Falcon 9 to Launch Third Starlink Cluster on Monday

60 Starlink satellites inside the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: Elon Musk)

SpaceX is preparing to launch its third cluster of 60 Starlink satellites on Monday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Falcon 9 booster is scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 on Jan. 6 at 9:19 p.m. EST (0219 GMT on Jan. 7). It will be the third dedicated launch of Starlink satellites following two successful flights last year that placed 120 spacecraft into orbit.

SpaceX will webcast the launch at www.spacex.com beginning about 20 minutes before the scheduled liftoff.

SpaceX has said it plans to conduct as many as 24 Starlink launches this year as it builds out a constellation of nearly 12,000 satellites designed to provide global broadband coverage to any location on Earth.

Elon Musk’s company has applied for permission to launch as many as 30,000 additional satellites to expand the constellation to 42,000 spacecraft.

The size and brightness of the Starlink constellation have raised fears among astronomers. The 120 satellites already in orbit have interfered with ground-based observations.

The Starlink satellites to be launched on Monday are covered in a new coating that is designed to reduce the problem.