SpaceX Is Launching Two Historic Starlink Missions Within 24 Hours This Week

The Falcon 9 used in Friday's mission will be an eight-time flyer.

BERLIN, GERMANY DECEMBER 01: SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses on the red carpet of the Axel Springer Award 2020 on December 01, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images

Early Thursday morning, SpaceX launched the latest batch of 60 Starlink satellites aboard a workhorse Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. In less than 24 hours, another Falcon 9 carrying 60 Starlink satellites is set to lift off from the nearby Kennedy Space Center early Friday morning, concluding the busiest week yet for the Elon Musk-led space company.

Friday’s liftoff is scheduled at 5:14 a.m. ET. You can watch the event live on SpaceX’s website.

SpaceX originally planned to fly these two missions within five hours on Thursday. The second launch was eventually pushed back to Friday to allow time for pre-launch check.

Thursday’s flight was SpaceX’s fourth rocket mission (and third Starship mission) this year. The Falcon 9 booster used, known as B1059, flew its last mission just a month ago, delivering a spy satellite for the U.S. government. The Starlink delivery was its fifth flight overall and set a new reuse turnaround record of 28 days for the Falcon 9 booster.

Deployment of Thursday’s satellite batch also brought the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to over 1,000. SpaceX has said it will take about 1,440 satellites to achieve basic global internet coverage.

The Falcon 9 rocket used in Friday’s mission, known as B1049, will be an eighth-time flier (and fifth-time for Starlink), the most used SpaceX rocket by far. SpaceX has designed this version of Falcon 9 (Block 5) to fly at least 10 times with minimal attention between flights and up to 100 times with refurbishment.

SpaceX has a total of 21 such rockets. The back-to-back Starlink launches mark the 53rd and 54th reflight of Falcon 9 since the company began recovering boosters in 2015.

In 2021, SpaceX plans to launch at least 40 missions between its California and Florida launch sites, not including test flights such as Starship prototypes launches. That averages out to three to four launches every month. SpaceX flew two Starlink missions in January, including a rideshare launch with just 10 Starlink satellites on board. The company has scheduled four Starlink missions in February and one in March so far.

Please check back for future updates on the Starlink launch schedule.

SpaceX Is Launching Two Historic Starlink Missions Within 24 Hours This Week