SpaceX will launch a batch of small satellites to orbit and land the returning rocket today (May 25), and you can watch the action live.
A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida today at 2:27 p.m. EDT (1827 GMT) on a mission called Transporter 5. If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth for a vertical touchdown at Cape Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1 about nine minutes after launch.
You can watch all of this action live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company (opens in new tab). The webcast is expected to begin about 15 minutes before liftoff.
Related: 8 ways that SpaceX has transformed spaceflight
Transporter 5 is a “rideshare” mission that will loft a variety of small satellites for a number of different customers. SpaceX hasn’t revealed much about these payloads yet, but we should learn more about them soon.
As its name suggests, Transporter 5 will be SpaceX’s fifth dedicated small-satellite rideshare mission. The first, Transporter 1, launched 143 satellites to orbit in January 2021 — a record for the most payloads lofted on a single mission.
Transporter 5 will be the 22nd Falcon 9 launch in 2022 and the 155th for the rocket overall. The mission will also mark the eighth flight of this particular Falcon 9 first stage, according to EverydayAstronaut.com (opens in new tab).
Such extensive reuse is a key priority for SpaceX, which views it as the key breakthrough that humanity will need to colonize Mars and perform other ambitious exploration feats. And the reuse is indeed extensive; several different Falcon 9 first stages have launched on 12 different missions.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).