After some setbacks—including, but not limited to, an explosion in September—SpaceX will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54:34am PT (12:54:34pm ET). We’ll all be watching and sweating profusely—including Elon Musk, presumably.
Today’s launch, which is a reschedule from SpaceX’s January 9th attempt, will be carrying 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites, with the hope of creating a new data network. But there’s a lot more than the payload riding on this mission—it’s a critical opportunity for SpaceX to win back public trust and move forward with a loaded roster of launches. If successful, this will be SpaceX’s first launch since an issue with a rocket’s helium tank caused a Falcon 9 to explode on site at Cape Canaveral. As has become tradition, the rocket’s first stage will attempt to land upright on a drone ship.
Another delay (or mishap) won’t be a good look for Elon Musk, who hopes to start a human colony on Mars someday but first needs to remind the world his company can reliably send payloads into orbit. That said, SpaceX has stated that after conducting a thorough investigation, it is taking corrective actions to solved any and all hardware problems that led to the September mishap. At least the weather’s looking good, so, fingers crossed?
We’ll be paying close attention to the launch, and you can follow along with us right here:
Update: The launch was a success!