EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated to reflect new launch attempt May 23.
Follow the key events of the Falcon 9 rocket’s ascent to orbit 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket will lift off Thursday during a 90-minute opening at 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT Friday) from the Complex 40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Falcon 9 will head northeast from Cape Canaveral over the Atlantic Ocean to place the 60 Starlink satellites into a circular orbit around 273 miles (440 kilometers) above Earth.
The Falcon 9’s first stage will target a landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean nearly 400 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral.
The first stage booster launching tonight previous flew on two missions — the Telstar 18 VANTAGE launch from Florida in September 2018 and SpaceX’s eighth mission for Iridium from California in January.
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken arrived Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center, ready for spacesuit and spacecraft fit checks, and some time off with their families before launching next week on the first crewed flight into orbit from U.S. soil since 2011.
United Launch Alliance and Boeing teams worked through the weekend on closeouts of the Starliner crew capsule, inspections and final outfitting of the Atlas 5 rocket. A launch readiness review Tuesday approved the continuation of final preparations for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Friday of the first Starliner spacecraft on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station.
Flight controllers at NASA’s mission control center in Houston have completed the robotic swap out of a failed power distribution unit outside the International Space Station, clearing a hurdle ahead of Friday’s predawn launch from Cape Canaveral of a SpaceX supply ship.