SpaceX wants to ring in the historic success of its Crew Dragon spacecraft the only way it knows how – sending 60-satellite Starlink satellites into orbit and landing another Falcon booster as few as three days after the company’s inaugural astronaut launch.
The mission – deemed Starlink-8 – will be SpaceX’s eighth Starlink launch overall and the seventh launch of upgraded v1.0 satellites, pushing the company a mission past the halfway point towards its first internet beta test. If successful, it will raise SpaceX’s ever-growing constellation to some ~475 satellites strong, approximately 400 spacecraft shy of the ~840 COO and President Gwynne Shotwell believes are necessary to begin rolling out Starlink internet service.
Delayed from May 7th to the 17th, 18th, and 19th before SpaceX called the mission off to give Crew Dragon’s inaugural astronaut launch space to breathe, Starlink-8 is now scheduled to launch no earlier than 9:25 pm EDT on June 3rd (02:25 UTC, 4 June). Aside from taking SpaceX another step towards an operational Starlink constellation and source of income independent of launches, the launch is also on track to mark several more critical milestones both in orbit and back on (or near) the ground.