After a four-day delay, SpaceX is now set to launch a pair of experimental mini-satellites as part of its planned 4,000-satellite strong Starlink constellation. You can watch the launch live right here starting at 9:14 a.m. EDT (6:14 a.m. PDT).
In addition to the two experimental satellites, dubbed Microsat 2a and 2b (1a and 1b never went up), SpaceX will be delivering a 3,000-pound radar observation satellite called Paz for the Spanish government. The cargo sits atop a Falcon 9 rocket, which is scheduled to launch from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:17 a.m. EDT (6:17 a.m. PDT). Should today’s launch get scrubbed, SpaceX will try again tomorrow at the same time.
Update: SpaceX has scrubbed today’s launch, they’ll try again tomorrow (Thursday February 22) at ~9:15 a.m. EDT (6:15 a.m. PDT).
SpaceX scrubbed the launch this past Saturday to conduct further tests of the Falcon 9's fairing—that all-important $5 million section at the tip that deploys the rocket’s payload. Parts of the rocket have been recycled from previous missions, including a first-stage booster used to launch Taiwan’s Formosat-5 satellite in August 2017, according to Space.com.
Announced three years ago, Starlink will be a massive, space-based telecommunications network involving thousands of interlinked mini-satellites. CEO Elon Musk says SpaceX is “going to try and do for satellites what we’ve done for rockets,” and the current plan is to have a low-cost global internet service in place by the mid-2020s. Revenue gleaned from the Starlink project could be used to fund eventual missions to Mars, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Today’s launch will be the first for SpaceX since the inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy on February 6. It’s a big day for SpaceX, as the rocket company officially enters the internet satellite business.