SpaceX is ready to launch a big communications satellite into orbit tonight (May 24) after a weather delay. The Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 11:59 p.m. EDT (0359 GMT on May 25), carrying the SiriusXM-8 satellite for Sirius XM Radio.
The launch was originally scheduled for Sunday (May 23), but it was scrubbed due to unfavorable weather conditions. SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean after liftoff.
You can watch the launch live on SpaceX’s website or on YouTube, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. You can also follow along with the updates on SpaceX’s Twitter account.
What is the SiriusXM-8 satellite?
The SiriusXM-8 satellite is a high-power digital audio radio service (DARS) satellite that will provide more than 8,000 watts of total power to over 34 million subscribers in North America. It will replace the aging XM-4 satellite, which has been in service since 2006.
The satellite was built by Maxar Technologies and weighs about 15,432 lbs. (7,000 kilograms). It has a lifespan of more than 15 years and will operate in the S-band frequency range.
The satellite is part of a $480 million contract that SpaceX signed with Sirius XM Radio in 2019 to launch two satellites, SiriusXM-7 and SiriusXM-8. The SiriusXM-7 satellite was successfully launched by SpaceX in December 2020.
Why is this launch important?
This launch is important for several reasons. First, it will ensure the continuity and reliability of Sirius XM Radio’s service, which offers more than 150 channels of music, sports, news, entertainment and more to its customers.
Second, it will demonstrate SpaceX’s reusable rocket technology, which aims to lower the cost and increase the frequency of space launches. This will be the ninth flight for this particular Falcon 9 booster, which has previously launched four Starlink missions, two commercial missions and two NASA missions.
Third, it will add another milestone to SpaceX’s impressive launch record this year. So far, SpaceX has launched 14 missions in 2021, including 10 Starlink missions, two NASA missions, one commercial mission and one national security mission.
How to watch the launch live?
If you want to watch the launch live, you have several options. You can tune in to SpaceX’s website or YouTube channel, where you can see live video and commentary from SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
You can also watch the launch on NASA TV or Space.com, which will provide additional coverage and analysis of the mission.
If you are near Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, you might be able to see the launch with your own eyes, depending on the weather and visibility conditions. You can check out this guide for some tips on where to watch rocket launches in Florida.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to watch SpaceX launch a big communications satellite into orbit tonight. You’ll be amazed by the power and beauty of the Falcon 9 rocket and the SiriusXM-8 satellite.
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