SpaceX launch recap: Starlink mission Thursday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Launch recap: Scroll down to review live coverage of the Thursday, May 23, liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the Starlink 6-63 mission.

Welcome to FLORIDA TODAY's Space Team live coverage of tonight’s hours-delayed SpaceX Starlink 6-63 mission from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX is now targeting the tail end of tonight's launch window — 10:45 p.m. EDT — to send up a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A. The mission will mark back-to-back nightly launches from the Cape.

The Falcon 9 will deploy a batch of 23 Starlink internet satellites, which are packed inside the fairing atop the 230-foot rocket. And meteorological conditions should be ideal: The Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron forecasts 95% odds of "go for launch" weather.

No Central Florida sonic booms should occur during this Starlink 6-63 mission. After soaring skyward along a southeasterly trajectory, the rocket's first-stage booster will target landing aboard a SpaceX drone ship out at sea nearly 8½ minutes after liftoff.

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Countdown Timer

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster lands

Update 10:53 p.m.: The Falcon 9 first-stage booster just landed aboard SpaceX's drone ship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its 13th mission.


Update 10:45 p.m.: SpaceX has just launched the Falcon 9 carrying 23 Starlink satellites from pad 39A at KSC.

SpaceX launch webcast begins

Update 10:39 p.m.: SpaceX's launch webcast hosted on X (formerly Twitter) is now posted above, right below the countdown clock.

Liftoff is scheduled in six minutes from KSC.

SpaceX booster to land on drone ship

Update 10:32 p.m.: Tonight's mission marks the 13th flight for this Falcon 9 first-stage booster, SpaceX reported.

The booster previously launched Crew-5, GPS III Space Vehicle 06, Inmarsat I6-F2, CRS-28, Intelsat G-37, NG-20 and six Starlink missions.

Following stage separation, crews expect the booster to land on the SpaceX drone ship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean 8 minutes, 15 seconds after liftoff.

SpaceX launch countdown timeline

Update 10:23 p.m.: Here's a rundown of SpaceX’s behind-the-scenes countdown timeline. T-minus:

  • 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 Falcon 9 fueling now underway

Update 10:13 p.m.: Visual cues indicate Falcon 9 fueling procedures are now underway at pad 39A, though SpaceX has yet to make an official announcement.

That means tonight’s Starlink countdown is now locked in to lift off at 10:45 p.m. without any delays, or else the launch must be postponed.

Radar showing clear SpaceX launch skies

Update 10 p.m.: No cloud cover of note is showing up on this National Weather Service radar loop from the Melbourne Orlando International Airport station.

SpaceX launch prep underway in Brevard

Update 9:44 p.m.: Brevard County Emergency Management officials have activated the agency's launch operations support team ahead of SpaceX’s upcoming Falcon 9 launch.

Starlink now connecting 3 million+ people

Update 9:29 p.m.: During the past week, Starlink officials announced their high-speed internet constellation is now connecting more than 3 million people, with the Republic of Fiji's 300-plus islands marking the network's 99th country, territory or market.

Space Force: 95% 'go for launch' weather

Update 9:12 p.m. Additional details from the 45th Weather Squadron's forecast for tonight's launch:

"Dry, stable conditions will continue through at least Friday with only a few isolated showers expected each day at seabreeze initiation, which should move well inland by the launch window," the forecast said.

"Nevertheless, a stray onshore moving shower can’t be ruled out, so the only concern is for the Cumulus Cloud Rule violation," the forecast said.

For the latest news and launch schedule from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and KSC, visit

Rick Neale is a Space Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Neale at Twitter/X: @RickNeale1

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX launch recap: Thursday Starlink 6-63 from Kennedy Space Center