SpaceX Falcon 9 launches today from the Kennedy Space Center, with a launch window that spans three hours and opens at 9 a.m. EST (6 a.m. PDT). The mission will carry a spy satellite for the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and will include an attempt to recover the first-stage booster used in Falcon 9 vehicles.
Falcon 9’s first stage has previously flown four times before, including during two of the SpaceX Commercial resupply missions to NASA’s International Space Station, and during the launch of Starlink, as well as for SAOCOM 1B, the Argentine Space Agency satellite launch in August.
SpaceX It will attempt to land again at its landing pad at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is rare compared to using the two unmanned landing ships stationed in the ocean. SpaceX launches at sea have been introduced to allow rocket boosters that did not have enough fuel remaining on board to bring them back to Earth – meaning these NRO mission parameters allow for a “ return to dispatcher ” flight back home.
Usually, when there is a longer launch window, SpaceX aims to launch at first, depending on weather conditions. If that is the case today, the above broadcast should start around 8:45 AM EST (15 minutes before the window opens).