Watch the launch of SpaceX and land its Falcon 9 rocket off the coast of California

June 12, 2019
Watch the launch of SpaceX and land its Falcon 9 rocket off the coast of California
This morning, SpaceX is ready to launch its sixth Falcon 9 mission in 2019 from southern California, sending three identical Canadian satellites into orbit. After takeoff, SpaceX will attempt to land its rocket on an airstrip next to the launch site of the vehicle. If successful, it will be the second time that SpaceX lands its vehicle on the California coast.

The trio of satellites found on today's flight is part of the RADARSAT constellation developed by the Canadian Space Agency. The spacecraft is destined to operate about 400 miles up, where they will observe the land and waters of Canada, as well as the Arctic. The objective is to collect data on sea ice in nearby oceans and the Great Lakes, as well as on changing ecosystems within Canada. This information will be useful for many groups, including sailors navigating in Arctic waters and scientists who want to understand the impact of climate change in the region. Satellite images of RADARSAT could also help with disaster relief.

SpaceX is using one of its Falcon 9 rockets used for the mission, a vehicle that previously flew the company's Crew Dragon capsule on its first flight to the International Space Station in March. After that launch, the Falcon 9 landed on one of SpaceX's drones off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic but is now ready to land on the opposite shore. The first and only time that SpaceX has landed a Falcon 9 rocket in California land was in October 2018. Almost all of the company's attempts to land on the mainland were successful, except for one that did not reach its platform in Florida and landed the ocean instead.

Today's flight is scheduled for takeoff at 10:17 AM ET / 7:17 AM PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SpaceX has a short launch window of 13 minutes, so possibly the Falcon 9 rocket can be started until 10:30 AM ET. SpaceX launch coverage will begin approximately 15 minutes before takeoff, so come back to see if SpaceX can block another landing.