SpaceX launching 60 Starlink satellites to space for global internet service [Updates]

Update 4/21/20: SpaceX says the launch today is now set for 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Update 4/20/20 5:13 p.m. EDT: Citing a more favorable weather forecast on Wednesday, SpaceX is now targeting Wednesday, April 22, at 3:37 p.m. EDT.

Update 4/20/20: Launch windows are hard, but this change is positive. SpaceX is once again targeting Thursday, April 23, at 3:16 p.m. EDT.

Update 4/15/20: SpaceX is now targeting Friday, April 24, 2020.

Update 4/14/20: SpaceX is now targeting Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Update 4/13/20: The launch target has slipped from April 16; no new date yet.

SpaceX is targeting Thursday, April 16, for its next Starlink mission to deploy a batch of 60 satellites to low Earth orbit.

The mission will mark SpaceX’s seventh Starlink launch and sixth deployment of operational satellites. Starlink will provide satellite internet access to North America and around the world as the constellation of small satellites is built out.

The next Starlink mission will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the 60 satellite payload inside a Dragon capsule from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch target on April 16 is set for 5:31 p.m. EDT.

It follows the successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites on March 18, although one of the nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9 rocket shutdown prematurely on ascent. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk committed to investigating the issue before the next Starlink mission, adding that the Falcon 9 first stage was flown five times — a new record for SpaceX rocket reusability.

COVID-19 has affected two previously scheduled SpaceX launches in between Starlink missions. SAOCOM 1B for Argentina’s space program was postponed in March due to travel restrictions, and the U.S Space Force rescheduled a GPS 3 satellite deployment from late April to June 30.

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