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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soared into clear skies over Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Saturday, completing a wave of coast-to-coast launches just under 24 hours away. interval.
The 230-foot rocket flying from Launch Complex 40 rocketed 53 Starlink satellites at 4:40 p.m. EDT and, less than an hour later, delivered them to low Earth orbit. This was the 47th launch of the internet broadcast constellation.
It followed a Friday launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, where another Falcon 9 powered the 47th batch of Starlink satellites. Over the past two days, SpaceX has delivered 106 Starlinks into orbit and pushed the constellation’s overall size ever closer to 2,500 operational satellites.
Saturday’s Cape mission included an all-new booster, which completed its maiden flight without issue and landed on the Just Read the Instructions drone shortly after liftoff. She is expected to return to Port Canaveral for refit work early next week.
Looking ahead, the Space Coast is set for a double header next week if the schedules hold.
First, another SpaceX Falcon 9 is set to launch the company’s 48th batch of Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, May 18. SpaceX has yet to confirm the existence of this mission, so details are scarce, but liftoff is scheduled between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. EDT.
About 36 hours later, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is tasked with carrying Boeing’s Starliner capsule on its second demonstration mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff of the capsule from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 41 is scheduled for 6:54 p.m. EDT. It is Boeing’s second attempt to reach the ISS with an unmanned capsule after a test flight in 2019 fell short of its objectives and had to return to the ground.
Both Boeing and SpaceX were selected by NASA to fly astronauts to the ISS after the Space Shuttle program ended in mid-2011. SpaceX has so far taken on five crew while Boeing could fly its first before the end of this year if Thursday’s mission goes well.
For the latest information, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Contact Emre Kelly at email@example.com or 321-242-3715. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly.
Launch Wednesday, May 18
- Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
- Mission: 48th Starlink launch
- Launch time: Early morning to be determined
- Launch Pad: 39A at Kennedy Space Center
- Trajectory: North-East
- Landing: drone ship
- Weather: Forecast expected Sunday
Stay tuned for the exact takeoff time at floridatoday.com/space. Real-time updates and Falcon 9 launch video will begin 60 minutes before liftoff.
Launch Thursday, May 19
- Rocket: United Launch Alliance Atlas V
- Mission: Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2
- Launch time: 6:54 p.m. EDT
- Launch Complex: 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
- Trajectory: North-East
- Weather: forecast expected on Monday
Visit floridatoday.com/space at 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 19 for real-time updates and Atlas V launch video.