SpaceX launches Starlink mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base

File: A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready to launch a Starlink mission. Image: SpaceX

Update 8:00 p.m. EST: SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket and recovered the first stage booster on a droneship.

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket from the West Coast following multiple weather-related scrubs earlier in the week. The rocket supporting the Starlink 7-13 mission lifted off at 4:34 p.m. PST (7:34 p.m. EST, 0034 UTC) on Friday, February 9.

During the first launch attempt on Tuesday evening, launch teams for the Starlink 7-13 mission got down to the final minute of the countdown before calling a scrub. Following a brief stint where they were targeting launch on Wednesday, SpaceX updated the planned launch of the mission  Thursday, Feb. 8. But excessive cloud cover forced them to stand down on Thursday as well.

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The Falcon 9 first stage booster for this launch, tail number B1071, will be making its 14th flight. It most recently supported the Starlink 7-8 launch on Dec. 8, 2023.

About 8.5 minutes after liftoff, B1071 will land on the SpaceX droneship, “Of Course I Still Love You,’ which is staged out in the Pacific Ocean. If successful, this will be the 82nd landing on OCISLY and the 211th droneship landing.

The mission was announced hours after strong ground winds forced SpaceX and NASA to stand down from attempting to launch NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. That launch is now pushed back to 1:33 a.m. EST (0633 UTC) on Thursday, Feb. 8.

If the Starlink 7-13 launch is successful Thursday night, these will be the most current stats:

  • 14th launch & landing of B1071
  • 65th SpaceX launch from SLC-4E
  • 133rd orbital launch from SLC-4E
  • 297th Falcon 9 launch
  • 82nd landing on OCISLY
  • 271st Falcon 9 booster landing
  • 5th orbital launch from California in 2024
  • 12th SpaceX launch in 2024
  • 27th orbital launch in 2024

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