While much of the planet is shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still business as usual in low-Earth orbit where the nascent SpaceX Starlink broadband constellation is set to welcome 60 new satellites into its ranks.
A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:37 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Although the batch is dubbed Starlink 6, it will actually be the seventh group of 60 orbiting routers to be sent into space.
If all goes as planned, the mission will push the total number of satellites launched to over 400. SpaceX aims to have more than 1,000 of its controversial satellites in orbit by the end of the year and is permitted by the FCC to launch over 12,000 in total.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket to be used Wednesday has launched three times before, most recently for the fourth Starlink mission. The fairing, or nose cone, is also recycled from a previous mission.
SpaceX is planning to recover the fairing and booster again at sea following the launch Wednesday. The booster will land on a droneship while two ships outfitted with huge nets will attempt to catch the two halves of the nose cone.
So far the weather is looking positive for the launch, but only about 50/50 for the backup launch window on Thursday.
SpaceX carries a livestream on its webcast page for every launch, and this Starlink mission will be no different. You can watch the YouTube stream below once it becomes available, kicking off around 15 minutes before launch.