If all goes according to plan, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Florida on Saturday, just two weeks after another of the company’s rockets will send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station,media CNET reported.
A few days after its historic first manned launch, the company launched the Starlink satellite. Now SpaceX has announced that it will launch its first Starlink ride-sharing program, which will carry 58 of its own broadband satellites and three Earth observation satellites from Planet Labs.
If successful, the mission would bring the total number of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit to more than 500, while increasing the total number of Planet Labs’ SkySat satellites to 18. The goal of the SpaceXStarlink project is to eventually include tens of thousands of orbital “routers” that will cover the Earth’s broadband Internet access, and SkySats will help Planet Labs get images of the Earth’s surface.
Making room for Planet Labs’ satellites means it will be spaceX’s first Starlink satellite to launch with fewer than 60 satellites. SpaceX said on Twitter that the launch time had been adjusted from Friday to 2:21 a.m. Pacific time (5:21 a.m. Florida time).
The first class of the Falcon 9, which the company will use, has flown twice before, both on a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.