How to Watch SpaceX Launch Its First Starlink Mission of 2021
SpaceX plans its first Starlink launch in 2021 on Tuesday, January 19, and you can follow it live online.
The private space company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, plans to launch a Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with 60 Starlink Internet satellites at 8:23 a.m. SpaceX had originally scheduled the launch for Monday, but adverse weather conditions in the booster recovery area forced it to postpone the mission for 24 hours.
In addition to the first Starlink satellite deployment of the year, the launch is also notable as a Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster is blasted into space for the eighth time.
The booster was previously used for the SXM-7 mission in December 2020 as well as for the RADARSAT Constellation mission in June 2019, the first demonstration mission of the Crew Dragon in March 2019 and four Starlink missions.
After its initial deployment in May 2019, Californian company SpaceX currently has around 1,000 Starlink satellites in low-earth orbit to launch a service that delivers affordable and reliable broadband internet from space. While this is sufficient for a limited regional service, there are plans to add thousands more to a global service that reaches communities in remote areas that currently have little or no access to adequate internet facilities.
The company is currently testing the service with a select group of beta users in the US. First tests last fall showed that the system already offers download speeds of “more than 100 megabytes per second” – fast enough to stream several HD films immediately and still have bandwidth left over. “
Shortly after the first Starlink satellites were deployed 20 months ago, some astronomers raised concerns about the satellites’ bright reflections from the sun, which could potentially disrupt the work of the stargazing community. Striving to find a solution, SpaceX has tested satellites of various designs, some of which have sights to reduce the brightness of the reflection.
What to Look For During the Tuesday Mission
First, enjoy the spectacular launch that propels the rocket into space. After the stage separation, watch the footage of the first stage booster of the Falcon 9 landing upright on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions waiting in the Atlantic. SpaceX will then broadcast a live stream of the moment from its 60 Starlink satellites, showing how they gradually expand as they enter low-earth orbit.
How to watch
SpaceX will broadcast the mission on its YouTube channel, which we embedded at the top of this page. In the event the team needs to postpone the launch, we recommend keeping an eye on the Twitter feed for the latest updates.