Update at 5:12 PM ET: SpaceX is now targeting a launch time of 6:12 PM EST (2212 GMT) for its Falcon 9 rocket carrying two SES satellites for ViaSat. The mission’s 88-minute launch window opened at 5:12 p.m. ET.
SpaceX will launch two satellites for carrier SES today (April 28) and land a rocket at sea, weather permitting, and you can watch the event live.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying SES O3b mPower 3 and 4 satellites is scheduled to lift off from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral in Florida on Friday during an 88-minute window that opens at 5:12 p.m. EDT (2112 GMT).
Watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company (Opens in a new tab). The webcast is expected to begin approximately 15 minutes prior to launch.
But this schedule assumes good weather, and Mother Nature may not cooperate. In fact, forecasts predict only a 20% chance of good conditions at launch time on Friday, SpaceX said via Twitter yesterday (Opens in a new tab) (27 April). If a bid on Friday is cancelled, a backup opportunity opens on Saturday (29 April) in the same 88-minute window.
Related: 8 ways SpaceX has changed spaceflight
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth less than nine minutes after liftoff today. You’ll come for the vertical landing on SpaceX’s Just Read the Instructions drone, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
This will be the second takeoff and landing for this particular booster, according to SpaceX mission description (Opens in a new tab). It previously launched Crew-6, SpaceX’s latest astronaut mission to NASA’s International Space Station.
In the meantime, the Falcon 9 upper stage will continue to pull O3b mPower 3 and 4 into MEO. The two satellites are scheduled to be deployed seven minutes apart, about two hours after launch.
As their name suggests, the two satellites launched today will become the third and fourth members of SES’s O3b mPower constellation, which will provide low-latency communications services to customers around the world, according to SES of Luxembourg and France.
The network of 11 satellites is being assembled at an altitude of 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers). There are already two satellites out there – O3b mPower 1 and 2, which launched on Falcon 9 last December. That was a historic mission for SpaceX, the company’s 200th orbital flight since its founding in 2002.
Launch Day 29 of 2023 will indeed be for SpaceX, with more to come soon. In fact, the company plans to launch its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket for the sixth time ever this evening, weather permitting. (It’s also set to fly from Florida’s Space Coast.)
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