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Menopausal Mother Nature

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Launches: SpaceX Starlink launches for September

Tracking cam footage from the Falcon 9 Starlink launch on July 22, 2022. There are 5 SpaceX Starlink launches on the schedule for September. Image via SpaceX.

SpaceX Starlink launch on September 4/5

SpaceX will start launching its Starlink satellites for September with its first batch at 00:32 UTC on September 5 (5:32 p.m. PDT on September 4). The Starlink 4-20 mission will launch Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The time and date are still subject to change, but weather officials predict an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the satellites are waiting to depart. After liftoff, viewers can watch the Falcon 9 first stage return to Earth on the droneship Just Read the Instructions. It will mark the private company’s 140th booster landing.

This launch will also serve as a rideshare to launch Boeing’s Varuna Technology Demonstration Mission (Varuna-TDM) in a higher orbit at the same time. Varuna-TDM is a commercial program by Boeing, intended to demonstrate in-orbit performance for the company’s own constellation of 147 non-geostationary broadband satellites.

Want to watch the action? See the official live stream on September 5 on SpaceX’s YouTube channel. The stream will begin about five minutes before liftoff.

The second Starlink launch in September 2022 is also from Florida, on September 10. See the calendar below.

Starlink launches in September 2022

Starlink Group 4-20 & Varuna: Monday • September 5, 2022 • 00:32 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | DATE/TIME MAY CHANGE

Starlink Group 4-2 & BlueWalker 3: Saturday • September 10, 2022 • 23:50 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Kennedy Space Center, Florida | DATE/TIME MAY CHANGE

Starlink Group 4-34: Monday • September 12, 2022 • 00 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | DATE/TIME MAY CHANGE

Starlink Group 4-35: Friday • September 30, 2022 • 00 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | DATE/TIME MAY CHANGE

Starlink Group 4-36: Friday • September 30, 2022 • 00 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | DATE/TIME MAY CHANGE

This website might help you see the Starlink satellites in your sky

Growing numbers amid controversy

According to Wikipedia, as of July 2022 SpaceX has launched more than 3,000 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit. Though not all remained operational. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (@planet4589 on Twitter) keeps a web page tracking Starlink statistics, and as of September 1, 2022, he reported 2,386 operational Starlink satellites.

Love ’em or hate ’em, these Starlink satellites are part of SpaceX’s vision for a global internet communication satellite constellation. They deliver high-speed internet service worldwide, mainly to locations where ground-based internet is unreliable, unavailable or expensive. Starlink currently has about 500,000 subscribers. The private company is well-known for launching batches back to back, several times a month, regularly lofting 60 satellites at a time. And SpaceX plans to build up to perhaps as many as 30,000 eventually.

Many people thought seeing the first few Starlink satellites traveling together in the night sky was exciting. But then more were launched, and then more. And astronomers began to worry.

Because Starlinks are bright, astronomers say they’re photobombing astronomical images. They’re interfering with the professional astronomical observations that have brought us our modern-day view of the cosmos. And although SpaceX has tried to address the issue, they remain far from what astronomers say is acceptable.

Read more: Satellites versus stars: Which will dominate the sky?

Visit Jonathan McDowell’s Starlinks stats page

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Charlie Favret in Round Rock, Texas, captured this photo on December 13, 2019. The shorter dashes are star trails; the long parallel lines are Starlink satellites. Plus, there are also 2 meteors in this photo. Thank you, Charlie.

Bottom line: SpaceX has five Starlink launches scheduled for September 2022. The first one, Starlink 4-20 and Varuna, is scheduled to take flight at 00:32 UTC, September 5, from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Via Space Launch Schedule


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