Tuesday's Starlink mission from Cape Canaveral

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Initiate a reboot: Scroll down to review live coverage of the lift-off of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, April 23, marking the 300th Falcon booster landing.

Welcome to Florida Today's Space Team live coverage of tonight's SpaceX Starlink 6-53 mission from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX officials postponed the mission's initial Monday night launch window in the face of a bad weather forecast. Now, SpaceX is targeting a 6:17 pm EDT launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Falcon 9 will deploy another batch of 23 Starlink Internet satellites, packed inside the upper fairing of the 230-foot rocket.

No Central Florida sonic boom is expected during this Starlink 6-53 mission. After soaring into the sky on a southeast trajectory, the rocket's first-stage booster will aim to land on a drone ship in the ocean 8½ minutes after liftoff.

Cape Canaveral: Is there a launch today? Upcoming rocket launch schedule for SpaceX, ULA, NASA in Florida

UPDATE 6:25 PM: The Falcon 9 first-stage booster landed aboard SpaceX's drone ship, reading instructions over the Atlantic Ocean, completing its ninth mission.

Updated 6:17 pm: SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Updated 6:12 pm: SpaceX's launch webcast, hosted on X (formerly Twitter), is now live below the countdown clock.

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

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UPDATE 6:04 PM: Tonight's mission marks the ninth flight for the Falcon 9 first-stage booster, SpaceX said.

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

Following phase separation, the crew expects the booster to land aboard the drone, read instructions after 8 minutes, 31 seconds in the Atlantic Ocean.

Update 5:56 pm: “All systems and weather conditions are good for today's launch from Florida,” SpaceX officials announced in a tweet.

UPDATE 5:50 PM: Ahead of SpaceX's upcoming Falcon 9 launch, Brevard County Emergency Management officials have activated the agency's Launch Operations Support Team.

Update 5:43 pm: Falcon 9 fueling processes are now underway at Launch Complex 40, SpaceX recently announced.

That means tonight's Starlink countdown is locked to start at 6:17 PM without any delay, otherwise the launch will have to be postponed.

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

  • 38 minutes: The SpaceX launch director checks the “go” for the propellant load.
  • 35 minutes: Rocket-grade kerosene and first-stage liquid oxygen loading begins.
  • 16 minutes: The second phase of 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.
  • 0 seconds: Liftoff.

UPDATE 5:15 PM: SpaceX is targeting rocket launch attempts from the Space Coast on Saturday and Sunday, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency guidance notes.

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SpaceX has yet to announce these missions. But on Saturday night, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket could launch Galileo satellites for the European Space Agency's global navigation system between 8:29 p.m. and 9:11 p.m.

On Sunday, another Starlink launch window will open from 5:50 pm to 10:21 pm

Updated 4:54 pm: The Space Force's 45th Weather Wing is predicting a more than 95% chance of “go to launch” weather tonight.

“High pressure will develop over the southeastern U.S. overnight (Monday) and weaken rapidly, centered over NE Florida on Tuesday. Light east-northeast flow near the high center will move into the launch window Tuesday evening, but will allow for a low-first, strodocumulus-cumulus deck mix to run ashore,” the force said. The forecast said.

“These are not expected to be an early weather concern as their elevation will be limited by dry conditions aloft,” the forecast said.

For the latest news and launch schedules from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit floridatoday.com/space.

Rick Neal A space reporter in Florida today (for his stories, Click here.) Contact Neil [email protected]. Twitter/X: @RickNeale1

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