SpaceX to launch 23 Starlink satellites from Florida tonight


SpaceX plans to launch 23 more of its Starlink satellites tonight (May 12), adding to its huge and ever-growing broadband megaconstellation.

A Falcon 9 rocket topped with the Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station tonight during a roughly three-hour window that opens at 8:53 p.m. EDT (0053 GMT on May 13).

SpaceX will webcast the launch via its X account, beginning about five minutes before the window opens.

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth about 8 minutes after launch, touching down on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

It will be the 15th launch and landing for this particular first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. Nine of its 14 liftoffs to date have been Starlink missions.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, will carry the 23 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO), deploying them there about 65 minutes after liftoff.

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Tonight’s launch will be the 49th orbital mission of 2024 already for SpaceX. Thirty-three of this year’s 48 launches have been dedicated to building out the Starlink megaconstellation, which currently consists of about 5,900 working satellites.

That number will likely continue growing far into the future; SpaceX has permission to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites in LEO and has applied for approval for another 30,000 on top of that.



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