Rocket Lab's 57-foot-tall (17 meters) Electron booster is scheduled to launch on its first commercial mission tonight (Nov. 10) from the company's New Zealand pad at 10:50 p.m. EST (0350 GMT and 4:50 p.m. local New Zealand time on Nov. 11). You can watch it here when the time comes, courtesy of Rocket Lab, or directly via the company's website.
If all goes according to plan, the mission, called "It's Business Time, "will deliver six small satellites and a technology-demonstrating "drag sail" to Earth orbit.
The Electron has two other launches under its belt, but both of those were test missions.
Launch of NASA's ICON on Pegasus Rocket Delayed
A Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL booster will launch NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) into orbit after being released from its Stargazer L-1011 carrier plane no earlier than Thursday (Nov. 8) at 3:05 a.m. EST (0805 GMT). after an aborted launch attempt early Wednesday, NASA officials said. Read our full story: Technical Glitch Delays Launch of NASA's ICON Satellite on Pegasus Rocket
The mission has been delayed for nearly a year due to issues with its Pegasus booster.
Editor's note: If you're looking for launch updates from Tuesday's Arianespace Soyuz launch of the MetOp-C weather satellite, the launch was a success. Read our full story here and check out these photos from the mission.
The ICON satellite is designed to study Earth's border with space, tracking the planet's uppermost atmospheric layers to study the ionosphere, a region at spans between 50 to 400 miles above Earth.
"ICON’s 90-minute launch window opens at 3:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 7, 2018. ICON launches on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, which is carried aloft by the Stargazer L-1011 aircraft that takes off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The L-1011 carries the rocket to approximately 40,000 feet over the open ocean, where it is released and free-falls five seconds before igniting its first-stage rocket motor. Release from the Stargazer is anticipated for 3:05 a.m. EST. The spacecraft deploys approximately 11 minutes after the Pegasus drop.
"ICON will join another ionospheric mission, GOLD, short for Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, which launched in January 2018. While ICON flies just 357 miles above Earth and will capture close-up images of the region, GOLD flies in geostationary orbit 22,000 miles above the Western Hemisphere, where it specializes in global-scale images of the ionosphere and upper atmosphere. Where ICON takes close-ups, GOLD captures landscapes."
"Together, these missions will provide the most comprehensive ionosphere observations we’ve ever had — data that’s hard to get from Earth, where we can only measure small fractions of the region at a time — enabling a deeper understanding of how our planet interacts with space."
Live HD Views of Earth from Space
You can watch live, high-definition views of Earth from the International Space Station thanks to NASA's High Definition Earth Viewing experiment (HDEV). This live video provides alternating views from four of the station's external cameras nearly 24/7, with the exception of regular and temporary dropouts that occur when the station switches its connection between different communications satellites. Watch it live in the window above, courtesy of NASA TV.
"Behold, the Earth! See live views of Earth from the International Space Station coming to you by NASA's High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment.
"While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence through the different cameras. If you are seeing a black image, the Space Station is on the night side of the Earth. If you are seeing an image with text displayed, the communications are switching between satellites and camera feeds are temporarily unavailable. Between camera switches, a black & gray slate will also briefly appear.
"The experiment was activated on April 30, 2014 and is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. This experiment includes several commercial HD video cameras aimed at the Earth which are enclosed in a pressurized and temperature controlled housing. To learn more about the HDEV experiment, visit: https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ESRS/HDEV/
"Please note: The HDEV cycling of the cameras will sometimes be halted, causing the video to only show select camera feeds. This is handled by the HDEV team, and is only scheduled on a temporary basis. Nominal video will resume once the team has finished their scheduled event."
'ISS Live!' Tune in to the International Space Station
Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the "ISS Live" broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.
"Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During 'loss of signal' periods, viewers will see a blue screen.
"Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below."