We care about space, which is why we work hard to bring you the best coverage of the industry and Florida launches. This type of journalism takes time and money.
On Saturday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soared into clear skies above the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, capping off a coast-to-coast flurry of launches just under 24 hours apart.
The 230-foot rocket fired from Launch Complex 40 at 4:40 p.m. EDT and delivered 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit less than an hour later. It was the internet-beaming constellation’s 47th launch.
It came after another Falcon 9 rocket launched the 47th batch of Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday. SpaceX has delivered 106 Starlinks to orbit in the last two days, bringing the constellation’s total size closer to 2,500 operational satellites.
Saturday’s Cape mission featured a brand new booster, which flew flawlessly and landed on the Just Read the Instructions drone ship shortly after liftoff. It is expected to return to Port Canaveral for refurbishment early next week.
If schedules hold, the Space Coast will host a doubleheader next week.
On Wednesday, May 18, another SpaceX Falcon 9 will launch the company’s 48th batch of Starlink satellites from Kennedy Space Center. Because SpaceX has not yet confirmed the existence of this mission, details are limited, but liftoff is expected between 4 and 6 a.m. EDT.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will take Boeing’s Starliner capsule on its second demonstration mission to the International Space Station 36 hours later. The capsule is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 41 at 6:54 p.m. EDT. It is Boeing’s second attempt to reach the International Space Station with an uncrewed capsule after a 2019 test flight failed to meet objectives and had to return to Earth.
NASA chose Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station after the space shuttle program ended in mid-2011. So far, SpaceX has transported five crews, while Boeing could transport its first before the end of the year if Thursday’s mission goes well.
Launch Wednesday, May 18
- Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
- Mission: 48th Starlink launch
- Launch Time: Early morning TBD
- Launch Pad: 39A at Kennedy Space Center
- Trajectory: Northeast
- Landing: Drone ship
- Weather: Forecast expected Sunday
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: Northeast
- Weather: Forecast expected Monday