SpaceX is launching its eleventh batch of Starlink satellites this week, but this is no ordinary launch — this is the 100th launch by SpaceX since it began with its Falcon 1 rocket in 2006.
In the past 14 years the company has made great strides in making its rockets reusable, and this launch will also be the first time that a Falcon 9 rocket booster has been used for six separate missions.
Here are all the details you need to know about the launch including details of how to watch it live.
When is the launch?
The launch will take place on Tuesday, August 18 at 10:31 a.m. ET, with the satellites carried on a Falcon 9 rocket taking off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Targeting Tuesday, August 18 at 10:31 a.m. EDT for Falcon 9’s launch from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida of 58 Starlink satellites and 3 @planetlabs spacecraft
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 17, 2020
How to watch the launch
The launch will be streamed by SpaceX, including liftoff, monitoring of the rocket once it passes beyond camera range, and video of the first stage as it attempts to land on the droneship.
You can watch the livestream on SpaceX’s website or using the embedded video at the top of this page. Coverage begins around 15 minutes before liftoff, at 10:16 a.m. ET.
What to expect from the launch
The Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, using the same first stage that was used in five previous SpaceX missions: The Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and three previous Starlink missions in May 2019, January 2020, and June 2020. This will mark the first time that a Falcon 9 first stage has been reused six times.
Once the rocket has launched and has reached sufficient altitude, separation will occur and the first stage will fall back to Earth to hopefully be caught by the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
As well as the 58 new Starlink satellites that the rocket will carry into space, there will also be three other satellites joining them as part of SpaceX’s rideshare program. The Earth-imaging company Planet Labs will send along three of its SkySats to join its existing 18 SkySats already in Low Earth Orbit.
The Planet Labs satellites will be deployed at appropriately twelve and a half minutes after liftoff. The Starlink satellites are taken into a different orbit and so will be deployed later, at around 46 minutes after liftoff.
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