Update: SpaceX’s Starlink 6-18 mission lifted off Saturday at 11:38 PM EDT from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station with the company’s 22 Internet-broadcasting satellites.Read our full post-launch story here.
SpaceX teams at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida are on track to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday with another batch of the company’s Starlink internet satellites.
The 230-foot rocket is scheduled to launch at 11:38 p.m. EDT with a four-hour launch window extending until 12:05 a.m. EDT Sunday morning. This will become the Space Coast’s 51st launch this year.
When a SpaceX stream hosted on X (formerly Twitter) becomes available approximately 5 minutes before liftoff, it will be made available at the top of this page.
Updates from Saturday’s event below:
Falcon 9 has landed:
11:47 PM EST: The first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket has landed on SpaceX’s Just Read the Instructions drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its 17th mission.
11:38 PM EST: SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket equipped with 22 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 40 Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. A drone ship for the first phase of the booster should land in about eight minutes.
11:05 PM EST: SpaceX reports that all systems are good for liftoff and that weather conditions still look good.
Here’s a look at the main event remaining on the countdown schedule:
- 38 minutes: SpaceX’s launch director checks propellant loading.
- 35 minutes: Rocket kerosene loading and the first stage of liquid oxygen loading begin.
- 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.
10:38 PM EST: At T-minus one hour, everything seems to be going as planned. No word yet from SpaceX if the target liftoff time of 11:38 PM EST will hold, but the weather is still favorable. If necessary, teams have until 12:05 a.m. to launch the Starlink 6-18 mission tonight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
If SpaceX is indeed committed to liftoff at 11:38 PM EDT, the launch director must give a “go” to continue fueling the Falcon 9 within 22 minutes.
10:08 PM EST: After lifting off from Launch Complex 40 at 11:38 p.m. EDT, the Falcon 9 booster flying on tonight’s Starlink mission will fly along a southeast trajectory with a booster landing targeting an unmanned ship stationed at sea about eight minutes later. This will be the 17th flight of the first phase of the booster. The weather around the spaceport still looks good. Stay tuned.
9:00 PM EST: As we wait for tonight’s countdown to liftoff, now scheduled for 11:38 PM EST, a quick check of the weather around the spaceport shows that conditions are “right” for a launch attempt. Stay tuned for more frequent updates as we get closer to the start of fueling.
8:00 PM EST: SpaceX is now targeting the launch of the Starlink 6-18 mission tonight at 11:38 PM EST.
A quick reminder that tonight’s launch window runs until 12:05 AM EST. Stay tuned.
7:30 PM EST: Good evening and welcome to our Space Team’s live coverage of the SpaceX Starlink 6-18 mission’s launch attempt tonight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. At last check, SpaceX is working on liftoff at 9:07 PM EST, and weather conditions around the spaceport should be 95% favourable. More frequent updates will be provided as we progress through the pre-launch countdown. Stay tuned.
Original story below:
The first opportunity to launch the Starlink 6-18 mission is at 11:38 PM EDT Saturday night, with more backup opportunities during a roughly four-hour launch window extending until just after midnight.
If teams need to, SpaceX has four backup slots available on Sunday starting at 8:41 PM EST.
What’s the weather forecast for the next SpaceX launch:
Weather conditions for the Starlink 6-18 mission, according to the Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 45 program, are expected to be excellent. Meteorologists with the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron on Friday predicted a 95% chance of “go-go” weather conditions around the spaceport for Saturday’s launch window.
The only concern is that there is a small chance that clouds from the coastal tropical system will move out of the area over the weekend.
“By Saturday evening, this system will be over North Carolina, leaving mostly dry conditions and northeast winds in the spaceport,” meteorologists said in a report Friday.
Recovery conditions for the enhanced landing attempt are listed as “low risk.”
- It will host the Cape Canaveral Space Station’s Launch Complex 40.
- The payload is the company’s next batch of Internet-broadcasting Starlink satellites.
- The 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket will follow a southeast trajectory between Florida and the Bahamas.
- If it launches on time, it will mark the 51st Space Coast launch this year.
- There are no local sound spikes with this task. The 130-foot-long first-stage booster will target a landing drone ship about eight minutes after liftoff.
- According to SpaceX, the first stage booster supporting tonight’s mission is flying for the 17th time.
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When will SpaceX’s next launch?
At nearby Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX teams are preparing a triple-core Falcon Heavy rocket for liftoff during the first week of October. The payload for this mission is NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, which will study a metal-rich asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter.
The interplanetary mission is tentatively scheduled to launch no later than 10:38 a.m. EDT, Thursday, October 5, from pad 39A. For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
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