Live updates from the Falcon 9 Starlink launch at the Cape

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Welcome to FLORIDA TODAY’s Space Team’s live coverage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Starlink 6-24 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX is targeting 10:17 PM EDT to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on another Starlink mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predicted there was a 95% chance of “kick-off” weather at launch.

Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center hosted 31 orbital rocket launches, a new annual record, in 2021. Launches then jumped to 57 last year — a new record reflecting an 84% increase.

On Tuesday, the successful SpaceX Starlink mission marked Cape’s 57th orbital launch so far in 2023, equaling the record set last year.

There shouldn’t be any local sonic booms with the upcoming launch of Starlink, which will deploy 23 of the company’s Internet broadcast satellites in low Earth orbit.

After taking off from Launch Complex 40, the Falcon 9 will turn southeast before targeting a first-stage booster that lands on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas.

When SpaceX’s live webcast hosted on X (formerly Twitter) becomes available approximately five minutes before liftoff, it will be posted at the top of this page.

Updated at 9:43 PM EST: SpaceX announced that fueling procedures for the Falcon 9 rocket are now underway at Launch Complex 40

This means that the Starlink 6-24 mission is now committed to liftoff at 10:17 PM EDT, otherwise the launch must be postponed.

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Updated at 9:30 PM EST: Brevard County Emergency Management officials activated the agency’s launch support team ahead of the Falcon 9 launch.

Updated at 9:15 PM EST: Here’s a summary of the schedule for tonight’s SpaceX countdown. T minus:

  • 38 minutes: SpaceX’s launch director checks propellant loading.
  • 35 minutes: The loading of rocket kerosene and the first stage of liquid oxygen begins.
  • 16 minutes: The second stage of liquid oxygen loading begins.
  • 7 minutes: The Falcon 9 begins engine cooling before launch.
  • 1 minute: The flight command computer begins final pre-launch checks; The fuel tank pressure starts until it reaches cruising pressure.
  • 45 seconds: SpaceX’s launch director checks the “go” for the launch.
  • 3 seconds: The engine control module controls the start of the engine ignition sequence.
  • 00:00:00: Falcon taking off 9.

Updated at 8:45 PM EST: This is the fourth flight of the first stage supporting the mission, SpaceX reports.

After stage separation, the booster is scheduled to land on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean 8 minutes and 22 seconds after liftoff.

The first target time for the launch of the Starlink 6-24 mission is 10:17 PM EDT on Saturday.

Five backup opportunities are available if necessary, running from 11:07 PM until 2:15 AM EST on Sunday.

more: Rocket launch schedule: Upcoming launches and landings in Florida

Space Force forecast ‘extremely favorable’ for liftoff

The Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron pegs the odds of “launch” conditions at 95 percent for a likely launch.

“General launch weather conditions look very favorable for a launch attempt this weekend. (Friday), a deep mid-level trough is digging into the Southeast and an associated weak cold front will move through the area tonight into (Saturday) morning.” Launch forecasts said.

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“(Saturday) another batch of dry air will seep in as low-level winds shift to the west/northwest behind the front, and high pressure builds in the area,” the forecast said.

Regardless, the 45th Weather Squadron forecast calls for a low to moderate risk of upper-level wind shear as the benchmark for danger.

SpaceX launch: Here’s everything you need to know

  • It will host the Cape Canaveral Space Station’s Launch Complex 40.
  • The payload is SpaceX’s next batch of 22 Starlink Internet broadcast satellites.
  • The 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket will follow a southeast trajectory, passing between Florida and the Bahamas.
  • This launch will mark the Space Coast’s record-breaking 58th launch this year.
  • No local sonic spikes will occur during this task.
  • The 130-foot-long first-stage booster will target a landing drone ship about 8 1/2 minutes after liftoff.

For the latest schedule updates from the Cape, visit

Rick Neal is a space reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here). Call Neale at 321-242-3638 or [email protected]. Twitter/X: @Rick Neal1

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