JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thanks to SpaceX and the Starlink constellation of satellites, we are seeing rocket launches from the Cape almost weekly.
This is a staggering thought as often times we went more than a year between shuttle launches of the magnitude we are seeing these days. At 12:34 p.m. Wednesday, SpaceX will be back at it again, with the Starlink 23 rocket launch.
Of course, daylight launches are not as spectacular as dusk and dawn launches, but this should be easily seen due to great sky conditions between Jacksonville and Cape Canaveral.
Don’t forget to look straight east to see the return-side rockets that will (hopefully) successfully land on barges just off the east coast of Florida. These return about four minutes after launch and can be quite spectacular to watch.
They’re best seen from area beaches as you tend not see the retro rocket fire until very low on the horizon.
But wait, there’s more!
The International Space Station will be passing very close to the red planet Mars on Thursday evening. Now, there will be a threat of clouds, but conditions for seeing the ISS flyby should be very good. Start looking to the northwestern skies for a single white light moving constantly towards the Southeast, passing near Mars about 8:18 p.m. Thursday.
The ISS should be very bright and easily seen, looking like an aircraft flying through the sky. The difference? The light you see is sunlight reflecting off the ISS. There are no lights emanating from the ISS.