The private spaceflight company had hoped to launch its next 60 Starlink internet satellites earlier this week, but delayed the mission to no earlier than Friday (Jan. 24) due to bad weather at its rocket landing site. On Thursday, SpaceX pushed the launch back again, to no earlier than Monday.
"Weather in the recovery area continues to be unfavorable so team is now targeting Monday, January 27 for launch of Starlink, pending Range availability," SpaceX officials said in a Twitter update.
SpaceX test-fired the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch this batch of Starlink satellites on Monday (Jan. 20) with hopes to launch the mission by mid-week, but ultimately targeted Friday for the liftoff due to weather conditions at the booster's recovery site in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX will use a drone ship as a floating landing pad to recover the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage.
The Falcon 9 rocket for this mission, called Starlink-3, has flown two missions before, one to launch SpaceX's Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the other to loft three Canadian satellites from at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The Starlink-3 mission will be SpaceXs fourth launch to grow its Starlink megaconstellation of satellites, which are designed to provide high-speed broadband internet service from space.
SpaceX has launched 180 satellites into orbit over three launches, one in May 2019, the second in November 2019 and the third earlier this month. The most recent launch on Jan. 6 made SpaceX the operator of the largest satellite constellation in the world.
SpaceX ultimately plans to fly a megaconstellation of 40,000 Starlink satellites to provide broadband internet to remote and underserved parts of the world. Elon Musk, the company's founder and CEO, has said SpaceX will need at least 400 satellites in orbit to begin "minor" service coverage and 800 satellites for moderate coverage.
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