SpaceX Sets Table for Thanksgiving Rocket Launch Today: Watch It Live

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Before Launch, Nov. 25, 2013
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket standing on the launch pad at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Nov. 25, 2013. The rocket will deliver the SES-8 satellite to a geosynchronous transfer orbit 80,000 km from Earth. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The private spaceflight company SpaceX will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with a rocket launch from Florida today (Nov. 28) after a two-day delay due to a technical glitch.

SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 rocket is now set to blast off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a 65-minute launch window that opens at 5:39 p.m. EST (0039 Nov. 29 GMT).  The mission will mark a series of firsts for SpaceX, including the company's first launch of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, its first launch of a huge commercial satellite and its first launch into a high geostationary transfer orbit needed for commercial satellites.

The SES-8 telecommunications satellite is an Orbital Sciences GEOStar-2 spacecraft that will provide communications coverage of the South Asia and Asia Pacific regions. This hybrid Ku- and Ka-band spacecraft weighs 6,918 lbs. (3,138 kg.) at launch. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is expected to begin its launch webcast at 5 p.m. EST (0000 Nov. 26 GMT). will carry SpaceX launch webcast live here. You can also follow it directly at:

"Happy #Spacegiving!" SpaceX officials wrote in a Twitter post announcing today's launch target.

Today's Falcon 9 launch will loft the SES-8 communications satellite for satellite communications provider SES World Skies. SpaceX initially attempted to launch the SES-8 satellite on Monday (Nov. 25), but unexpected readings in the liquid oxygen system on the rocket's first stage prompted a delay.

"Saw pressure fluctuations on Falcon boost stage liquid oxygen tank," SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk wrote in a Twitter update. "Want to be super careful, so pushing launch to Thurs."

An artist's illustration of the huge SES-8 communications satellite launching from Florida on a SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket on Nov 25, 2013. (Image credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.)

The mission is SpaceX's first entry into commercial satellite industry with the Falcon 9 rocket. The Hawthorne, Calif.-based company has launched six Falcon 9 rockets since 2010, but those missions were either test flights or missions for NASA or the Canadian Space Agency. SpaceX officials have often said that spaceflight is inherently risky, and if their missions don't go as planned the company will learn from them and try again.

SpaceX has a $1.6 billion deal with NASA to fly at least 12 commercial cargo missions to the International Space Station using its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets and unmanned Dragon space capsules. The company has flown two of those missions so far. On Sept. 29, SpaceX launched the Canadian Space Agency's CASSIOPE space weather tracking satellite during a test flight of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, known as the Falcon 9 v1.1.

The enhanced Falcon 9 features a circular "Octaweb" arrangement of its nine first-stage rocket engines. The engines themselves are new SpaceX-built Merlin 1D engines that boast better performance. The Falcon 9 is also topped with a 17-foot (5.1 meters) payload fairing that is large enough to fit a bus inside, as well as triple redundant avionics and a heat shield for the first stage as part of SpaceX's reusable rocket project.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch is not the only cosmic event this Thanksgiving. Astronauts on the International Space Station are celebrating Thanksgiving in space with the Comet ISON today. The astronauts will try to photograph the comet along with NASA and scientists around the world as ISON swings close by the sun today.

NASA will hold a webcast at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) to provide live satellite views and updates on Comet ISON's solar passage. You can watch the Comet ISON webcast live on, courtesy of NASA TV.

Visit for updates on the SpaceX next-generation Falcon 9 rocket launch. partner Spaceflight Now is also offering updates via its SpaceX Mission Status Center, which will also include a launch webcast.

Email Tariq Malik at or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.