SpaceX to launch Falcon 9 rocket tonight on 16th mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 22 Starlink internet satellites to orbit this evening (Oct. 17), if all goes according to plan.

The Falcon 9 is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station today at 5:20 p.m. EDT (2120 GMT). If SpaceX doesn’t hit that target, there are five backup opportunities available between 6:11 p.m. EDT and 8:48 p.m. EDT (2211 to 0048 GMT), company representatives wrote in a mission description.

You can watch the action live via SpaceX’s account on X (formerly known as Twitter). Coverage will start about five minutes before launch.

The rocket’s first stage will come back to Earth, touching down at sea on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions about 8.5 minutes after launch. It’ll be the 16th flight for this particular rocket’s first stage — one shy of the company’s reuse record, which was set just last month.

The 22 Starlink satellites, meanwhile, are scheduled to deploy from the Falcon 9’s upper stage about 65 minutes after launch.


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SpaceX has launched more than 70 orbital missions in 2023, most of which have been dedicated to building out the company’s Starlink megaconstellation.

Starlink, which beams internet service down to customers around the world, currently consists of nearly 4,900 operational satellites, and the number keeps growing, as tonight’s planned launch shows.


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