Update for Oct. 5: SpaceX will now launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base today (Oct. 5) at 7:10 pm EDT (4:48 p.m. PDT/2348 GMT) after a delay to allow the company’s launch of Crew-5 astronauts for NASA earlier in the day.
SpaceX will launch 52 more Starlink internet satellites to orbit tonight (Oct. 4), and you can watch the liftoff live.
The Starlink satellites are scheduled to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base tonight, Oct. 5, at 7:10 p.m. EDT (2310 GMT; 4:10 p.m. PDT). You can watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company (opens in new tab).
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth and make a pinpoint landing 8.5 minutes after launch on the SpaceX droneship Of Course I Still Love You, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean. The launch was delayed 24 hours to allow more time for prelaunch rocket checks, SpaceX has said.
It will be the fifth liftoff and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab). The rocket previously helped launch the NROL-85 and NROL-87 missions for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, the Sarah-1 radar satellite for the German government, and another Starlink batch.
While the Falcon 9 first stage is coming in for a landing tonight, the upper stage will continue powering its way to orbit. The 52 Starlink satellites are scheduled to be deployed about 62 minutes after liftoff.
Starlink is SpaceX’s ever-growing megaconstellation that beams internet service to customers around the world. SpaceX has already lofted nearly 3,400 Starlink satellites to date and plans to orbit many more: The company has permission to launch 12,000 of the spacecraft and has applied for permission for up to 30,000 on top of that.
Tonight’s launch will be SpaceX’s 44th orbital mission of 2022. That tally will continue to increase this week; Elon Musk’s company plans to launch the Crew-5 astronaut mission for NASA on Wednesday (Oct. 5) and two commercial communications satellites on Thursday (Oct. 6).
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 alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).