SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launches 23 Starlink Satellites in Brevard Space Coast Mission

Welcome to FLORIDA TODAY’s Space Team live coverage of tonight’s SpaceX Starlink 6-53 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX officials postponed the mission’s initial Monday night launch window while facing a poor weather forecast. Now, SpaceX is targeting 6:17 p.m. EDT to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The Falcon 9 will deploy another batch of 23 Starlink internet satellites, which are packed inside the fairing atop the 230-foot rocket.

No Central Florida sonic booms are expected during this Starlink 6-53 mission. After soaring skyward along a southeasterly trajectory, the rocket’s first-stage booster will target landing aboard a drone ship out at sea 8½ minutes after liftoff.

Update 6:25 p.m.: The Falcon 9 first-stage booster just landed aboard SpaceX’s drone ship Just Read the Instructions out on the Atlantic Ocean, completing its ninth mission.

Update 6:17 p.m.: SpaceX has just launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Update 6:12 p.m.: SpaceX’s launch webcast hosted on X (formerly Twitter) is now posted above, right below the countdown clock.

Liftoff is scheduled in five minutes from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Update 6:04 p.m.: Tonight’s mission marks the ninth flight for this Falcon 9 first-stage booster, SpaceX reported.

The booster previously launched Crew-6, SES O3b mPOWER, USSF-124 and five Starlink missions.

Following stage separation, crews expect the booster to land on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions out on the Atlantic Ocean 8 minutes, 31 seconds after liftoff.

Update 5:56 p.m.: “All systems and weather are looking good for today’s launch from Florida,” SpaceX officials announced in a tweet.

Update 5:50 p.m.: Brevard County Emergency Management officials have activated the agency’s launch operations support team ahead of SpaceX’s upcoming Falcon 9 launch.

Update 5:43 p.m.: Falcon 9 fueling procedures are now underway at Launch Complex 40, SpaceX just announced.

That means tonight’s Starlink countdown is now locked in to lift off at 6:17 p.m. without any delays, or else the launch must be postponed.

Update 5:29 p.m.: Following is a breakdown of SpaceX’s behind-the-scenes countdown timeline. T-minus:

– 38 minutes: SpaceX launch director verifies “go” for propellant load.
– 35 minutes: Rocket-grade kerosene and first-stage liquid oxygen loading begins.
– 16 minutes: Second-stage liquid oxygen loading begins.
– 7 minutes: Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch.
– 1 minute: Command flight computer begins final prelaunch checks; propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins.
– 45 seconds: SpaceX launch director verifies “go” for launch.
– 3 seconds: Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start.
– 0 seconds: Liftoff.


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