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 Wednesday during a 90-minute opening at 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT Thursday) 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.
Data source: SpaceX
After the rocket’s nine Merlin engines pass an automated health check, hold-down clamps will release the Falcon 9 booster for liftoff from pad 40.
T+0:01:13: Max Q
The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure, a few seconds after surpassing the speed of sound.