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cleaning! SpaceX paused the countdown to its Starlink launch attempt on Wednesday night

cleaning!  SpaceX paused the countdown to its Starlink launch attempt on Wednesday night

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Launch summary: Scroll down for live coverage of SpaceX's Wednesday, March 13 launch attempt of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.

Welcome to FLORIDA TODAY's Space Team's live coverage of tonight's postponed SpaceX Starlink 6-44 mission from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX is now targeting 9:39 PM EDT — nearly two hours later than initially announced — to launch its Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A.

The Falcon 9 will deploy a constellation of 23 Starlink internet satellites, which are positioned within the fascia atop the 230-foot-tall rocket.

Where to watch the launch: SpaceX Starlink Mission 6-44: Where to watch the Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral

The National Weather Service observed fair skies, a temperature of 73 degrees, and a south wind gusting to 12 mph as of 8:55 p.m. at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Station.

No local sonic booms are expected. After soaring toward the sky along a southeast trajectory, the rocket's first stage booster will aim to land on a drone ship at sea 8 and a half minutes after liftoff.

Updated 9:51 p.m Now, SpaceX's next launch window will open at 7:04 pm on Thursday.

The Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron pegged the odds of “launch to launch” conditions at 95 percent for this backup window.

“On Thursday, the boundary will clear to the north, taking most of the mid-level moisture with it. Excellent weather is ripe for a launch attempt Thursday evening with the cumulus cloud base only being a distant concern,” the squadron forecast. He said.

Update 9:39 p.m.: SpaceX stopped the countdown 2 minutes and 3 seconds before liftoff.

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No public reason for tonight's scrub was announced.

Update 9:34 p.m.: The SpaceX launch webcast hosted on X (formerly Twitter) is now posted directly below the countdown clock.

Liftoff is scheduled within five minutes from KSC.

Update 9:20 p.m.: “All systems and weather are currently ready for launch,” SpaceX said in a tweet at 9:04 p.m.

Here's a summary of SpaceX's remaining countdown schedule. T minus:

  • 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.
  • 0 seconds: Leaves.

Updated at 9:05 p.m.: Visual cues indicate that Falcon 9 fueling procedures are now underway at Pad 39A, SpaceX just announced.

This means that tonight's Starlink mission is now committed to liftoff at 9:39 p.m., otherwise the launch must be postponed.

Update 8:46 p.m.: SpaceX pushed back the target liftoff time by another 14 minutes, to 9:39 p.m

Update 8:36 p.m.: SpaceX said tonight's mission marks the 19th flight of the Falcon 9 first stage booster.

SpaceX reported that the well-traveled booster previously launched GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Inspiration4, Ax-1, Nilesat 301, OneWeb Launch 17, Arabsat Badr-8, and 11 Starlink missions.

After stage separation, the crew expects the booster to land on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean 8 minutes and 26 seconds after liftoff.

Update 8:15 p.m.: SpaceX's Starlink mission tonight is set to become the 17th launch so far this year from KSC and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

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Click here to review the previous 16 launches during 2024.

Update 7:55 p.m.: Do you have enough time to burn during the constant launch delay? Click here to view 13-minute USAF virtual meeting video Describes the SpaceX Starship-Super Heavy Environmental Impact Statement studies currently underway at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX hopes to rebuild Launch Complex 37, which United Launch Alliance uses today for spacecraft operations. CLICK HERE FOR FLORIDA TODAY'S COVERAGE OF THE PROPOSAL'S OPEN HOUSE March 5 at Katherine Schoensberg Road Central Library in Cocoa.

Update 7:23 p.m.: SpaceX has now pushed back the launch time to 9:25 p.m

Aside from thick cloud layers and cumulus clouds at the Cape, potential climate concerns include a low to moderate risk of upper-level wind shear, according to the Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron.

Update at 7 p.m.: The Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron put the weather odds of “shooting” tonight at 60%.

“Although the risk of convection will remain low, the movement of mid-level clouds across the spaceport may be a cause for concern regarding the initial launch window,” the squadron forecast said.

“Therefore, the primary weather concerns at launch on Wednesday evening will be for the base of the thick cloud layer and the base of the cumulonimbus clouds,” the forecast said.

Update 6:46 p.m.: Brevard County Emergency Management officials have activated the agency's launch support team ahead of SpaceX's upcoming Falcon 9 launch.

Updated at 6:30 p.m.: Tonight's Starlink launch from Florida will pave the way for the widely anticipated third flight test of SpaceX's massive Starship rocket in Boca Chica, Texas.

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The 110-minute launch window will open at 6 a.m. EST. Click here for more information about the spacecraft from FLORIDA TODAY space correspondent Brooke Edwards.

“The third flight test aims to build on what we have learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious goals, including a successful ascent burn in both stages, opening and closing the spacecraft's payload door, and demonstrating fuel transfer through the upper stage coast,” SpaceX's website says. On the web: “The first stage is the first relight of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled re-entry of a Starship.”

“It will also fly on a new trajectory, with the spacecraft targeting a landing in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path enables us to try new technologies like engine burn-in in space while maximizing public safety,” the website says.

Updated at 6:05 p.m.: SpaceX's original Falcon 9 launch target time of 7:29pm has been moved back to 7:51pm, according to the company's website. No reason has been revealed publicly.

Cape Canaveral: Is there a launch today? NASA's SpaceX's upcoming rocket launch schedule in Florida

For the latest news from KSC and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, visit floridatoday.com/space.

Rick Neil He is Florida Today's space correspondent (for more of his stories, click here.) Call Neale at 321-242-3638 or [email protected]. Twitter/X: @Rick Neal1

Space is important to us, which is why we work to provide the highest coverage of industry and launch operations in Florida. Such journalism requires time and resources. Please support him by subscribing here.