CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX will launch this year's first batch of Starlink satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Wednesday morning, expanding the company's growing megaconstellation.
Starlink is the name of the satellite network that the private spaceflight company is developing in order to provide satellite internet service to remote locations. SpaceX plans to sell some of the satellites for military, scientific, or exploratory purposes.
Space.com says that SpaceX eventually hopes to have as many as 12,000 satellites in this so-called megaconstellation. The size and scale of the project has upset many astronomers and amateur skywatchers, who fear that the bright, orbiting objects will interfere with observations of the universe.
Wednesday morning’s rocket launch will carry 60 Starlink internet satellites on the Falcon 9 rocket at 8:45 am EDT from NASA in Cape Canaveral.
The launch was scheduled to happen this past Monday, but SpaceX postponed it until Wednesday, Jan. 20, due to bad weather conditions at sea for its Falcon 9 rocket's landing.
How to see the launch
Nighttime launches are often seen all the way in Tampa Bay. However, morning launches can be trickier. The sky is bright and the sun angle is not ideal low in the east. But it’s worth a look.
You may see the smoke plume from the rocket as it launches. Due to the very dry air in place, much of it will likely evaporate.
To try to see it from Tampa Bay, look northeast toward Cape Canaveral during the launch time of 8:02 am. If it becomes visible on this side of the state, it usually appears a couple of minutes after launch.
If you’d rather watch it online, you can see it all on SpaceX.com.