Space travel startup SpaceX has long held that the most promising, budget-saving aspect of its high-tech rockets is that parts of them can actually be reused multiple times. Today, the company will finally have to put its money where its mouth is and prove that a used booster — or, as SpaceX calls it, “flight proven” — can successfully perform the same task twice. It’s a huge milestone in the private spaceflight industry, and you can watch it unfold live right here.
The launch, which will send a communications satellite into orbit, is slated to take place sometime between 6:27 PM ET and 8:57 PM ET tonight, March 30th. Forecasts suggest that weather shouldn’t play much of a factor in the launch, but there’s also a secondary backup launch tentatively planned for Saturday in case things go a bit haywire. Assuming the launch is successful, the booster will once again be landed on a barge which will be positioned in the Atlantic Ocean, as SpaceX has successfully done before.
SpaceX’s used Falcon 9 booster underwent extensive refurbishing in between its successful landing and being declared ready for a second trip skyward. SpaceX hasn’t gone into great detail about exactly what maintenance needed to be done to make the booster space-worthy once more, but the launch was said to cost its client, SES, roughly 30% less than the price of a standard launch.
The live stream above will go live shortly before the launch is scheduled to commence, and should provide some pretty fantastic views of the liftoff.