what to know
- A SpaceX rocket is scheduled to launch Tuesday night from Vandenberg Space Force Base northwest of Santa Barbara.
- The launch window opens at 10:40 pm California time.
- The rocket will fly south, carrying the Starlink satellites into orbit.
A SpaceX rocket could put on a show in the night sky on Tuesday after launching off the California coast.
The Falcon 9 rocket will send all 46 Starlink Internet satellites into low Earth orbit after launch, scheduled for around 10:40 pm California time. Depending on weather conditions, the rocket could be visible for hundreds of miles around as it heads south from Vandenberg Space Force Base northwest of Santa Barbara.
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SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket’s first-stage booster on the Of Course I Still Love You drone stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
Here’s what you need to know about the launch.
How can I watch the SpaceX rocket launch?
A live webcast of the mission will begin about five minutes before the rockets take off using this link or by watching the YouTube video below.
The launch is scheduled for Tuesday at about 10:40 p.m.
A night launch promises more spectacle than daytime launches for Southern California sky watchers. The best view of the launch will probably be in Lompoc or along the coast from Gaviota to Point Mugu.
The rocket was visible from the Los Angeles area during launches the night before. Depending on weather conditions, stage separation can provide an impressive show in the night sky.
After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket will travel south along the coast.
“If the sky is clear, the launch may be visible to the naked eye for hundreds of miles,” Vandenberg Space Force Base said in a statement.
A backup launch opportunity is set for Wednesday at 10:40 p.m.
What are Starlink satellites?
SpaceX has a Starlink constellation of more than 2,000 satellites that orbit the Earth about 340 miles high. Satellites have been carried into space by SpaceX rockets.
The Starlink network is designed to offer high-speed Internet anywhere in the world. SpaceX said in March that there are about 250,000 total Starlink subscribers, which includes both consumer and business customers.
Can I see Starlink satellites in orbit?
Yes, sometimes they put on a heavenly show. If the light conditions are right, the satellites appear on a train as they parade through the night sky.
Satellites are sometimes visible in the first few minutes after sunset and before sunrise when the sun is below the horizon, but the satellites are high enough to reflect direct sunlight.
Use the FindStarlink tracker to find the best upcoming viewing times.