After more than a month away from spaceflight, SpaceX is back to launching rockets again with a new mission set for this evening from Florida. Late Sunday night, SpaceX plans to launch a communications satellite into orbit from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, within a four-hour launch window that begins at 11:28 PM ET. The company will also attempt to land the rocket’s first stage on one of its drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean.
Tonight’s cargo is a Telstar 18 VANTAGE satellite jointly operated by Canadian telecommunications company Telesat and Hong Kong’s APT Satellite Co., which will provide communications coverage over Asia. The satellite will be deployed around 32 minutes after the launch. Around 10 minutes after take off, SpaceX will attempt to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on its drone ship, “Of Course I Still Love You.”
This launch also marks the fifth flight of the full Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket. The company re-flew one of its Block 5s last month — the first time this variant was reused. All of the company’s future launches will use the system, which is designed to fully realize the company’s vision of reusability by decreasing the need for extensive refurbishment and lowering the amount of turnaround time needed between flights.
Those staying up late to watch the flight can tune into the webcast 15 minutes prior to launch. In the event that the launch can’t happen tonight, SpaceX says that it has a backup window tomorrow, Monday September 10th at 11:28PM ET.