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Aerospace fans couldn’t ask for more than what’s coming to the Space Coast this weekend: dozens of aircraft, smoke and fire from Falcon 9’s main engines, and the low roar of two solid rocket boosters helping propel an Atlas V rocket to orbit.
Eyes will be fixated on the sky more than usual starting early Saturday as the Great Florida Air Show kicks off at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. Displays from the Navy Blue Angels, Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Team, and dozens more – including static displays and exhibits – will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
More information and tickets are available at greatfloridaairshow.com.
Between the air show’s two days, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is slated to launch the company’s next batch of Starlink internet satellites from Kennedy Space Center. Nine Merlin main engines are expected to roar to life at 6:54 p.m. Saturday, boosting the 230-foot rocket from pad 39A. It will mark the 28th launch for the constellation.
After liftoff, Falcon 9’s 162-foot first stage will target an autonomous landing on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship. The descent hundreds of miles off the Florida coast, however, isn’t always visible to the naked eye.
Weather for Saturday’s launch stands at 70% “go,” according to the Space Force.
Aerospace fans willing to hold out just a little longer until Monday afternoon will get a chance to see yet another launch: a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with two strap-on solid rocket boosters will take flight at 1:35 p.m. Monday. The 194-foot rocket will take a military missile warning satellite to orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Launch Complex 41.
Weather for Monday’s attempt was calculated by Space Force forecasters at 90% “go.”
Spectators and photographers wanting to keep an eye on these liftoffs should note that Falcon 9 will fly toward the northeast, while Atlas V will fly almost straight out east over the Atlantic.
For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Launch Saturday, May 15
- Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
- Mission: 60 Starlink internet satellites
- Launch Time: 6:54 p.m. ET
- Launch Window: Instantaneous; must launch on time
- Launch Pad: 39A at Kennedy Space Center
- Landing: Of Course I Still Love You drone ship
- Weather: 70% “go”
Visit floridatoday.com/space at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, for live coverage.
Launch Monday, May 17
- Rocket: United Launch Alliance Atlas V
- Configuration: 421 (4-meter fairing, two solid rocket boosters, one upper stage engine)
- Mission: SBIRS GEO Flight 5 military communications satellite
- Launch Time: 1:35 p.m. ET
- Launch Complex: 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
- Weather: 90% “go”
Visit floridatoday.com/space at 12 p.m. Monday, May 17, for live coverage.
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