SpaceX has delayed its scheduled launch of 21 new Starlink satellites until early Tuesday (August 22) due to the effects of Hurricane Hillary in the Pacific Ocean. You’ll be able to watch it live next week online.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Tuesday at 2:04 a.m. EDT (0604 GMT; 11:04 p.m. local time California on Aug. 21). The rocket launch was originally scheduled for early Thursday (August 17) and was already one day late. The impact of Hurricane Hillary on missile recovery operations led to a delay of another four days.
“Due to the impact of Hurricane Hillary on recovery operations in the Pacific, we are holding back from tonight’s Falcon 9 launch for Starlink,” SpaceX wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Late Thursday. SpaceX is recovering the first stage of its Falcon 9 boosters by landing it on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean about 8 minutes after launch.
Hurricane Hillary is currently a powerful Category 4 storm in the Pacific Ocean and was located about 400 miles (640 kilometers) south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, According to the National Hurricane Center. Tonight, it is expected to move toward the western coast of Baja Mexico and reach southern California Sunday night (August 20).
When SpaceX is able to launch the Starlink flight, you’ll be able to watch it live here at SpaceX.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly across the company. Coverage is expected to begin five minutes before launch.
Related: Starlink Satellite Train: How to See and Track It in the Night Sky
The Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth on Tuesday morning, if all goes according to plan: It’s scheduled to land on SpaceX’s Unmanned Ship of Course I Still Love You about 8.5 minutes after liftoff.
This will be the 15th launch and landing of this booster, according to A SpaceX mission description. That’s less than the company’s reuse record, which is held by two different Falcon 9 stages.
The mission was originally supposed to take place on Thursday (August 17), when it would have been the second station of Starlink’s doubleheader: The company launched 22 broadband satellites from the Cape Canaveral Space Force station in Florida late Wednesday night (August 28). ). 16).
But SpaceX ended up delaying Thursday’s planned launch by 24 hours. Then the company postponed it to a date no later than Tuesday due to The expected effects of Hurricane Hillary in missile recovery operations.
SpaceX has launched nearly 5,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) so far — a huge number to be sure, but potentially just the beginning.
Elon Musk’s company already has permission to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit, and has applied to an international regulator for approval to fly another 30,000 spacecraft on top of that.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:00 PM EST on August 17th with news of the new target launch date of August 22nd.