A Falcon 9 rocket will carry another stack of Starlink satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base this week as SpaceX continues building a system already helping students in Arizona as well as Rwanda.

According to standard notices about an upcoming launch, the liftoff will occur between 9:59 p.m. Tuesday and 12:15 a.m. Wednesday with blastoff from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

Late Tuesday morning, SpaceX confirmed the launch would target an 11:02 p.m. liftoff, with a backup opportunity at 10:48 p.m. Wednesday, if needed.

The rocket will carry 52 Starlink satellites as SpaceX continues to expand its constellation to deliver internet access where the service isn’t available or reliable. 

Following the Falcon rocket launch, SpaceX intends to land the first-stage booster on a drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Pacific Ocean several hundred miles off the Central Coast.

A drone ship landing means Central Coast residents won’t hear sonic booms that accompany a return to Vandenberg.

The cargo for the mission will add to the Starlink constellation that already has been used by students around the globe.

For example, the London-based Tony Blair Institute for Global Change paired with Starlink and Rwanda “to bring fast, reliable internet” to students. 

“Connecting the first cohort of 50 schools in the 500-school pilot was an exciting moment,” the organization said on its website.

In Arizona, meanwhile, Starlink Mobility is providing high-speed internet for students who ride buses to and from school for more than an hour.

Coconino County connected with two schools districts to determine how a pair of high-performance kits could let youths get connected to complete homework during their bus rides. The sprawling, sparsely populated county in the north-central part of the state is larger than each of the nine smallest states in the country.

“The opportunity to deploy new technology to connect underserved rural communities is a tremendous achievement,” said Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler

This wasn’t the first time Starlink has provided high-speed internet to rural areas of Northern Arizona.

A private donation helped Coconino County successfully became an early customer, purchasing and launching Starlink internet in a 45-household trial in 2021.

Officials identified K-12 students living on the Navajo Nation lacking access to the internet or dealing with extremely slow speeds.

To date, the county facilitated approximately 300-plus implementations of Starlink internet services for a free two-year period, made possible by private donations. This allowed students the ability to connect with education providers and continue to study remotely.

The Starlink satellites will join thousands of others already in orbit for the ongoing effort to develop a space-based constellation of craft to provide internet access to remote areas around the globe.

The Vandenberg mission will mark the first of three Falcon rocket launches with Starlink satellites in than less than seven days, with the other two set to take place from Florida.

A live broadcast of the mission can be found about five minutes before the planned launch time on the SpaceX website or its YouTube channel.