Update at 11:30 PM ET: SpaceX has successfully launched the massive BlueWalker 3 communications satellite and 34 Starlink satellites, as well as landing a Falcon 9 rocket for the 14th time. Read our full story here.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will fly for the 14th time Saturday night (September 10), launching 34 Starlink Internet satellites and a massive smartphone test spacecraft into orbit, which you can watch live.
the two stages Falcon 9Leading AST SpaceMobile’s Starlinks and Blue Walker 3 experimental satellite, it is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Saturday at 9:20 p.m. EDT (0120 GMT on Sept. 11). Watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company (Opens in a new tab).
Takeoff will be the 14th for this first stage of the Falcon 9, setting a new record for rocket reuse. according to Description of the SpaceX mission (Opens in a new tab), the booster also helped launch SpaceX’s first-ever astronaut mission, the Demo-2 flight to the International Space Station (ISS), in May 2020; South Korean Army’s ANASIS-II satellite in July 2020; The CRS-21 robotic cargo mission to the International Space Station in December 2020; Transporter-1 and Transporter 3 flight in January 2021 and January 2022 respectively; and eight Starlink missions.
The first stage of Falcon 9 will return to Earth for another touchdown Saturday night. It will make an accurate landing on top SpaceXUAV carrier Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean 8.5 minutes after take-off, if all goes according to plan.
Meanwhile, the rocket’s upper stage will continue to make its way into orbit. Blue Walker 3 is scheduled to be deployed less than 50 minutes after takeoff and 34 Starlinks after 1 hour 14 minutes. Achieving all of this will require five engine failures — more than any other Falcon 9 mission, according to SpaceX’s mission description.
starlink It is the broadband constellation of SpaceX, which already serves hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The company has launched more than 3,200 Starlink satellites so far and plans to roll out many more; It has permission to put 12,000 Starlinks into orbit and has applied for permission for up to 30,000 additional satellites.
In fact, another batch of Starlink will be up this weekend, if all goes well: The Falcon 9 carrying 54 Starlinks is scheduled to launch late Sunday night from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, adjacent to KSC.
Late last month, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk Announced a deal with T-Mobile to deliver Connect directly to smartphones Using satellite Starlink Version 2, a larger and more powerful version is due to come online next year. Saturday night’s launch will include a vehicle with similar ambitions in Blue Walker 3.
BlueWalker 3 is an experimental satellite to be operated by Texas-based AST SpaceMobile, which plans to build its own broadband cellular network.
“We are excited to see the industry’s excitement around the satellite-to-phone model of connectivity, which we’ve been building for more than five years,” said Scott Wisniewski, chief strategy officer at AST SpaceMobile, in an emailed statement.
“Our upcoming launch of the BlueWalker 3 experimental satellite will be a major confirmation of this large and growing opportunity in the global market,” he added.
In an emailed statement, AST SpaceMobile representatives said the BlueWalker 3 will feature a phased array antenna covering 693 square feet (64 square meters) — the largest commercial communications array ever deployed in low Earth orbit. The satellite may be brighter than everything in our night sky except the moon, I mentioned New Scientist (Opens in a new tab).
SpaceX has launched 40 orbital missions in 2022 so far. Twenty-six of them were mainly devoted to building the massive Starlink.
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