American aerospace company, SpaceX is set to launch its next batch of Starlink Satellites into the lower orbit of Earth. The launch will take place on 18th August 2020 at 8:01 pm IST. The company will launch fifty-eight Starlink satellites and three Earth-imaging satellites in this mission.
The lift-off will take place from Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40, Florida. The reusable Falcon 9 booster will serve as the launch vehicle for the payloads, setting yet another record as it marks its sixth flight – the only single orbital rocket to do so. The satellites will mark an addition to the company’s Starlink mega constellation which will offer satellite internet services.
The Falcon 9 booster has previously launched Starlink satellites in three separate missions. Falcon 9 has also served in two other commercial satellite delivery missions – Telstar 18 VANTAGE and Iridium-8. Only about ten days ago, the company launched one such batch of the Starlink satellites comprising of 57 units and two other Earth-imaging satellites from the Falcon 9. Apart from these satellites, 597 Starlink satellites have already been launched.
SpaceX expects to continue the launch of 60 satellites per Falcon 9 flight – which happens every two weeks. The company wants to launch at least 12,000 satellites, with a possible expansion to 42,000.
This mission will be the 11th launch of the Starlink satellites by the company. However, this launch will also mark the 100th mission by SpaceX. On 17th August, Elon Musk tweeted: “Some big milestones coming up” as a reply to a user who tweeted: “So, with the #SpaceX Starlink launch on Tuesday, this will be another first for the company. First time reusing a booster for the 6th time! And this flight marks the 100th launch for SpaceX and the 92nd for the Falcon 9!”
Some big milestones coming up https://t.co/K3v3yddg6J
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 17, 2020
The core stage of the Falcon 9 rocket is anticipated to set two records, that is, lifting off for the sixth time and landing for the sixth time. It is expected to land on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), “Of Course I Still Love You” located in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Starlink satellites will be accompanied by three small SkySat satellites from California-based Satellite and Earth Imaging company, Planet. This will mark SpaceX’s second partnership with Planet.
You can watch the upcoming Starlink Mission here.