivity check spacecraft to orbit, and you’ll watch it dwell.
The two-stage Falcon 9, topped with the Starlinks and AST SpaceMobile’s Blue Walker 3 check satellite, is scheduled to elevate off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida Saturday at 9:10 p.m. EDT (0110 GMT on Sept. 11). Watch it dwell right here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company (opens in new tab).
The liftoff would be the 14th for this specific Falcon 9 first stage, setting a brand new rocket-reuse report. According to a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab), the booster additionally helped launch SpaceX’s first-ever astronaut mission, the Demo-2 flight to the International Space Station (ISS), in May 2020; the ANASIS-II satellite for the South Korean navy in July 2020; the robotic CRS-21 cargo mission to the ISS in December 2020; the Transporter-1 and Transporter 3 rideshare flights in January 2021 and January 2022, respectively; and eight Starlink missions.
The Falcon 9 first stage will come again to Earth for yet one more touchdown on Saturday evening. It will make a pinpoint landing atop SpaceX‘s A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship within the Atlantic Ocean 8.5 minutes after liftoff, if all goes based on plan.
The rocket’s higher stage, in the meantime, will proceed powering its approach to orbit. It’s scheduled to deploy Blue Walker 3 just below 50 minutes after liftoff and the 34 Starlinks an hour and 14 minutes later. Making all this occur would require 5 engine burns — greater than on every other Falcon 9 mission, based on the SpaceX mission description.
Starlink is SpaceX’s broadband constellation, which already gives service to a whole lot of hundreds of individuals across the globe. The firm has launched greater than 3,200 Starlink satellites up to now and plans to loft many extra; it has permission to place 12,000 Starlink craft into orbit and has utilized for permission for as much as 30,000 extra satellites.
Indeed, yet one more Starlink batch will go up this weekend, if all goes to plan: A Falcon 9 carrying 54 Starlinks is scheduled to launch late Sunday evening from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is subsequent door to KSC.
Late final month, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk introduced a cope with T-Mobile to supply connectivity directly to smartphones utilizing Starlink Version 2 satellites, an even bigger and extra highly effective variant scheduled to come back on-line subsequent yr. Saturday evening’s launch will characteristic a craft with comparable ambitions in Blue Walker 3.
Blue Walker 3 is a check satellite that shall be operated by Texas-based firm AST SpaceMobile, which plans to construct a space-based mobile broadband community of its personal.
“We’re delighted to see the industry’s excitement around the satellite-to-phone connectivity model, which we have been building for over five years,” Scott Wisniewski, chief technique officer at AST SpaceMobile, stated in an emailed assertion.
“Our upcoming launch of the BlueWalker 3 test satellite will be a major validation of this large and growing globally market opportunity,” he added.
BlueWalker 3 will characteristic a phased-array antenna that covers 693 sq. ft (64 sq. meters) — the most important business communications array ever deployed in low Earth orbit, AST SpaceMobile representatives stated in an emailed assertion. The satellite could also be brighter than every little thing in our evening sky besides the moon, New Scientist reported (opens in new tab).
SpaceX has launched 40 orbital missions in 2022 up to now. Twenty-six of them have been primarily dedicated to constructing out the Starlink megaconstellation.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a ebook concerning the seek for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).