Here’s how you can watch the SpaceX satellite launch today - and when they will be visible from the UK
SpaceX, an operation founded by Elon Musk, is launching a further 60 satellites into space as part of its Starlink mission, which hopes to bring more broadband to the globe.
If you’re a space enthusiast then you’ll be able to see some of the existing satellites as they orbit the Earth - here’s how.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite constellation being constructed by American company SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk.
The firm sends satellites up into the Earth’s orbit in batches of 60, with launches having taken place in mid-March, April and June so far this year.
The firm has deployed almost 600 satellites into space and is working towards a network of 12,000, with the aim of improving global internet coverage.
The satellites appear in a line crossing the night sky, with previously launched satellites seen by Brits in Derbyshire, Manchester, London, Leeds, and across Europe.
A SpaceX spokesman said: “With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.”
When will the next satellites be launched?
SpaceX will launch a further 60 satellites into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday 3 September.
The satellites will be on board a Falcon 9 rocket, reports The Mirror, with the launch scheduled to take place at 13:46 BST (08:46 ET).
A spokesman for the Kennedy Space Centre said: “SpaceX is scheduled to launch the 12th mission of the constellation of networked satellites known as Starlink.
“The goal of Starlink is to create a network that will help provide internet services to those who are not yet connected, and to provide reliable and affordable internet across the globe.”
How do I track the location of the satellites?
Although most satellites orbit at a height of around 1,000km above Earth, the Starlink satellites orbit at a lower height of around 550km, which means that they are regularly visible.
There are a number of stargazing apps and websites, which enable you to track the current locations of the satellites.
A popular site is Findstarlink.com, where users can see the timings of when and where Starlink is likely to be visible next.
You simply need to visit the website and enter your location in order to find the time when the satellites will be visible in your area.
Alternatively, you can use the free Night Sky app from the Apple store or Satellite Tracker, which is also compatible on Android phones.
According to Find Starlink, the satellites will be visible from the UK at:
5:20 am, 4 Sep 2020 - Look from Southwest to East
5:03 am, 6 Sep 2020 - Look from Southwest to East
5.44am, 7 Sep 2020 - Look from West to East
How can I watch the launch?
The launch is scheduled to take place on Thursday 3 September at 08:46am in Florida, which will be 13:46 in the UK.
If you would like to watch the launch live, it will be live-streamed on SpaceX’s YouTube channel.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, The Scotsman.