SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to tie reuse record with 19th launch on March 23


For the second time in a mere month, SpaceX is poised to tie its rocket-reuse record.

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites is scheduled to launch Saturday evening (March 23) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a four-hour window that opens at 7:29 p.m. EDT (2329 GMT).

It will be the 19th liftoff for this Falcon 9’s first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. That will tie a mark set by a different booster this past December and matched by another rocket on Feb. 22.

You can watch Saturday’s liftoff via SpaceX’s account on X, if it happens. Coverage will begin about five minutes before the launch window opens.

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth for the 19th time on Saturday. It will make a vertical landing about 8.5 minutes after liftoff on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions, which will be stationed off the Florida coast.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, will deploy the 23 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) about 65 minutes after liftoff.

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Saturday’s launch will be the 28th Falcon 9 mission of 2024 already for SpaceX. It will come just two days after the company launched a robotic cargo mission toward the International Space Station for NASA.

Seventeen of the 27 Falcon 9 missions already in the books this year have been dedicated to building out Starlink, SpaceX’s huge and ever-growing broadband constellation in LEO. Starlink currently consists of more than 5,550 operational spacecraft, according to astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:45 p.m. ET on March 22 with the new target launch date of March 23. SpaceX had been targeting the evening of March 22 but delayed it a day because of weather.





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