A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit on Friday, Jan. 11 at 10:31 a.m. EST (7:31 a.m. PST/1531 GMT), and you can watch it live here, courtesy of SpaceX. The Iridium-8 mission, as it's called, will launch the final set of Iridium Next satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for SpaceX customer Iridium Communications.
SpaceX is targeting Friday, January 11 for the launch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This is the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 7:31 a.m. PST, or 15:31 UTC, and the satellites will begin deployment approximately an hour after launch.
A backup instantaneous launch opportunity is available on Saturday, January 12 at 7:25 a.m. PST, or 15:25 UTC.
Falcon 9’s first stage for the Iridium-8 mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
For this eighth and final planned Iridium mission, 10 Iridium® NEXT satellites will be launched as part of the company’s campaign to replace the world's largest commercial communication satellite network. Including the seven previous launches, all with SpaceX, Iridium is deploying 75 new satellites to orbit. In total, 81 satellites are being built, with 66 in the operational constellation, nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares.
Iridium is the only satellite communications network that spans the entire globe, and Iridium NEXT is one of the largest "tech upgrades" in space history. The process of replacing the satellites one by one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before. The new constellation is enabling innovative new products and services including Iridium CertusSM, the company’s next-generation L-band broadband solution for specialized applications, like safety services, remote monitoring, UAV and UAS command and control, tracking, and more. It also hosts the AireonSM system, which will for the first time bring real-time, truly global aircraft surveillance and tracking to fruition.
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."