SpaceX launch recap: Starlink mission Monday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida

Launch recap: Scroll down to review live coverage of the Monday, March 25, liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.

Welcome to FLORIDA TODAY's Space Team live coverage of tonight’s SpaceX Starlink 6-46 mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX is now targeting 7:42 p.m. EDT, nearly two hours later than originally scheduled, to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40.

The Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron says the odds of "go for launch" weather conditions are greater than 95%. However, the squadron warned of a low-to-moderate chance of unfavorable booster recovery weather for SpaceX's drone ship out at sea.

Cape Canaveral: Is there a launch today? Upcoming rocket launch schedule for SpaceX, NASA in Florida

The Falcon 9 will deploy a payload of Starlink internet-beaming satellites, which are packed inside the fairing atop the 230-foot rocket.

No Central Florida sonic booms are expected during this Starlink 6-46 mission. After soaring skyward along a southeasterly trajectory, the rocket's first-stage booster will target landing aboard a drone ship out at sea 8½ minutes after liftoff.

Countdown Timer

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster lands

Update 7:50 p.m.: The Falcon 9 first-stage booster just landed aboard SpaceX's drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas out on the Atlantic Ocean, wrapping up its eighth flight.


Update 7:42 p.m.: SpaceX has just launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX launch webcast begins

Update 7:37 p.m.: SpaceX's launch webcast hosted on X (formerly Twitter) is now posted above, right below the countdown clock.

Liftoff is scheduled in five minutes from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX countdown still ticking down

Update 7:33 p.m.: Nine minutes before tonight's scheduled liftoff, the SpaceX launch countdown appears to be continuing as planned.

Weather radar shows clear pre-launch skies

Update 7:29 p.m.: This National Weather Service radar loop of the Southeast shows clear upper-level skies across Florida — though low-lying clouds are prevalent across the Space Coast.

SpaceX booster to land on drone ship

Update 7:19 p.m.: Tonight's mission marks the eighth flight for this Falcon 9 first-stage booster, SpaceX reported.

The booster previously launched Crew-6, SES O3b mPOWER, USSF-124 and four Starlink missions, SpaceX reported.

Following stage separation, crews expect the booster to land on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas out on the Atlantic Ocean 8 minutes, 25 seconds after liftoff.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 first-stage booster floats into Port Canaveral just after sunrise in August 2021 aboard the SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 first-stage booster floats into Port Canaveral just after sunrise in August 2021 aboard the SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas.

SpaceX Falcon 9 fueling now underway

Update 7:08 p.m.: Falcon 9 fueling procedures are now underway at Launch Complex 40, SpaceX just announced.

That means tonight’s Starlink mission is now committed to lift off at 7:42 p.m. without any countdown delays, or else the launch must be postponed.

SpaceX launch countdown timeline

Update 7:04 p.m.: Here's a behind-the-scenes rundown of SpaceX’s countdown timeline. T-minus:

  • 38 minutes: SpaceX launch director verifies “go” for propellant load.

  • 35 minutes: Rocket-grade kerosene and first-stage liquid oxygen loading begins.

  • 16 minutes: Second-stage liquid oxygen loading begins.

  • 7 minutes: Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch.

  • 1 minute: Command flight computer begins final prelaunch checks; propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins.

  • 45 seconds: SpaceX launch director verifies “go” for launch.

  • 3 seconds: Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start.

  • 0 seconds: Liftoff.

SpaceX: 'All systems are ready'

Update 6:53 p.m.: Update from SpaceX: "All systems are ready and weather is go with less than one hour until Falcon 9’s launch of @Starlink satellites from Florida."

At 5:55 p.m., the National Weather Service reported overcast skies, 10 mph easterly winds and a temperature of 73 degrees at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

A high rip current risk and high surf advisory remain in effect across Brevard County.

SpaceX launch prep underway in Brevard

Update 6:46 p.m.: Brevard County Emergency Management officials have activated the agency's launch operations support team ahead of SpaceX’s upcoming Falcon 9 launch.

Space Force launch forecast details

Update 6:19 p.m.: Following are details from the 45th Weather Squadron forecast, which predicted greater than 95% odds of favorable weather for the upcoming launch.

"Models show an extensive low-topped stratocumulus deck piling into the Spaceport going into the primary launch window Monday afternoon, but it is expected that these clouds will pose little to no launch weather threat as they remain relatively warm and the very dry air above the surface limits cloud growth," the forecast said.

Regardless, cumulus clouds represent the mission's primary weather concern, along with a low-to-moderate risk of poor offshore booster-recovery weather and a moderate risk of solar activity.

For the latest news and launch schedule from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit

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

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX launch recap: Starlink mission Monday from Cape Canaveral