SpaceX is gearing up for another Falcon 9 rocket launch later today, and, like launches before it, the world will be watching from start to finish. Especially the finish.
While SpaceX launches have thus far gone without a hitch, the most important moment is the landing, when rockets have met more mixed fates. Today, the company will again try to land its rocket on a drone ship at sea – something it’s not yet succeeded in doing.
But, even SpaceX isn’t hopeful it can pull it off, saying, “a successful landing is not expected.”
SpaceX is attempting sea landings in hopes of creating a fuel-efficient, reusable rocket that could ferry people and cargo up into orbit more cheaply in the future. However, so far, it has only managed a successful vertical landing rocket on solid ground, with sea landings proving to be much more difficult.
The Falcon 9 rocket is taking off from Cape Canaveral at 6:46pm ET, with a 90-minute launch window, though coverage will begin 20 minutes before that scheduled time.
The rocket will carry the SES-9 commercial communications satellite, which will provide broadcasting and communications services to parts of Asia, as well as maritime communications in the Indian Ocean, to a unique Geostationary Transfer Orbit, where it will be deployed.
Due to this different orbital plan, SpaceX will attempt what it calls an “experimental landing” on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship. It’s also likely why SpaceX is expecting the landing to fail.
Still, even if the landing ends in an explosion, the launch itself will be worth the watch. You can see the live coverage once it begins below.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml1RO4IcOG0