After a stellar start to 2019, SpaceX’s string of good fortune came to a halt when its Crew Dragon capsule exploded during a recent static fire test. The investigation into what caused the “anomaly” is still ongoing, but the show must go on, and the company is set to launch its Falcon Heavy tonight for only the third time ever.
The launch is a late one, with the launch window opening at 11:30 p.m. EDT, but since this is SpaceX’s biggest, most powerful rocket — and since it’s only been launched two times before tonight — it’ll obviously be worth staying up for.
Tonight’s launch of Heavy will see it deploy a whopping 24 individual satellites into Earth orbit, fulfilling contracts for a number of different clients. One of the SpaceX’s biggest partners, NASA, has four of its own satellites headed to space tonight. He’s a rundown, via NASA:
- Deep Space Atomic Clock – a navigation payload hosted on General Atomics Orbital Test Bed satellite
- Green Propellant Infusion Mission – a small satellite that will demonstrate a non-toxic fuel and propulsion system
- Space Environment Testbeds – instruments hosted on the Air Force Research Lab’s Demonstration and Science Experiments spacecraft to study how to protect satellites in space
- Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment – twin CubeSats to study disruptions of signals that pass-through Earth’s upper atmosphere
As is the norm for SpaceX launches, the whole event is going to be streamed live online for all to see. Coverage will begin shortly before the launch window opens and will wrap up after the rocket has done its job. Both side boosters will land at SpaceX’s designated landing sites, while the center booster will attempt a landing on SpaceX’s drone ship positioned in the ocean.
The stream will be available to watch right here on this page via the embedded YouTube window above.