Science

How to watch SpaceX's last Falcon 9 Block 4 launch from Cape Canaveral to ISS

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Spectators up early to watch SpaceX’s Friday morning launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will likely be in for a visual treat as the rocket arcs over the horizon and intersects with daybreak.

SpaceX and NASA mission managers on Thursday confirmed teams are still targeting 5:42 a.m. to launch a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule packed with nearly 6,000 pounds of cargo, supplies and science experiments destined for the International Space Station. Sunrise won’t occur until 6:28 a.m., but the rocket and its exhaust should be illuminated by sunlight over the horizon just after liftoff.

Air Force weather forecasters, meanwhile, confirmed that conditions at Launch Complex 40 will likely be 90 percent “go” for liftoff leading up to the instantaneous launch window.

The Falcon 9 being flown for the mission, known as Commercial Resupply Services 15 or CRS-15, previously launched NASA’s TESS spacecraft in April. Friday’s launch will mark its final flight before it’s discarded into the Atlantic Ocean, so no landing will be attempted. Labeled B1045, the booster is the last Block 4 version of Falcon 9 that will ever fly – after CRS-15, all future SpaceX missions will fly upgraded Block 5 boosters, the first of which launched in May.

[SpaceX will launch pouches of strong Death Wish Coffee to ISS this week]

There are three parts to our coverage:

  • Live video of the rocket launch, available here or at our Facebook page;
  • A live chat with space reporters James Dean and Emre Kelly.
  • Real-time coverage of the launch in augmented reality available in our 321 LAUNCH app (download for iOS here and Android here).

Coverage kicks off at 4:30 a.m. Friday at FloridaToday.com/Space/ and will feature in-depth coverage, photos, charts and more. You can ask the team questions and strike up a conversation. We’ll host NASA’s and SpaceX’s live video.

In Central Florida?

If you’re under clear skies, you can look to the state’s east coast to spot Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral.

If you do step outside for the launch, bring your smartphone and stay tuned to live updates. The coverage is available at FloridaToday.com/Space/ in your mobile browser or in the 321 LAUNCH app.

Contact Emre Kelly at aekelly@floridatoday.com or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook at @EmreKelly.

Have you tried 321 LAUNCH?

Thanks to cutting-edge augmented reality technology, or the overlaying of digital objects onto the real world made possible by mobile cameras, spaceflight now fits in your pocket. Explore launch pads, rockets and live launches in detail right on your smartphone.

Find the free 321 LAUNCH app in Apple’s App Store or in Google Play for Android devices.

  • Download for Apple devices here.
  • Download for Android devices here.

Version 1.1 of the app now supports United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket in all of its configurations. If you already have the app, be sure to update it to the latest version.

System requirements list:

Apple: iPhone 6S or newer; fifth-generation iPad (2017) or newer. All require iOS 11 and later.

Android’s AR capabilities are limited to specific models running 7.0 Nougat and later. See the full list at developers.google.com/ar/discover/

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