With a little bit of luck, SpaceX just might make history today. After trying—and failing—twice.
Update: Delayed agaaaaain. The launch has been rescheduled for tomorrow at 6:03 EST.
After the spectacular failure of SpaceX's first first drone-barge landing, the company tried again on Sunday, only to have the launch scrubbed for the day because of a radar issue.
But now it's take two! This time with feeling. NASA/NOAA are going to try to shoot DSCOVR into space at 6:05pm ET. (Streams below) So far, everyone is saying that things are good to go on NASA and SpaceX's side of things, but upper level winds may botch the whole thing. We'll see what happens.
For the uninitiated, NOAA's DSCOVR is a delayed NASA/NOAA project that will observe both the Earth and the Sun at a million miles distance. After SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral and delivers its payload beyond Earth's atmosphere, the private space company will attempt (once again) to land the first stage of the rocket onto a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. If successful, it'll be the first time it has successfully done so during a mission. Basically, SpaceX wants to avoid this explosive nightmare:
Assuming his calculations haven't changed since last time, Elon Musk says there is a 50 percent chance that we're all in for a disastrous repeat. SpaceX equipped this rocket with more hydraulic fluid, which was the main problem the last time, but the first stage of the rocket has to go through carefully choreographed aerial maneuvers on a flight path that Musk says is even more tricky than the last one.
NASA and SpaceX are live streaming the launch and you can watch it right here, right now:
The actual satellite aboard the Falcon 9 rocket is the fabled "GoreSat," dreamed up by Al Gore in 1998 as an instrument to take photographs of Earth at extreme distances. Republicans dismissed the plan as a waste of money, and when President Bush took office in 2001, the project was completely shelved. According to The New York Times, NASA and NOAA were in need of a satellite to replace the Advanced Composition Explorer, which has recorded solar storm data since 1997. Instead of building a completely new satellite, NASA retrofitted the DSCOVR craft they had in storage with a new array of equipment while still maintaining the satellite's original photographic mission.
Hopefully Gore and Musk's dreams are both successful, but either way, it's still a lovely day for a rocket launch.