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SpaceX moves Starlink launch up a day to Wednesday

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 60 of the company's Starlink internet satellites for a growing constellation from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on March 18, 2020.
(Image: © SpaceX)

SpaceX's next batch of Starlink internet satellites will get off the ground a day earlier than we'd thought.

The next 60 Starlink craft will launch Wednesday afternoon (April 22) instead of Thursday (April 23), SpaceX representatives announced today (April 20).

"With a more favorable weather forecast for launch and landing, now targeting Wednesday, April 22 at 3:37 p.m. EDT [1937 GMT] for this week’s Falcon 9 Starlink mission," the company said via Twitter this afternoon.

As that tweet notes, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that lofts the Starlink satellites. That booster already has considerable experience going up and coming down; it has flown three space missions to date. 

You can watch all the action live here and on the Space.com homepage when the time comes, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company. SpaceX's webcasts typically begin about 15 minutes before launch.

Wednesday's launch will be the seventh 60-satellite Starlink liftoff for SpaceX to date. And many more such missions are coming in the near future, if all goes according to plan: SpaceX has approval to loft 12,000 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit and has sought permission for up to 30,000 additional craft.

The Starlink constellation is designed to provide fast and cost-effective internet service to people around the world. The network is on track to be up and running before the end of 2020, SpaceX representatives have said. 

That doesn't mean 12,000 satellites will be aloft by then, however. Company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said that Starlink could provide "minor" broadband coverage with at least 400 satellites and "moderate" coverage with about 800.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook

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