A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station tonight at 7:45 p.m. EDT (2345 GMT). If the Falcon 9 can’t get off the ground on time, seven backup opportunities are available, from 8:17 p.m. EDT to 10:47 p.m. EDT (0017 to 0247 GMT on Oct. 30), according to a SpaceX mission description.
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth for a vertical landing about 8.5 minutes after launch on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Tonight’s launch is the second half of a planned Sunday Starlink doubleheader. SpaceX was scheduled to send 22 Starlink craft skyward from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base early Sunday morning.
Starlink is SpaceX’s broadband megaconstellation, which beams internet service down to customers around the world. SpaceX has launched more than 5,000 Starlink satellites to LEO to date, and many more liftoffs are coming: The company has permission to deploy 12,000 of the spacecraft, and it has applied for approval for another 30,000 on top of that.
Daisy Hips is a science communicator who brings the wonders of the natural world to readers. Her articles explore breakthroughs in various scientific disciplines, from space exploration to environmental conservation. Daisy is also an advocate for science education and enjoys stargazing in her spare time.