SpaceX is looking to set a fast pace for launches in 2022, with its third Falcon 9 mission of the month planned to launch on Tuesday evening from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This will be Starlink’s second mission of the year, with 49 of the company’s low-earth orbit flying broadband routers set to launch approximately 15 minutes after launch.
According to astronomer Jonathan McDowell’s data, this mission will bring the total number of Starlinks launched, including the initial ones to reach orbit, to over 2,000 for the first time.
However, as Elon Musk recently pointed out on Twitter, a lot of those satellites have been de-orbited or are no longer operational.
Laser links on this current round of satellites will allow the Starlinks to communicate in orbit, reducing the need for multiple, expensive ground stations.
The Falcon 9 rocket that will lift the satellite will be flying for the ninth time, having previously launched a GPS satellite, a Turkish communications satellite, a smallsat rideshare mission, and six earlier Starlink flights.
In less than 10 minutes after launch, the rocket will land on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This mission’s nose cone is also reused from prior Starlink missions.
The launch was originally scheduled for Monday, but was postponed until the following day due to better weather conditions.
As is usual, SpaceX will broadcast the entire launch beginning about 15 minutes before liftoff at 4:04 p.m. PT.