Watch the latest Starlink launch live from Elon Musk’s SpaceX - and see the satellites in skies above UK
Elon Musk’s SpaceX company is launching its latest batch of Starlink satellites.
Sixty of the satellites will be sent into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket, which is due to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, September 3 at 1.46pm UK time (8.46am EDT), providing the weather is suitable.
You will be able to watch it live here, and see the return and landing of the reusable Falcon 9 rockets on a drone ship in the Atlantic.
The Starlink 11 launch is the latest in SpaceX’s ongoing programme to send thousands of satellites into space that will provide a global broadband network.
In the evenings following the launch, it may be possible to see the satellites in the sky if the weather is clear as expected.
Look out for a ‘string of pearls’ or train of lights moving quite swiftly across the sky. The best opportunity is typically about half an hour after sunset, or half hour before sunrise.
More specific details will become available nearer to launch.
To provide one gigabit per second broadband access even in hard to reach locations around the globe, SpaxeX needs to launch about 30,000 satellites into Earth orbit.
Ultimately, the company hopes to launch 42,000.
The first 60 were launched in May 2019. Hundreds are needed for a basic service.
Thursday’s launch was due to take place on Sunday, and was rescheduled initially for Tuesday because of bad weather before being moved again.
SpaceX says: “Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.
“Starlink is targeting service in the Northern US and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.”
The company says it aims to keep space ‘clean’.
“At end of life, the satellites will utilize their on-board propulsion system to deorbit over the course of a few months. In the unlikely event the propulsion system becomes inoperable, the satellites will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere within 1-5 years, significantly less than the hundreds or thousands of years required at higher altitudes,” it says.
There has been significant concern from astronomers and astrophotographers about the impact of all the lights on their observations and imaging.
SpaceX responded by adding VisorSat, a sunlight-blocking visor on satellites launched from June 13.