Watch SpaceX launch 51 Starlink satellites and a space tug on Sunday

SpaceX plans to send a space tug aloft with another big batch of Starlink internet satellites on Sunday evening (September 4).

A SpaceX The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off Sunday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on the east coast of Florida, carrying 51 Stellar Link internet satellites in orbit. Launch time is 10:09 p.m. EDT (0209 GMT on September 5). Watch it here in the window above, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company (opens in a new tab).

Sherpa-LTC2, a space tug provided by Seattle-based company Spaceflight, will also be aboard Starlink Group 4-20. The tug will carry a payload for Boeing’s Varuna Technology Demonstration Mission (Varuna-TDM), which “aims to test V-band communications for a proposed constellation of 147 non-geostationary broadband satellites,” according to SpaceNews. (opens in a new tab).

The first Sherpa-LTC orbital transfer vehicle was removed from a SpaceX launch opportunity in January 2022 due to a propellant leak, SpaceNews added.

Related: SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 53 Starlink satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 14, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)

(opens in a new tab)

Sunday’s flight plan calls for SpaceX to fly the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back to Earth for a soft landing on the Just Read the Instructions drone, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Landing – the seventh for this particular booster – is scheduled approximately 8.5 minutes after launch.

Sherpa-LTC2 is expected to deploy from the Falcon 9 upper stage 49.5 minutes after liftoff, and Starlinks will follow about 23 minutes after that, SpaceX wrote in a mission description. (opens in a new tab).

SpaceX has already sent more than 3,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, aiming to create a huge constellation of broadband services for remote areas. SpaceX has already launched more than 25 Starlink-centric missions in 2022.

This will be SpaceX’s 40th launch of the year and will continue to add to the Starlink megaconstellation. SpaceX has permission to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites and has asked an international regulator to approve another 30,000.

At the end of August, the founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk announced plans to pass connectivity directly to smartphones using Starlink, in conjunction with T-Mobile. Another deal announced on Tuesday (August 30) will see Starlink service handed over to Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Where Facebook (opens in a new tab).

About Travis Durham

Check Also

NASA calls for proposals for 2nd Artemis lunar lander

NASA is asking private industry to come up with ideas for another astronaut lunar lander. …