SpaceX rocket poised to launch on record-breaking 17th flight tonight

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch for a record-setting 17th time tonight (Sept. 19).

Topped with 22 of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites, the Falcon 9 is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 10:47 p.m. EDT (0247 GMT on Sept. 20).

You can watch the event live via SpaceX’s account on X (formerly Twitter). Coverage is expected to start about five minutes before launch.

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth 8.5 minutes after launch and land on a SpaceX drone ship stationed at sea.

It will be the 17th liftoff and landing for this Falcon 9’s first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. That will mark a new rocket reusability milestone; two Falcon 9 boosters currently have 16 flights under their belts.

The 22 Starlink satellites aboard the rocket, meanwhile, are scheduled to deploy from the Falcon 9’s upper stage into low Earth orbit 62.5 minutes after launch.


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Tonight’s liftoff will extend another record as well: It will be SpaceX’s 65th orbital mission of the year. The company’s previous mark, 61, was set in 2022.

Most of this year’s SpaceX launches have been dedicated to building out the Starlink megaconstellation, which currently consists of more than 4,700 operational satellites. That number should continue growing for quite some time, as SpaceX has permission to loft 12,000 Starlink craft and has applied for approval for an additional 30,000.

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