SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is launching the Hispasat 30W-6 satellite to a geostationary orbit late tonight. The launch is happening at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The two-hour launch window begins at 12:33 a.m. Eastern early this morning, Tuesday, March 6. (Other time zone launch times are: 9:33 p.m. Pacific on March 5, 11:33 p.m. Central on March 5, 10:33 p.m. Mountain time on March 5, 6:33 a.m. CET March 6, and 5:33 a.m. UTC March 6.) You can watch the launch via the live stream above. If for any reason the launch today is delayed, it will be rescheduled for the very next day, March 7 at 12:33 a.m. Eastern. There will be no first stage landing attempt today due to high seas and unfavorable weather in the recovery zone.
If you’re interested in watching a different type of live stream, Everyday Astronaut is providing a hosted live stream here, which you can also watch below. This will be the largest satellite (in size) that SpaceX has launched in geostationary orbit.
The timeline for tonight’s launch is will be quick, with the satellite being deployed about 33 minutes after the launch. The approximate timeline, per SpaceX’s press kit, is as follows:
COUNTDOWN: Hour/Min/Sec Events before launch
- 01:13:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
- 01:10:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway
- 00:35:00 LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway
- 00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
- 00:01:00 Flight computer commanded to begin final prelaunch checks
- 00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
- 00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
- 00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
- 00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff
SATELLITE DEPLOYMENT: Hour/Min/Sec Events after launch
- 00:01:18 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
- 00:02:35 1st stage engine shutdown/main engine cutoff (MECO)
- 00:02:37 1st and 2nd stages separate
- 00:02:39 2nd stage engine starts 00:03:39 Fairing deployment
- 00:08:39 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
- 00:26:38 2nd stage engine restarts
- 00:27:33 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-2)
- 00:32:51 Hispasat 30W-6 satellite deployment
Today’s satellite launch will replace the Hispasat 30W-4 satellite, which provides television, broadband, corporate networks, and other telecommunications solutions. HISPASAT distributes and broadcasts Spanish and Portuguese content, and its satellites are used by direct-to-home TVs and HDTV platforms. It’s expected to have a 15-year lifespan with 10.5 kW power. It will provide HISPASAT additional Ku and C band capacity in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Americas, along with reinforcing audiovisual content in Latin America. The satellite’s Ka band transponders will allow it to expand its broadband service in the European region and Northwest Africa.