Update: The launch has been delayed due to bad weather. SpaceX says it will try launching again tomorrow, January 24, with a launch window opening at 10:00 a.m. ET.
SpaceX is gearing up for a launch for its SmallSat Rideshare Program today. The Transporter-1 mission will carry a number of satellites from both private companies and government agencies to be deployed from one Falcon 9 rocket. In fact, the company says the total of 133 spacecraft being sent into orbit will be the most ever deployed on a single mission.
SpaceX will be livestreaming the launch including the exciting catching of the first stage, and we have all the details on how you can watch it live.
What to expect from the launch
The launch is taking place at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, where it looks hopeful that good weather will prevail. According to a tweet that SpaceX posted yesterday, weather conditions are 60% favorable for the launch to go ahead today.
Falcon 9 and 143 spacecraft are vertical on pad 40 ahead of tomorrow’s launch of the Transporter-1 mission, the first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission; SpaceX's 42-minute launch window opens at 9:40 a.m. and weather is 60% favorable → https://t.co/bJFjLCzWdK pic.twitter.com/BFEnf8uru9
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 22, 2021
The particular Falcon 9 first stage booster that will be used in this launch has previously been used in several other missions, including the historic first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon capsule, the ANASIS-II mission, a Starlink mission, and a resupply mission to the International Space Station.
SpaceX will attempt to catch the first stage so that it can be reused once again, and the droneship Of Course I Still Love You is standing by to make the catch in the Atlantic Ocean.
As well as the sheer number of spacecraft being deployed, this mission is noteworthy as it is the first Starlink mission that will deploy satellites to a polar orbit.
SpaceX has had a busy week, as it already launched another batch of Starlink satellites on Wednesday.
How to watch the launch
The launch is scheduled to go ahead on Saturday, January 23, with the 42-minute launch window opening at 9:40 a.m. ES. SpaceX will provide a livestream of the event including final preparations before the launch, liftoff, first stage separation, fairing separation, the landing of the first stage on the droneship, and confirmation of the payload deployment.
You can watch the livestream either on SpaceX’s YouTube channel or by using the video embedded at the top of this page. Coverage begins 15 minutes before liftoff, so around 9:25 a.m. ET.
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