First SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of 2021 set for Thursday night
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s, starts the New Year off by sending a new communications satellite to space for the nation of Turkey.
Turksat 5A is the first of a pair of next-generation broadcasting birds that SpaceX will boost to orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida as soon as Thursday night.
SpaceX hasn’t officially confirmed the mission, but airspace closures and weather bulletins indicate that it’s on the schedule with a back-up launch window about 24 hours later.
The satellite is expected to catch a ride on a first stage Falcon 9 booster that will be making its fourth flight followed shortly thereafter by its fourth landing, this time on the droneship Just Read The Instructions parked in the Atlantic Ocean.
This will be a relatively routine mission for SpaceX, but a night launch from the space coast is always a spectacular sight.
The Falcon 9 is currently set to blast-off sometime during a four-hour window that begins at 5:28 p.m. PT (8:28 p.m. local ET). The weather forecast is 60% favorable Thursday night and 80% favorable on the following evening.
SpaceX will livestream the mission, which we’ll embed here as soon as it becomes available.
Follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar!