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SpaceX Starlink launch marks record-breaking 59th orbital launch from Space Coast


After a Sunday night scrub, SpaceX’s launch director made a welcome announcement during a subsequent second try Monday night at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

“Go for launch,” he said with 45 seconds remaining on the countdown clock.

The Falcon 9 rocket rose skyward from Launch Complex 40 shortly afterward as darkness fell at 7:20 EDT, carrying a payload of 23 Starlink internet-beaming satellites into low-Earth orbit.

SpaceX’s Starlink 6-25 mission marked the record-breaking 59th orbital launch this year from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center.

The Falcon 9 first-stage booster landed aboard SpaceX’s drone ship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its eighth mission.

SpaceX started lifting its second-generation Starlink V2 Mini internet satellites into low-Earth orbit earlier this year from Cape Canaveral. Earlier this month, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said there is “a good chance” that the company’s far-larger Texas-based Starship Super Heavy rocket will start deploying V3 Starlink satellites into orbit in roughly a year.

“With Falcon 9, we’ve gone pretty far with reusability. The booster … it’s now highly unusual for the booster to not come back and land. It’s gotten quite normal for the booster to come back and land,” Musk said during an Oct. 5 International Astronautical Congress fireside chat.

Case in point: On Sept. 20, a Falcon 9 first stage booster logged its record-breaking 17th flight during a Starlink flight from Launch Complex 40, touching down on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean. 

“But the Falcon 9 design does not allow for reusability of the upper stage. And the Falcon 9, while reasonably rapid — especially if you’ve got a return-to-launch-site landing — still takes at least a few days to refurbish before you can fly it again,” Musk said during the fireside chat.

“With Starship, actually more profound than the size is the fact that it is designed to be fully and rapidly reusable,” Musk said.

When is SpaceX’s next Starlink launch from Florida’s Space Coast?

Though SpaceX has yet to announce its next Starlink mission from the Cape, an updated National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency navigational advisory issued Monday night indicates a rocket launch window will open from 6:23 to 10:54 p.m. EDT Friday.

For the latest schedule updates, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.

Rick Neale is a Space Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here.) Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or rneale@floridatoday.com. Twitter/X: @RickNeale1

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