SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon9 rocket to deliver a Jason-3 NOAA ocean monitoring satellite into earth orbit today at 10:42:18 a.m. The rocket will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base here in Southern California, and ascend to push the satellite into orbit. The first stage rocket will separate approximately two minutes and 45 seconds after take off and turn around to head back to the landing site. While the second stage rocket ignites and pushes the satellite to the proper level in orbit around Earth, the first stage rocket it’ll make its way down to the “Just Read The Instructions” autonomous spaceport drone ship which is floating off the coast. The first stage rocket will slow itself using reverse thrusters and aerodynamic guidance grid fins and steer towards the platform, touching down on the barge for a smooth landing. Or at least that’s the plan. If anything goes wrong and the launch does not take place by 10:42:18 a.m., there is a back up safety time to try again on Monday at 10:31:04 a.m.
You can watch SpaceX’s live webcast of the launch by clicking here. For more information on the whole launch and further coverage of the results, check this weeks issue of CVWeekly.