SpaceX plans to launch two more batches of its Starlink Internet satellites today (January 28), in double launches just three hours apart.
A Falcon 9 rocket equipped with 23 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida today during a 3.5-hour window that opens at 6:15 p.m. EDT (2315 GMT).
Another Falcon 9 rocket will carry another 22 Starlinks into the sky from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, during a roughly four-hour window that opens today at 9:16 p.m. EDT (6:16 p.m. local time, 0216 GMT on the 29th). January).
You can watch both launches via SpaceX's Twitter account. In each case, coverage will begin approximately five minutes before the window opens.
Related: Starlink Space Train: How to See and Track It in the Night Sky
In both launches today, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff to land on a SpaceX drone ship, which will be stationed at sea.
This will be the 18th launch and landing of the booster from KSC, and the ninth for the booster from Vandenberg, according to SpaceX. The company's reuse record is 19 launches, set by the Falcon 9 just last month.
Meanwhile, the upper stages of the Falcon 9 rocket will deploy Starlink thrusters into low Earth orbit just over an hour after each launch today.
Today's launches will be the eighth and ninth of the year for SpaceX, which has said it aims to launch 144 orbital missions in 2024.
In keeping with this ambitious plan, there's another SpaceX mission just around the corner: a Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch Northrop Grumman's Cygnus robotic cargo spacecraft toward the International Space Station on Tuesday (January 30).
Starlink's double header comes on a sad anniversary today. On January 28, 1986, NASA's Challenger space shuttle collapsed less than two minutes after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
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