SpaceX is on track for its second launch this month, with favourable weather conditions forecast for tonight. Elon Musk’s company will launch from the Space Coast with a batch of 60 Starlink satellites. The internet-beaming constellation has been expanding at a rapid pace in recent months and users in parts of Northern America already have some access to the next-gen broadband.
Tonight’s mission will follow hot on the heels of the delayed Starlink L17 launch last week.
According to the 45th Weather Squadron of the US Space Force, Tuesday night promises to be breezy with some easterly gusts in the daytime.
The squadron said: “The primary weather concerns for a launch attempt Tuesday evening are liftoff winds and the Cumulus Cloud Rule associated with the onshore flow.
“On Wednesday, conditions are expected to remain much the same as the high pressure continues to dominate the area with persistent onshore flow.”
How to watch the SpaceX launch live online?
With weather conditions looking ripe for launch, SpaceX will aim to fly on Tuesday evening, March 9 – early on Wednesday, March 10, in the UK.
And the good news is you will be able to watch the launch here, on SpaceX’s website.
SpaceX’s live streams typically kick off about 15 minutes before liftoff and follow the mission past satellite deployment.
Liftoff is presently pencilled in for 2.58am GMT (9.58pm Eastern Time).
SpaceX fans will want to pay special attention to the launch as the Falcon 9 booster used tonight has already been to space five times.
Most famously, the rocket launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS).
The historic flight saw the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in crewed action for the very first time.
The Falcon 9 booster has also launched the NASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1 and one Starlink mission.
SpaceX said: “Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean.
“One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the ANASIS-II and SXM-7 missions, and the other half previously supported the launch of Sentinel-6A.”
The goal of SpaceX’s Starlink is to provide a planet-wide broadband network beamed directly from space.
Starlink has done away with ground-based infrastructure in favour of personal terminals and satellite dishes.
Documents filed to the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have also revealed the SpaceX is looking to provide Starlink to trucks, ships and planes.
The filings have asked for “blanket authorisation” for moving vehicles, not just in the US, but worldwide.
Unfortunately, this will likely not include passenger cars.
Mr Musk said on Twitter: “Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks and RVs.”