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Late night sonic booms expected after SpaceX Falcon 9 launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 40 internet satellites for OneWeb on December 9, 2022.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 40 internet satellites for OneWeb on December 9, 2022.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set to take flight Monday night on a unique launch trajectory visible to many along Florida’s east coast. The mission will also bring some late night sonic booms.

The launch window opens at 11:50 p.m. ET. Weather remains favorable.

After launching from Cape Canaveral, the Falcon 9 rocket will turn and head south, fly along Florida’s east coast on a southern trajectory. This flight path could give more people along the Atlantic coast a chance to see the rocket take flight.

About eight minutes after launch, the first stage of the booster will land back at Cape Canaveral, which will bring loud sonic booms to the Space Coast. The booster previously launched a NASA mission carrying supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station. SpaceX lands and reuses the first stages of its Falcon 9 rockets to lower the cost of access to space.

The mission is carrying 40 satellites for OneWeb’s space-based internet constellation, which were manufactured at a Merritt Island facility. The southern launch trajectory will put the satellites into a polar orbit, traveling north-south and passing the Earth's poles during their orbits.

OneWeb planned to launch on Russian rockets, but the war in Ukraine prompted the company to find another provider. SpaceX is also developing its own internet constellation, Starlink, and has deployed thousands of satellites into orbit.

Brendan Byrne is WMFE's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the WMFE newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing WMFE's internship program.

Byrne also hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.
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