SpaceX launches Starlink mission from Florida, delays west coast mission

Update 5:30 a.m. EDT/0930 UTC):

SpaceX has delayed the Starlink Group 7-1 mission to Friday at 12:30 a.m. PDT (3:30 a.m. EDT (0430 UTC). No explanation was given.

Update (10:10 p.m. EDT/0210 UTC):

SpaceX adjusted the launch time of the Starlink Group 7-1 mission. The new T-0 is now 1:42 a.m. PDT (4:42 a.m. EDT, 0842 UTC). The change was announced after SpaceX updated the launch time of the Starlink Group 6-10 mission.

Update (8:10 p.m. EDT/0010 UTC):

SpaceX adjusted the launch time of the Starlink Group 6-10 mission. The new T-0 is now 11:36 p.m. EDT (0336 UTC on Aug. 17). If needed, they have one more backup opportunity in this window at 12:00 a.m. EDT on Aug. 17 (0400 UTC).

Thick clouds remain over the Cape as thunderstorms continue to push eastward across Central Florida.

File photo of SpaceX’s Starlink V2 Mini satellites inside a payload processing facility at Cape Canaveral. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX will launch Starlink missions from launch pads on the east and west coast in the overnight hours from Wednesday into Thursday. The back-to-back Falcon 9 launches will be the 99th and 100th dedicated Starlink missions.

First up is the launch of 22 Starlink V2 Mini satellites using a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 9:55 p.m. EDT on Wednesday (0155 UTC Thursday). This mission is dubbed Starlink Group 6-10.

The booster supporting this East Coast mission, tail number B1067, will be making its 13th flight after previously supporting two crewed missions to the International Space Station, two cargo missions, four commercial satellite missions and four previous Starlink missions.

Heading into the launch opportunity the 45th Weather Squadron placed the probability of violating weather at 80 percent at the start of the window, which opened at 8:14 p.m. EDT (0014 UTC Thursday). The forecast improves to 35 percent probability of violating weather by the end of the window.

SpaceX opted Wednesday afternoon to push back the launch time from the start of the window. There are two more launch opportunities at 11:36 p.m. EDT (0336 UTC) and 12:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Aug. 17 (0400 UTC).

The second mission, called Starlink Group 7-1, is set to launch at 12:01 a.m. PDT (3:01 a.m EDT, 0701 UTC) Thursday from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The Falcon 9 will place 21 Starlink satellites into an orbit inclined 53 degrees to the equator.

The first stage booster for what could be the 100th dedicated Starlink mission, is making its 15th flight. It began its flight career in Florida but moved to the west coast, making its Vandenberg debut in August 2022. It launched the Crew-1, Crew-2, SXM-8, CRS-23, IXPE, Transporter-4, Transporter-5, Globalstar FM15 and ISI EROS C-3 missions, plus five deliveries of Starlink satellites.

Both planned launches will land their first stage boosters on drone ships. The east coast mission will use “A Shortfall of Gravitas” and the west coast mission will land on “Of Course I Still Love You.”