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Two launch attempts Thursday from Florida's Space Coast planned for rare back-to-back launch day

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket sits on Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral at sunset for the United States Space Force's Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO 6) mission. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket sits on Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral at sunset for the United States Space Force's Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO 6) mission. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

A duo of rocket missions could could blast off into space Thursday in back-to-back launches from Cape Canaveral.

First up, United Launch Alliance is sending a Space Force satellite into orbit. The company's Atlas V rocket will launch the missile defense satellite SBIRS GEO 6.

The satellite uses infrared sensors to detect missile launches from space.. and provides support for ballistic missile defense here on Earth. Built by Lockheed Martin, this is the sixth missile defense satellite in a constellation that blankets the globe, keeping an early eye out for missile launches for the U.S. Space Force.

ULA's 40-minute launch window opens at 6:29 a.m. EDT and weather remains favorable.

Some 13 hours later, SpaceX is targeting a launch of its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, carrying a satellite for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute on a mission to study the moon. The launch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. EDT and weather is 80 percent favorable.

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to attend the University of Central Florida. He began working at WMFE as a college intern where he discovered his love for public radio.