A SpaceX post-sunset launch on Thursday could produce a sight known as a 'space jellyfish'

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Update, Saturday, Oct. 8: SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 and two communications satellites at 7:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 8, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Read our full post-launch story here.

Update: SpaceX called an abort of its Falcon 9 launch attempt on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7:20 p.m. EDT just 30 seconds before the scheduled liftoff. Another attempt is set for 7:06 p.m. EDT on Friday, Oct.7.

One of the Space Coast's busiest launch weeks continues as SpaceX targets the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket at 7:07 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Oct. 6 — the third and final liftoff in as many days.

Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station will host the Space Coast's 44th launch of this year. The mission will send two communications satellites, called Galaxy 33 and 34, to orbit for Luxembourg-based operator, Intelsat.

The weather forecast for Thursday's post-sunset launch attempt looks promising.

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Space Force forecasters with Space Launch Delta 45 said Wednesday there's a 90% chance of "go" conditions, "while passing low topped cumulus (clouds) or brief Atlantic sprinkle cannot completely be ruled out, the threat will be very low for any weather concerns."

Sunset will occur at 7:02 p.m. and just five minutes later, if the sky is clear of clouds, the launch could produce a spectacular sight over central Florida that some refer to as a 'space jellyfish.'

The atmospheric effect created by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket just after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in June in 2018.
The atmospheric effect created by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket just after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in June in 2018.

The phenomenon occurs during the few minutes just before sunrise or just after sunset when the ground is dark but sunlight is present in the furthest reaches of the atmosphere.

The Falcon 9's crystalized exhaust plume generated by the engines is illuminated by the sunlight and can produce a colorful effect that can last several minutes after liftoff.

Should SpaceX need it, a backup launch opportunity around the same time is available on Friday, Oct. 7, but Space Force forecasters call for "a few more cirrus clouds overhead."

Visit floridatoday.com/space 60 minutes before liftoff for real-time updates and video.

For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.

Jamie Groh is a space reporter for Florida Today. You can contact her at JGroh@floridatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AlteredJamie.

Launch Thursday, October 6: SpaceX Galaxy 33 and 34

  • Company / Agency: SpaceX for Intelsat

  • Rocket: Falcon 9

  • Location: Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

  • Launch Time: 7:07 p.m. EDT

  • Trajectory: Northeast

  • Landing: Drone ship

  • Weather: 90% "go"

  • Live coverage: Available at floridatoday.com/space 60 minutes before liftoff.

About: SpaceX will launch two commercial communications satellites for Luxembourg-based Intelsat known as Galaxy 33 and 34.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX Falcon 9 set for post-sunset launch from Space Force Station