Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

SpaceX lines up Canaveral launch Tuesday night, KSC launch Thursday

In this handout provided by NASA, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket with the Psyche spacecraft onboard is launched from Launch Complex 39A, Oct. 13, 2023, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.   (NASA/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Richard Tribou Orlando Sentinel Orlando Sentinel

It’s a busy week for SpaceX on the Space Coast with another Cape Canaveral launch set for late Tuesday and Thursday night launch from neighboring Kennedy Space Center.

First up is another Falcon 9 launch carrying another 23 of the company’s Starlink internet satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 targeting 11:01 p.m. Eastern with seven backup options from 11:23 p.m. until 3 a.m. Wednesday and eight backups on Wednesday night from 11 p.m. through 2:58 a.m. Thursday.

Space Launch Delta 45’s weather squadron gives the launch more than a 95% chance for good conditions, and 95% chance for good conditions in the event of a 24-hour delay.

The first-stage booster is making its 11th flight with a target landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions downrange in the Atlantic.

This would be the 61st launch from the Space Coast for the year.

Launch No. 62 is also a Falcon 9, but on the CRS-29 mission to the International Space Station launching from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A targeting 8:28 p.m. liftoff.

It’s the 29th resupply mission for SpaceX with its cargo Dragon filled with 6,500 pounds of supplies for the Expedition 70 crew with an expected arrival to the ISS about 5:20 a.m. Saturday. It includes a science experiment to measure atmospheric gravity waves and how it could affect Earth’s climate and a technology demonstration for laser communications among the ISS, an orbiting relay satellite and a ground-based observatory on Earth.

The launch was delayed this week because SpaceX teams found a leak in one of the Dragon spacecraft’s Draco thruster valves, and SpaceX opted to replace the thruster.

Dragon will spend about one month attached to the ISS before returning with about 3,800 pounds of cargo with a splashdown landing off the coast of Florida.

Each launch builds on the Space Coast’s record year having already surpassed 2022’s total of 57 launches in October. SpaceX has flown all but four of the year’s launches from either Canaveral or KSC while also flying another 23 missions from California.

It also attempted an orbital launch from Texas with the new Starship and Super Heavy, and is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a second attempt that could come as early as this month.