CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – SpaceX joins Star Wars Day action as it plans to launch its own Falcon into space this fourth of May. Veteran Falcon 9 rocket will send a full stack of Starlink satellites into space on Tuesday afternoon (May 4) and you can watch it live online.
California-based Hawthorne to launch one of its naval leaders, very nasty Falcon 9 rocket called B1049. The frequent flight will not make the Kessel Run, but will explode from Pad 39A at NASA̵
You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of SpaceX, starting about 15 minutes before takeoff. You can too watch the launch directly through SpaceX.
And here’s a fun fact about SpaceX for Star Wars Day: The company’s founder and CEO Elon Musk named his family Falcon rockets after Star Wars Millennium Falcon. (His spaceship Dragon is named after Puff the Magic Dragon.)
Connected: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos
Tuesday’s flight, called Starlink 25, is the 13th mission so far for SpaceX in 2021. The company continues at a rapid pace of launch, relying on its fleet of proven flight rockets. So far, every mission this year has flown with a reusable booster.
SpaceX created Starlink with the primary goal of providing high-speed Internet access to users around the world. The service is aimed at users in rural or remote areas who have almost no connectivity, although anyone can use it.
Since Starlink’s first satellites came down from Earth, SpaceX plans to have 1,440 satellites in its original constellation. The company has surpassed this number with its flights so far.
Now that this first big stage has been reached, SpaceX is looking to officially launch the service.
Potential users can pay a small deposit by registering for the service now, through the company’s website. However, it may take several months before the actual service becomes available.
This launch marks the 117th flight in total for SpaceX’s 229-foot (70-meter) booster of the Falcon 9. The star of the mission is one of the leaders of SpaceX flights: eight-time veteran Falcon 9 first stage, designated as B1049.
This debut flyer made its debut in 2018, carrying the Telstar 18V into orbit from Cape Canaveral before traveling across the country to launch 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from the SpaceX site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launcher then shifted to Starlink duty, transporting six different Starlink payloads so far.
If all goes according to plan, approximately nine minutes after takeoff, the B1049 will touch one of SpaceX’s two ships – “Of course, I still love you.” If it succeeds, it will mark the 84th recovery of a booster from the first stage since the company landed its first in December 2015.
The weather outlook looks good for Wednesday’s early morning outing, with weather forecasters from the 45th Weather Squadron predicting an 80% chance of favorable launch conditions. The only problem that worries are the potential cumulus clouds and wind that may rise. (There is a backup day if needed on Thursday, and the weather seems just as favorable.) However, officials say the recovery time is moderate, which can be difficult.
SpaceX’s main goal is to deliver its payload into space, with the booster recovery as an added bonus. Because the company relies so much on its fleet of veteran launchers, they don’t want to risk a muddy sea at the landing site. If all goes according to plan, this booster will be the second to fire and land nine times.
SpaceX will continue its tradition of restoring the Falcon 9 payload fairing or the nose cone of today’s mission by scooping up the fairings after they fall back to Earth in two.
A boat in pink and blue, called Shelia Bordelon, is the current SpaceX fairing restoration boat. The ship will use its on-board crane to remove the fairings from the water after landing.
Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.