Watch live: SpaceX Starlink launch to reuse rocket nose cone for first time
The launch will also be the first time SpaceX has reused a fairing, or nose cone. The fairing for this mission previously covered the Arabsat-6A satellite the company launched in April. And it will be the first time SpaceX reuses a rocket booster for the 4th time.
An 11-minute launch window opens at 9:51 a.m. The Air Force has forecast an 80 percent likelihood of good weather, but In case of bad weather, a new attempt is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Starlink is SpaceX’s entry into a new industry, an effort to provide high-speed reliable internet service through a network of hundreds of satellites in low-earth orbit. The company has plans for up to 30,000 satellites eventually.
SpaceX previously launched 60 Starlink satellites in May.
Since then, founder and CEO Elon Musk said he had tested the network, tweeting on Oct. 22 that he was “Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite.”
In May, SpaceX engineer Tom Praderio had said the company tested Starlink’s capability with the Air Force’s Global Lightning program, demonstrating 600 megabytes per second of throughput to an aircraft in flight.
The launch in May was the heaviest payload the Falcon 9 ever carried.
SpaceX is one of several big players trying to start new networks that use thousands of non-geostationary satellites to offer high-speed Internet and other types of communication around the globe. The focus is on boosting Internet access to rural areas first.
Others companies working on large new constellations include OneWeb, which launched its first six satellites in February, and Telesat.