Are Orlando Airport Flight Delays Caused by Rocket Launches? We’ve Got New Details

Published: February 21, 2024

Flying can be stressful.


Not only can it be a pain just to find a flight that leaves at a good time at the right price (the struggle with budgeting for that Disney World trip IS real, folks), but you also have to learn to expect flight delays and even cancellations. However, one thing that has occasionally delayed flights of Orlando has become less common, and we’re going to tell you why.

Cape Canaveral is only about 55 miles from Disney World. Now, a LOT of rocket launches take place at Cape Canaveral, which is why you can often see rocket launches while visiting Disney World if you  just look up at the right time. However, in the past, those rocket launches would also delay flights, because, well, it’s probably important to keep planes out of the area when a rocket is hurtling from Earth into space.

©Disney | Shared by Fox 35 Orlando

Until last year, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) required the entire cone of airspace around the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to be closed to other air traffic for every launch. That means flights would have to be rerouted around that area. According to, this could reroute over 30 flights, which could cause delays for thousands of travelers of up to five hours. Yikes!

Frontier Plane at the Orlando Airport

Now, though, the FAA only closes airspace to the East and South of the launchpads, which follows the usual flight path of rockets. This means that flights from the northeast U.S. don’t get rerouted, which means you don’t have delays due to rocket launches. The FAA said, “These flights can now remain on their most optimal and efficient routes more frequently.”

However, the FAA also uses something called the Space Data Integrator, which is a tool that tracks the rocket in near real-time and offers data on everything from its position, speed, altitude, etc. That means the FAA can reopen airspace faster after a launch, as quickly as three minutes after a launch.

Orlando International Airport

The FAA has also encouraged rocket companies to launch their rockets at night when fewer flights have a chance to be affected. That’s why you’ll see many rocket launches scheduled during the overnight hours.

So if your flight gets delayed at Orlando International Airport, you now know of one thing that probably DID NOT cause that delay. Weather, though…well, that’s a whole different animal, especially when things get stormy or a hurricane rolls in.

Stay tuned to DFB for more!

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Have you ever had a flight delay in the past due to a rocket launch? Let us know in the comments!

The post Are Orlando Airport Flight Delays Caused by Rocket Launches? We’ve Got New Details first appeared on the disney food blog.