The next launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set for 11:59:11 a.m. EDT (1559:11 GMT) Wednesday with another group of satellites for the company’s Starlink Internet network. Two commercial Earth-observing satellites for BlackSky will also ride into orbit on the Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Despite a growing number of rocket options, the availability of on-time launch services remains a key factor in getting BlackSky’s constellation of Earth-imaging smallsats into orbit. SpaceX’s rideshare launch service will give BlackSky a chance to add two more spacecraft to its fleet on a Falcon 9 rocket with the next batch of Starlink Internet payloads.
A new sunshade, or visor, designed to reduce the brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband Internet satellites will debut on the company’s next launch, a measure intended to alleviate astronomers’ concerns about impacts on observations through ground-based telescopes, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Monday.