If you’re in the mood to see something impressive, today SpaceX will launch its fourteenth batch of Starlink satellites into orbit, and you can watch the event live as it happens. SpaceX will use one of its Falcon 9 rockets to launch the next batch of 60 satellites into orbit, and the live video will show the launch as well as the expected catch of the Falcon 9’s first stage booster, which SpaceX has become adept at catching and reusing.
This particular Falcon 9 first stage has already proven itself, having been used in the historic launch of the Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, as well as a previous RADARSAT satellite deployment mission and three previous Starlink missions.
When is the launch?
The launch is scheduled for 8:25 a.m. ET on Sunday, October 18. It will take place at Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and SpaceX has announced that if anything goes wrong with the launch today such as poor weather, there is a backup opportunity on Monday, October 19 at 8:06 a.m. ET.
What to expect from the launch
Once the countdown reaches zero and the rocket launches, it will travel for just over a minute before reaching Max Q, which is the point of maximum mechanical stress on the rocket. With this hurdle overcome, it will continue its journey upward until around two minutes and thirty seconds after launch, at which point the first stage main engine will cut off. Shortly after, the first stage will separate and begin its journey back to Earth, while the second stage fires its engine and propels further skyward. At around three and a half minutes after liftoff, the fairing will deploy.
The first stage should land at around eight and a half minutes after launch, where it will be collected by the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The satellites should be deployed just over an hour after launch.
How to watch the launch
The launch will be livestreamed and you can watch either using the video embedded at the top of this page, or on SpaceX’s website. Coverage begins around 10 minutes before liftoff, so around 8:15 a.m. ET.