SpaceX will launch a satellite and land a rocket on a ship at sea on Friday night (Oct. 14), and you can watch the action live.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Hotbird 13F communications satellite is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Friday during a 116-minute window that opens at 11:26 p.m. EDT (0326 GMT on Oct. 15).
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth just under nine minutes after launch. The booster will land on SpaceX’s Just Read the Instructions droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
It will be the third launch and landing for this particular first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab). The booster also helped launch SpaceX’s CRS-24 cargo mission to the International Space Station in December 2021 and one batch of the company’s Starlink internet satellites.
The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, will continue carrying Hotbird 13F to orbit. The satellite — which was built by Airbus Defense and Space and will be operated by French telecom company Eutelsat — is scheduled to be deployed about 36 minutes after liftoff.
Hotbird 13F is bound for geostationary orbit, about 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers) above Earth. The spacecraft and its twin, Hotbird G, are slated to replace three other Hotbird spacecraft, which currently provide 1,000 television channels to more than 160 million homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, according to Eutelsat (opens in new tab).
Hotbird G will also ride a Falcon 9 to orbit, perhaps as early as next month.
Friday night’s liftoff continues a very busy year for SpaceX. Elon Musk’s company has already launched 46 orbital missions in 2022, all of them successful.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).