How to watch SpaceX launch 57 Starlink satellites that wear sun visors

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This Falcon 9 rocket launched in November 2019, carrying 60 Starlink satellites.


SpaceX

The latest SpaceX Starlink launch is now set for Saturday morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida. 

Blastoff was originally set for June but has been delayed a few times, most recently due to bad weather on Wednesday. 

“Standing down from today’s mission due to weather,” the company tweeted Wednesday, about 10 minutes before the scheduled launch time. 

If it finally gets off the ground Saturday at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. local time) as planned, the Falcon 9 rocket’s payload will include the first batch of the company’s broadband satellites equipped with a sunshade to reduce their brightness. 

Since Elon Musk’s company began launching the small satellites over a year ago, astronomers and other observers have been surprised and even disturbed by the amount of sunlight the orbiting routers reflect, often interfering with scientific observations. 

Musk and SpaceX have been working with major astronomical organizations on the problem and pledged to fix the issue as they ramp up plans to launch tens of thousands of the satellites in the coming years. 

This Falcon 9 rocket launched in November 2019, carrying 60 Starlink satellites.


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Initially, SpaceX tried launching a so-called “darksat,” which was essentially a Starlink satellite with a dark coating, but the results from this approach were mixed. Next the company developed and tested a deployable sunshade that it calls “VisorSat.”

One VisorSat was launched earlier this month to test the new tech, and the next launch will carry the first batch to be fully shaded. 

The mission will come on the heels of a June 30 Falcon 9 rocket launch, which lofted a new GPS satellite for the US military. That was followed by the first SpaceX landing after sending a military satellite to space. 

Saturday’s launch is a rideshare, meaning that room has been made for a pair of Earth-observing satellites for the company BlackSky.

You can watch the launch via the livestream below, which typically starts about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

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