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SpaceX plans two Falcon 9 missions in on one day in closest-ever launches

SpaceX has a packed weekend ahead, with two separate rocket launches taking place on the same day just hours apart. This will be the shortest amount of time between launches the company has ever attempted.

The two missions consist of the launch of one further batch of 60 Starlink satellites to add to the growing constellation which eventually aims to provide global broadband internet access, and an Argentinian Earth-observation satellite called SAOCOM 1B.

SpaceX confirms it is planning “back-to-back Falcon 9 launches” for tomorrow, August 30, both from the Florida coast. The Starlink launch will take place at 10:12 a.m. ET from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. And then, nine hours later, the SAOCOM launch is scheduled for 7:18 p.m. ET from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Pending Range availability, targeting back-to-back Falcon 9 launches from Florida on Sunday, August 30—another flight of Starlink from LC-39A at 10:12 a.m. EDT followed by the SAOCOM 1B mission from SLC-40 at 7:18 p.m. EDT

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 28, 2020

However, the weather may not be on board for either of these missions. According to SpaceX, there is a 50% chance of favorable weather for the Starlink launch and a 40% of favorable weather for the SAOCOM launch.

Both of these launches will be using previously-flown Falcon 9 boosters, showing off SpaceX’s signature reusable first stage rocket parts.

How to watch the Falcon 9 launches

If you want to watch the launches live as they happen, SpaceX usually livestreams footage from its launches, including liftoff, first stage separation, and the attempted catching of the first stage and sometimes also the payload fairing. You can watch by checking out SpaceX’s website or YouTube channel.

Testing of the Starship continues as well

Remarkably enough, these two launches are not SpaceX’s only plan for the next few days. The company is also gearing up to perform a hop test on its Starship prototype SN6 which could happen as soon as today, Saturday, August 29, or could happen early next week.

Last weekend, this prototype successfully performed a static fire test, which is a test in which the engines are fired for a few seconds but the rocket stays on the ground. The next phase of testing is to perform the hop test, in which the engines are fired and the rocket moves a few hundred meters into the air.

A similar hop test was recently performed on another Starship prototype, the SN5, as well.

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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