SpaceX plans to launch its next group of Starlink broadband satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket as soon as Tuesday, Jan. 21, from Cape Canaveral, two days after the company is scheduled to launch a modified Falcon 9 booster from a separate facility at the Florida spaceport to test the Crew Dragon spaceship’s emergency escape system.
Sixty more satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink global Internet network streaked into orbit Monday night from Cape Canaveral, including one spacecraft to test an experimental dark coating to address scientists’ concerns that the thousands of the quarter-ton, flat-panel satellites will impede astronomical observations.
SpaceX teams across the United States are readying for what the company’s chief operating officer predicts will be a record number of launches in 2020. Before the end of January, SpaceX aims to perform four Falcon 9 launches from Florida’s Space Coast — three for the company’s Starlink broadband network, and a crucial in-flight abort test for the Crew Dragon spacecraft no earlier than Jan. 11.
SpaceX’s next launch of satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network — planned in the final days of 2019 — will carry one spacecraft with an experimental coating designed to make it less reflective in orbit, a first step in assuaging concerns from scientists who say the deployment of thousands more Starlink stations would impede some astronomical observations.