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The Falcon 9 launched in November 2019 carried 60 Starlink satellites.


SpaceX

We’re only a few days into 2020 and SpaceX is already gearing up for its first launch of the year. On Jan. 6, the workhorse Falcon 9 booster will be sending a batch of 60 Starlink satellites into low-earth orbit, part of the company’s plans to deliver broadband internet across the globe. If you want to watch the launch and landing live (launches are always thrilling), here’s how you can do it.

The launch has been delayed several times, but the Falcon 9 is now scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Monday, at approximately 9:19 p.m. ET (6:19 p.m. PT). Weather conditions at Cape Canaveral are looking good, with a less than 10% chance of cancellation and a 20% chance of delay. 

SpaceX carries a livestream on its webcast page for every launch, and this Starlink mission will be no different. We’ll post a YouTube link here when it becomes available.

The reusable Falcon 9 booster will be on its fourth flight, having previously flown once in 2018 and twice in 2019. Provided all goes well, around 10 minutes after launch it’ll return to Earth and land on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship, stationed in the Atlantic ocean.  

SpaceX launched its first batch of 60 Starlink satellites to orbit in 2019, but this is a particularly interesting addition for Starlink as it promises to bring the total number of tiny craft in low-Earth orbit up to a whopping 180 satellites. The size of the constellation has some astronomers concerned because the craft’s reflective surfaces interfere with the ability to observe the universe using research-grade telescopes. 

Those issues have been raised with SpaceX, and the company plans to include a single satellite with a less-reflective surface in Monday’s launch batch, according to Space.com. A special coating on the bottom of Starlink satellites could reduce the glare, but how it will affect the performance is currently unknown.

“We’re do [sic] trial and error to figure out the best way to get this done,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX COO, told SpaceNews in December.