SpaceX launches Starlink 6-49 in Friday night rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida

Twenty-three new Starlink satellites are heading to low-Earth orbit after launching from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Launch Complex 40 Friday night. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the pad at 9:40 p.m., illuminating the night sky as it flew on a southeastern trajectory.

This followed a 18-minute delay in the fueling, with the original launch time being 9:22 p.m. SpaceX did not give a reason for the pushed launch time.

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Within two-and-a half minutes into the flight, the first and second stages of the vehicle separated, proceeded by the firing of the second stage to boost the Starlink satellites into orbit. Meanwhile, the Falcon 9 first stage began its return to Earth. Just under 8-and-a-half minutes into the flight, that Falcon 9 first stage landed on SpaceX drone ship, A Shortfall of Gravitas, south of the Space Coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

This SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket flew and landed twenty times

This flight marked a milestone for this specific Falcon 9, as it was the 20th time it was flown and landed. The first stage booster has quite the history, including launching crewed missions Inspiration4 and Axiom 1. Inspiration4, launched on September 16, 2021, was the first all civilian mission to space. Axiom 1, launched on April 8, 2022, was the first crewed mission to the International Space Station for Axiom Space, a Houston, Texas based private space company. This first stage booster was also utilized to launch 12 Starlink missions.

SpaceX launched Starlink 6-49 on a historical day

Although no humans were onboard Friday night's launch, it was a significant day in human spaceflight. On April 12, 1961, the first human to reach space, Yuri Gagarin, launched on Vostok 1. Twenty years later, on April 12, 1981, the first Space Shuttle (STS-1), Columbia, launched from Florida. For these reasons, April 12th has been dubbed International Day of Human Spaceflight.

Brooke Edwards is a Space Reporter for Florida Today. Contact her at or on X: @brookeofstars.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Starlink 6-49 launches from Florida Friday