Watch SpaceX rocket launch on record 15th mission on Saturday
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch for an unprecedented 15th time on Saturday (December 17), and you can watch the record-breaking action live.
A falcon 9 crowned with 54 of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:32 p.m. ET (2132 GMT) on Saturday. It will be the 15th launch for the first stage of this Falcon 9 and will set a new reusability mark for SpaceX.
Watch it live here on Space.com courtesy of SpaceX or through the company directly (opens in new tab). Coverage begins about five minutes before launch.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth for the 15th time on Saturday. Barely nine minutes after launch, it lands on SpaceX’s Just Read the Instructions drone ship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
The rocket’s upper stage will continue to launch the 54 Starlink aircraft into low Earth orbit, deploying them all about 15.5 minutes after launch, according to a SpaceX mission brief (opens in new tab).
Starlink is SpaceX’s massive and ever-expanding constellation of broadband satellites, bringing internet services to people around the world.
The company has launched more than 3,500 Starlink spacecraft to date and intends to loft many more. SpaceX has applied to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval to deploy nearly 30,000 of its next-generation Starlink 2.0 satellites, which the company plans to launch primarily with its Starship space transportation system. The FAA recently approved 7,500 of these spacecraft, but reserves judgment on the rest.
Saturday’s launch will be the third in two days for SpaceX. On Friday (December 16), a Falcon 9 launched the SWOT water observation satellite for NASA from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base, and another launched two satellites for European telecommunications company SES from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The SES mission was the 200th orbital launch for SpaceX and the 191st for the Falcon 9. The other nine flights were made by the now-decommissioned Falcon 1 (five launches between 2006 and 2009) and the still-active Falcon Heavy (four missions to Date).
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there (opens in new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaelwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).
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