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How to see Wednesday morning’s SpaceX Starlink launch from Tampa Bay

The SpaceX Falcon 9 will carry 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit and you can see it all from Tampa Bay.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasts off carrying Starlink satellites into orbit.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX will launch another rocket at 4:28 a.m. on Wednesday from Cape Canaveral. 

SpaceX’s Starlink V1.0 L23 mission will launch 60 Starlink satellites atop its Falcon 9 rocket. This will be the 23rd launch of the Starlink satellites, and the eighth launch of the satellites in 2021. 

According to FloridaToday.com, this will bring the total number of Starlink satellites to 1,259 operating in low-Earth orbit, out of the 1,325 launched to date. 

Starlink is SpaceX’s internet communication satellite constellation. The low-Earth orbit constellation will deliver fast, high-speed internet service to locations where ground-based internet is unreliable, unavailable, or expensive.

EverydayAstronaut.com says that after 24 launches, SpaceX will achieve global coverage, but, according to Space.com, the constellation will not be complete until approximately 42,000 satellites are in orbit. 

SpaceX isn't the only company with mega-constellation ambitions. Both Amazon and OneWeb (headquartered in London) plan to establish large networks of broadband satellites in low-Earth orbit as well.

Conditions are favorable for tomorrow’s SpaceX launch. The weather forecast from the 45th Weather Squadron was calculated at a 90-percent "go" for liftoff from NASA’s Launch Complex 40. 

Skies should provide adequate viewing for those in Tampa Bay Wednesday morning. While some clouds will be possible, you should be able to see the fiery exhaust from the rocket. Just look northeast around the launch time of 4:28 a.m. It’s often a minute or two after the actual launch that it becomes visible in Tampa Bay.

Following Wednesday's liftoff, the next scheduled launch is the Crew-2 mission that will send the next round of astronauts to space aboard the Crew Dragon. 

The spacecraft will carry NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet to the International Space Station. 

After the Crew Dragon arrives next month, the space station will temporarily have 11 astronauts on-board. 

Crew-1 commander Mike Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialists Soichi Noguchi and Shannon Walker will depart the ISS in late April or early May to head for splashdown off the coast of Florida, concluding a five-and-a-half month flight in orbit. 

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