SpaceX to launch 23 Starlink satellites tonight in 2nd half of spaceflight doubleheader

SpaceX aims to launch another batch of its Starlink internet satellites tonight (May 2), on the second half of a planned spaceflight doubleheader.

A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 23 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station tonight during a 3.5-hour window that opens at 9:49 p.m. EDT (0149 GMT on May 3). SpaceX will webcast the action via its X account, beginning about five minutes before the window opens.

The Starlink launch will be SpaceX’s second of the day, if all goes according to plan. A Falcon 9 already lofted two Earth-observation satellites for the company Maxar from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base this afternoon.

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

After launching the Starlink satellites tonight, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth for a vertical landing on the SpaceX droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

It will be the 19th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. That’s just one shy of the company’s rocket reuse record, which was set last month and tied by two other Falcon 9s, including the one that launched from Vandenberg today.


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Starlink, SpaceX’s broadband constellation in low Earth orbit, currently consists of more than 5,800 active satellites.

A fair number of those spacecraft have gone up this year; SpaceX has launched 43 orbital missions so far in 2024, and 29 of them have been devoted to building out the Starlink megaconstellation.

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