A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is preparing to launch 21 Starlink internet satellites into orbit from California early Saturday morning (October 21).
The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Saturday at 3:47 a.m. EDT (0747 GMT; 12:47 a.m. local time in California). If SpaceX is unable to meet this goal, there are three backup opportunities available between 4:23 a.m. EDT and 6:00 a.m. EDT (0823 to 1000 GMT).
SpaceX will stream the launch online via its X (formerly Twitter) account. Coverage will begin approximately five minutes before takeoff.
Related: Starlink Space Train: How to See and Track It in the Night Sky
If all goes according to plan on Saturday morning, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth safely, landing at sea on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship about 8.5 minutes after launch.
This will be the 16th flight of the first stage of this particular rocket, according to SpaceX Task description. This is lower than the company’s reuse record, which was set last month.
Meanwhile, the 21 Starlink satellites are scheduled to deploy from the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage about 62.5 minutes after launch.
The liftoff will be SpaceX’s 75th orbital mission in 2023. The company aims to launch 100 flights by the end of this year and 144 flights in 2024.
About 60% of this year’s flights are dedicated to building Starlink, SpaceX’s massive internet constellation. Starlink currently consists of approx 4900 operational satellitesThis number will continue to grow in the future.
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”