SpaceX will launch 40 broadband satellites into orbit for London-based company OneWeb on Thursday (March 9), and you can watch the event live.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 40 of OneWeb’s internet satellites is scheduled to lift off from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral in Florida Thursday at 2:13 p.m. EDT (1913 GMT).
You can watch the launch live here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company (Opens in a new tab). Coverage is expected to begin 15 minutes before take-off.
Related: 8 ways SpaceX has changed spaceflight
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth 7 minutes and 50 seconds after launch for a landing at Cape Canaveral.
This will be the 13th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to the SpaceX mission description (Opens in a new tab). Among those earlier flights are SpaceX’s two private astronaut missions, Inspiration 4 and X-1, which launched in September 2021 and April 2022, respectively.
Meanwhile, the upper stage of the rocket will continue to make its way into low Earth orbit (LEO). The OneWeb satellites will be deployed in small batches over the course of 37 minutes, starting 59 minutes after liftoff.
OneWeb is building a constellation of more than 600 LEO satellites, which will provide Internet service to customers around the world.
Thursday’s mission, known as OneWeb 17, will bring the number of satellites in this network to 582, Company representatives said in the description of the task (Opens in a new tab). They added that one additional launch of another 40 satellites would finish building the constellation.
Most of OneWeb’s satellites have launched on Russian-made Soyuz rockets operated by the French company Arianespace. But last year’s Russian invasion of Ukraine ended that arrangement, and OneWeb had to find other flights into orbit.
The company has done so on short notice, striking deals with SpaceX and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization. To date, OneWeb has flown twice with SpaceX (on Falcon 9 rockets) and once with NSIL (on an Indian GSLV Mark III).
The SpaceX launch contract is interesting, given that Elon Musk’s company is building its massive broadband complex in low Earth orbit. SpaceX’s network, called Starlink, consists of More than 3,700 operating spacecraft And it continues to grow.
Thursday is about to be an eventful day for SpaceX. AT 5:05 p.m. EST (2205 GMT) on Thursday, NASA’s Crew-5 astronaut mission is scheduled to depart from the International Space Station, returning four astronauts to Earth after five months in orbit.
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