SpaceX raced to get the Falcon 9 rocket ready to take off from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday evening as launch preparations fell behind schedule. Liftoff is currently scheduled for Wednesday morning at 2:27 am EST (0727 UTC) with 23 Starlink satellites.
The Starlink 6-29 mission was originally targeted for Tuesday at 11:01 pm EST (0401 UTC) but SpaceX pushed back the launch to 1:47 am EST (0647 UTC) and then to 2:27 EST (0727 UTC). There are two more starting opportunities on Wednesday morning, with the last coming at 2:59 am EST (0759 UTC).
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at Space Launch Complex 40 shortly before 10 p.m. EST (0300 UTC) much later than expected. The previous mission from Pad 40 ended four days early, so if the current launch time sticks, it will be the seventh fastest turnaround attempt for the seventh facility.
Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Wing said Monday’s weather forecast would be 90-percent favorable during the first chance, and the chance would drop slightly to 75-percent by the end of the launch.
After liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Falcon 9 will launch on a southeast track aiming for an orbit inclined 43 degrees to the equator. After burning its nine Merlin 1D engines for about two and a half minutes, the first stage will separate from the second stage and proceed to land on the drone ship ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ about 424 miles (682 km) into the Atlantic Ocean. ) from the publishing site.
Meanwhile, above, the second stage’s single vacuum Merlin engine will fire for about six minutes to reach the parking orbit. After about 45 minutes, the second-stage engine will re-ignite for a two-second burn to refine the orbit. The 23 V2 mini Starlink satellites will be sent within an hour and five minutes of launch.
It will be SpaceX’s 87th orbital launch of the year and the Falcon 9 rocket’s 276th flight to date.
SpaceFlight Now’s live coverage of the launch will begin one hour prior to liftoff. You can also watch 24-7 views of the launch pads on the Cape on our launch pad live stream.