- Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, aims to launch a Falcon 9 rocket at 12:33 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
- The launch will be the company’s 50th of Falcon 9 since the rocket first flew in June 2010.
- The mission will fly a bus-sized satellite to an orbit 22,300 miles above Earth.
- You can watch SpaceX’s live broadcast of the launch on YouTube (below) starting around 12:15 a.m. ET.
While most of America is asleep, Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, may achieve a major company milestone on Tuesday.
In 2008, SpaceX was flirting with bankruptcy after three successive rocket failures. Now it’s poised to launch its workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9, for the 50th time as it moves to dominate the launch industry.
“Falcon 9 flight 50 launches tonight, carrying Hispasat for Spain. At 6 metric tons and almost the size of a city bus, it will be the largest geostationary satellite we’ve ever flown,” Musk tweeted on Monday.
SpaceX hopes to fire off the rocket at 12:33 a.m. ET early Tuesday morning from a launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
About 33 minutes after launch, the rocket’s upper stage should deploy the satellite, officially called Hispasat 30W-6, into an orbit some 22,300 miles above Earth. Once there, it will hover above the planet’s surface and provide “television, broadband, corporate networks and other telecommunications solutions,” SpaceX said in a press kit for the mission.
Watch the launch live
If all goes well, the launch will join a string of major recent successes for SpaceX.
Those highlights include the first-ever launch of the company’s behemoth Falcon Heavy, which is the most powerful operational rocket in the world, and the deployment of two experimental satellites — a pioneering test for Musk’s plan to bathe Earth in high-speed, low-cost internet access.
SpaceX is hosting a webcast of the launch from its YouTube channel. The live video feed typically begins about 15 minutes before launch, which in this case means shortly after 12:15 a.m. ET. Should weather not cooperate, however, the company has until 2:33 a.m. ET to launch the rocket.
The company may scrub the launch if there’s a problem. If that’s the case, it may try again 24 hours later.