Here’s how to watch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch tonight

SpaceX is launching its second-to-last rocket of 2019 on Monday, December 16, and you can watch it take off live in the webcast above. 

The two-stage Falcon 9 booster will carry the JCSAT-18/Kacific1 satellite into space from SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. If all goes as planned weather-wise, the launch will take place between 4:10 p.m. PT and 5:38 p.m. PT. In the case that the launch gets rescheduled, it will be on Tuesday during the same time frame. The livestream is scheduled to start about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will boost the Boeing-built JCSAT-18/Kacific1 satellite, which will provide coverage and improve mobile and broadband services for customers in the Southeast Asia-Pacific Islands region. According to a press release, the satellite will give under-served populations affordable and high-speed broadband access essential for healthcare, education, disaster relief, and more. 

Another goal of today’s launch is to recover the rockets’ pieces after its launch. SpaceX will be using modified drone ships and giant nets to catch the rockets’ nose in the Atlantic Ocean so they can be reused. 

This specific Falcon 9 rocket has previously supported Cargo Dragon missions CRS-17 in May and CRS-18 in July to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). Today would mark the third time this particular Falcon 9 has landed after being launched into space.

“Falcon 9’s simple two-stage configuration minimizes the number of separation events — and with nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown,” SpaceX explains on its website.

According to Teslarati, the last SpaceX launch of the year is scheduled for Monday, December 30, and will be the Starlink-2 rocket. 

As far as 2020 goes, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes that next year will finally be the year that the Crew Dragon capsule will carry a crew of NASA astronauts to the ISS. 

“During the first part of next year, we should be ready to launch American astronauts on an American rocket,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an October visit to SpaceX.

SpaceX is also aiming to get its Starship rocket to the moon by 2022 in preparation for NASA’s 2024 Artemis moon mission.

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