SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launches Starlink satellites from Cape Town on Tuesday

UPDATE: The SpaceX Falcon 9 liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 11:38 pm EDT Tuesday with 22 Starlink satellites, followed by a drone ship booster landing minutes later.

Welcome to Florida Today’s Space Team live coverage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Starlink 6-17 mission from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

If the tables hold, this year will be Space Coast’s 50th edition. For latest schedule updates, visit

SpaceX’s mission, which is slated to send 22 more Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit, was originally targeted for liftoff at 10:47 pm EDT. However, the crew is now looking at a backup launch opportunity at 11:38 p.m

11:47 pm EDT: The Falcon 9 first stage landed on SpaceX’s drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its landmark 17th mission.

11:38 pm EDT: SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with 22 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The first stage booster’s drone ship landing will arrive in about 8½ minutes.

11:23 pm EDT: Fifteen minutes before SpaceX’s scheduled 11:38 pm EDT Falcon 9 launch, the countdown appears to be proceeding as planned and refueling at Launch Complex 40 is well underway.

11:06 pm EDT: “All systems are good for tonight’s launch of 22 Starlink satellites from Florida,” SpaceX said.

Weather is 90% favorable for climbing.

10:20 p.m. EDT: SpaceX said crews are targeting an 11:38 pm EDT liftoff time.

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If necessary, three backup release opportunities will be available between 12:28 am and 1:46 am EDT Wednesday.

What’s more, there are five additional backup opportunities between 10:22 p.m. Wednesday and 1:21 a.m. Thursday EDT.

10:00 PM EDT: Here’s a rundown of tonight’s SpaceX countdown timeline. T-minus:

  • 38 minutes: SpaceX’s launch controller checks the launch of the propellant load.
  • 35 minutes: Rocket-grade kerosene loading and first stage liquid oxygen loading will begin.
  • 16 minutes: Secondary liquid oxygen loading begins.
  • 7 minutes: Falcon 9 starts engine cooling before launch.
  • 1 minute: Command flight computer begins final prelaunch tests; The propellant tank starts to pressurize to flight pressure.
  • 45 seconds: The SpaceX launch director checks the “go” for the launch.
  • 3 seconds: The engine controller commands the engine to start the ignition sequence.
  • 00:00:00: Falcon 9 liftoff.

9:36 PM EDT: Tonight’s launch by SpaceX will mark the 17th flight of the first stage booster — the first flight to reach that plateau.

After phase separation, the booster will land on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas 8½ minutes after takeoff in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron puts the odds of “Go” conditions for a possible launch at 60%.

“The most likely weather disturbance during the primary launch opportunity will be cumulus clouds associated with onshore moving rain,” the brigade’s forecast said.

Further: Rocket launch schedule: Upcoming Florida launches and landings

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service station in Melbourne expect a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight at the Space Force Station, with a low around 75, mostly cloudy skies and an east wind around 10 mph.

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  • Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Launch Complex 40 will host.
  • The payload is the company’s next batch of Starlink Internet-beaming satellites.
  • The 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket will continue on a southeast course between Florida and the Bahamas.

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  • If it launches on time, this year will mark the Space Coast’s 50th launch.
  • There are no local sonic booms with this mission.
  • The 130-foot first stage booster targets the landing drone eight minutes after liftoff.
  • This will mark the 17th mission for this particular first stage Falcon 9 booster.

And SpaceX Starlink missions are expected to launch soon from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, but the company has not yet announced when the next mission will launch. For latest schedule updates, visit

Rick Neal is a space reporter in Florida Today (for his stories, click here.) Contact Neal at 321-242-3638 or Twitter/X: @RickNeale1

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