Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, is attempting a launch of its updated Falcon 9 at 8:29 p.m. Eastern, tonight. All the action is happening at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, but you can stream it right here:
SpaceX postponed Sunday’s launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, claiming that the maneuver would have a 10 percent better chance of success at the later date. The mission, rescheduled for tonight, is the first since SpaceX’s failed launch on June 28, when a previous Falcon 9 iteration failed in its attempt to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
Just reviewed mission params w SpaceX team. Monte Carlo runs show tmrw night has a 10% higher chance of a good landing. Punting 24 hrs.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2015
A successful launch and re-landing could give a much needed lift to SpaceX, which has been subjected to a rash of postponed and botched attempts. This particular success would be an early step toward the company’s larger ambition of slashing launch costs by using refurbished rockets. Here is the projected timeline:
— ORBCOMM (@ORBCOMM_Inc) December 21, 2015
SpaceX is hoping that the Falcon’s main rocket stage will make a successful touchdown in a designated landing zone a few miles from the Cape Canaveral launch site.
First look at our massive new Landing Zone 1 pic.twitter.com/cABp3IYmcl
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 21, 2015
This revamped Falcon 9 is carrying several communications satellites for ORBCOMM Inc., a company that provides tracking services for shipping containers, oil and gas products, government vehicles, and heavy equipment. Last time SpaceX attempted a Falcon 9 launch, it was carrying 2 Microsoft HoloLens sets among the 7,000 pounds of cargo.
SpaceX must be feeling the pressure tonight: Blue Origin, a rival startup founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, nailed their attempt last month.
Update 8:38 p.m. ET: It worked!
The Falcon 9 first stage landing is confirmed. Second stage continuing nominally. pic.twitter.com/RX2QKSl0z7
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 22, 2015
Approximately 10 minutes after liftoff, Falcon 9’s first stage successfully landed. SpaceX has successfully landed a rocket stage back on the ground.
Congratulations @SpaceX !!! That was a hard landing to stick. Opens a brand new door to space travel. I look forward to the details.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) December 22, 2015
Update 8:46 p.m. ET: 6 satellites have been successfully deployed
Update 8:48 p.m. ET: All six deployments have been successful.
Update 8:50 p.m. ET: After a successful deployment and a successful landing of the rocket stage, SpaceX concluded its livestream with a little Star Wars reference: “The goal is Mars, because nobody wants to go back to Jakku.”