Rocket Lab and SpaceX both plan to launch missions on Friday (April 1), and you can watch the space doubleheader live.
A rocket lab Electron Vehicle is scheduled to lift off two Earth observation satellites for American company BlackSky at 8:35 a.m. EDT (1235 GMT) on Friday from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand site.
Almost four hours later, at 12:24 p.m. EDT (1624 GMT), a SpaceX The Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and launch 40 satellites into orbit for a variety of customers, weather permitting. Forecasts currently only predict a 30% chance that the weather will be good enough for launch. SpaceX tweeted Thursday (March 31).
The Falcon 9 first stage will come back Earth shortly after takeoff and landing on an autonomous drone ship based in the Atlantic, if all goes according to plan.
You can check out both missions here on Space.com when the time comes, courtesy of the two launch providers. You can also follow the action directly from rocket lab and SpaceX.
Related: The development of SpaceX rockets in pictures
The Rocket Lab launch, titled Without Mission a Beat, will be Electron’s 25th launch overall. If all goes according to plan, the number of satellites to be delivered into orbit by California’s Rocket Lab will increase to 112. based on a job description.
Rocket Lab has been working to make the first stage of the two-stage Electron reusable, bringing down boosters for soft splashes and ocean salvage on several previous missions. However, there will be no such activity on Without Mission a Beat.
SpaceX is already routinely reusing rockets, and its Friday mission called Transporter 4 will continue that trend. The Falcon 9 first stage flying on Friday has already completed six takeoffs and landings, according to a mission statement from SpaceX.
Friday’s two launches are part of a very busy and exciting day for space fans. The three-day “wet dress rehearsal” for NASA also begins on Friday Artemis 1 Mission that will use a giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to send an unmanned Orion capsule around the moon.
During the wet dress rehearsalArtemis 1 team members will go through many of their prelaunch procedures, including refueling the SLS. If the test goes well, Artemis 1 could take off as early as May or June.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaelwall. Follow us on Twitter @spacedotcom or on Facebook.