CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 15 (UPI) — SpaceX’s first Starlink satellite launch is set for 10:30 p.m. Wednesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, aimed at delivering 60 satellites as part of SpaceX’s own high-speed internet service.
With such new service launching for the first time, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted, “Much will likely go wrong,” without elaborating.
Musk provided a photo of the satellites packed inside the nose cone of the rocket awaiting launch.
Weather is good for liftoff, with 80 percent favorable conditions for Wednesday and a second possible launch window Thursday, according to the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron.
The Starlink payload will ride aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 into low-Earth orbit. With few clouds expected, the launch might be seen from around Central Florida.
Tickets to view the launch from inside Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex were sold out. The complex was to close at its normal hour, 6 p.m., and reopen only for ticket holders at 8:30 p.m.
SpaceX has launched demonstration satellites, but those planned to be sent aloft Wednesday are the first real Starlink satellites. According to the Air Force’s airspace closure warning, the first 60 satellites are dubbed Version 0.9, indicating the satellites still might not be in final “Version 1” configuration.
SpaceX is one of several big players trying to start new networks that use thousands of non-geostationary satellites to offer high-speed Internet and other types of communication around the globe. The focus is on boosting Internet access to rural areas first.
Others companies include OneWeb, which launched its first six satellites in February, and Telesat.
SpaceX first filed for permits for the new constellation of satellites in 2016.
The Federal Communications Commission approved a SpaceX application in 2018 to “provide broadband services using satellite technology in the United States and around the world.” SpaceX has indicated plans to launch up to 12,000 satellites eventually as part of the booming NewSpace era.