SpaceX launch delayed to Saturday night, but 'go for launch' weather odds are only 40%

SpaceX crews have postponed Friday night's Falcon 9 rocket launch attempt from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, opting to try instead for Saturday night.

SpaceX is now targeting liftoff at 11 p.m. EST Saturday, the company announced via tweet. This mission will send another payload of 23 Starlink satellites soaring into low-Earth orbit from Launch Complex 40.

If delays arise, additional launch opportunities for the Starlink 6-31 mission will remain available until 11:59 p.m. EST Saturday, SpaceX announced.

Space Force still predicts only 40% odds of 'go' weather

The Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron launch forecast only pegged the odds of "go for launch" weather at 40% for both Friday and Saturday nights.

Primary culprits: thick cloud layers and cumulous clouds. The squadron's forecast also noted a low to moderate risk of upper-level wind shear.

"High pressure has shifted from the eastern Gulf of Mexico into the western Atlantic. As a result, temperatures will rebound (Thursday) with veering southeasterly flow," the forecast said.

"The weather scenario begins to change Friday as a mid-latitude low drags a cold front from the Mississippi River Valley towards the Deep South through the evening. Pre-frontal moisture will be on the rise locally, bringing increasing cloud cover and showers into the forecast for the initial launch window Friday night," the forecast said.

"The weather scenario does not change significantly for the backup launch window Saturday night due to the lingering frontal boundary across the Deep South," the forecast said.

By just before 7 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service forecast called for mostly cloudy skies over Cape Canaveral Space Force Station as the evening wore on, with a low around 69 and south-southeast wind of 5 to 10 mph.

The NWS forecast calls for a slight chance of thunderstorms before 7 p.m. Saturday. Then skies should transition from cloudy to partly cloudy, with a low around 68 and south wind of 5 to 10 mph.

More: See how SpaceX's Starlink is driving record rocket launches on Florida's Space Coast

For the latest schedule updates at the Cape, 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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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX pushes next Starlink launch back to Saturday night from Cape