Falcon 9 will fly southeast after liftoff from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, aiming for a 185 × 178 mile (297 × 286 km) orbit inclined 53 degrees to the equator.
The first stage booster, on its sixth flight, previously launched the first Tranche 0 mission for the US military’s Space Development Agency and has flown four previous Starlink delivery missions. After the burn is complete, the first stage will land on the drone ship “Of Course I still Love You” moored about 400 miles (644 km) in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
Photo of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. Credit: SpaceX If all goes according to plan, 21 V2 Mini Starlink satellites will be deployed just over an hour after launch. The V2 Mini model was introduced earlier this year and is much larger than the V1.5 satellites. Equipped with improved antennas and larger solar panels, the latest models can transmit four times the bandwidth of previous satellites.
SpaceX recently announced that more than two million subscribers in more than 60 countries have signed up for its Starlink Internet service. From 2019 it launched 5,157 satellites, according to statistics compiled by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains the Space Flight Database. Of these satellites, 4,807 remain in orbit and 4,776 are operating normally.