Crazy day for Space Coast: 3 different rockets successfully launch

United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin, SpaceX all launch rockets

United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin and SpaceX all planned on launching crewed and uncrewed missions throughout the day Thursday, from both rural West Texas and the Florida coast.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – When three different space companies launched three different rockets Thursday, the Space Coast was busier than ever.

United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin and SpaceX all launched crewed and uncrewed missions throughout the day Thursday, from both rural West Texas and the Florida coast.

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The first launch window of the day for ULA ran from 6:29-7:09 a.m. EST. The company sent its Atlas V rocket to space from Cape Canaveral.

The rocket carried the final Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit spacecraft for the U.S. Space Force. SBIRS GEO 6 is a missile detection and early warning satellite that was built to detect ballistic missile threats around the world.

Forecasters with Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron said the weather was 79% favorable for the launch, the primary concern being cumulus clouds. But the weather turned out to be perfect for the launch. Check out our gallery to see the amazing sunrise launch photos taken by News 6 photographer James Gosselin.

Then, while Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket-capsule NS-22 launched from Van Horn, Texas, it still carried ties to the Space CoastMelbourne restaurant owner Steve Young was part of the crew.

“I’m like the blue-collar boy from Melbourne that’s not as interesting as the rest. But I’m going to be happy to represent (the Space Coast),” Young said in an interview with News 6 partner Florida Today.

The Pineapples restaurateur joined five other companions, including the first people from Egypt and Portugal to fly to space, in the nearly 11-minute journey, even bringing a Surfing Santas of Cocoa Beach plush toy in tow to represent his Florida roots.

They successfully launched from Texas at 9:58 a.m. EST.

Blue Origin launched six people, including a Brevard County restaurant owner, to suborbital space Thursday morning from Launch Site One, the company’s launch facility close to Van Horn, Texas.

“Glad he’s down safe and I really can’t wait to talk to him and have a drink about it with him,” said Sean Gray, a Pineapples employee.

Another Pineapples employee, Jacob Gralton, imagined his boss “weightless and just having a good time.”

“I’m sure he enjoyed every second,” Gralton said.

To wrap up the stacked day of space exploration, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a South Korean lunar orbiter from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Korean satellite Thursday evening.

The rocket was sent to space at 7:08 p.m. EST.

You can view all three launches in the media players above.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.