Update for 6:31 pm ET: SpaceX successfully launched two SES Satellites into orbit at 5:48 pm EST (2221 GMT) for the company’s O3b mPower network, marking the 200th mission of a SpaceX booster and the eighth flight for this Falcon 9 rocket. See launch video and read our wrap story.
SpaceX will launch two satellites for the telecom company SES on Friday (Dec. 16), and you can watch the action live.
A Falcon 9 rocket topped with SES’ O3b mPower 1 and 2 satellites is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Friday during an 87-minute window that opens at 4:21 pm EST (2121 GMT).
Watch it live here at Space.com courtesy of SpaceX or directly via the company (opens in new tab). Coverage is expected to begin about 15 minutes before launch.
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If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth for a soft landing on one of SpaceX’s robotic droneships in the Atlantic Ocean just under nine minutes after launch.
It will be the eighth liftoff and touchdown for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab). Four of its previous flights were missions to the International Space Station for NASA — two crewed and two uncrewed.
The Falcon 9’s upper stage will continue hauling the two satellites to orbit. The first is scheduled to be deployed into medium Earth orbit (MEO) one hour and 53 minutes after liftoff, and the second will follow suit seven minutes later.
O3b mPower 1 and 2 are the first two satellites of an 11-spacecraft constellation that SES plans to assemble in MEO. The satellites will provide high-throughput and low-latency communications for customers around the world, according to SES, which is headquartered in Luxembourg and France.
This mission is part of a busy stretch for SpaceX. The company launched the private Japanese Hakuto-R moon lander on Sunday (Dec. 11) and was scheduled to lift the SWOT water-monitoring satellite for NASA early Friday morning.
SpaceX also plans to launch another big batch of its Starlink internet satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which is next door to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, on Saturday (Dec. 17).
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).