Update for 7:50 p.m. ET: A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched the JCSAT-18/Kacific1 communications satellite into orbit at 7:10 p.m. EST (0010 GMT). Read our full story here to see SpaceX's rocket landing and satellite deployment.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida tonight (Dec. 16) and you can watch it live online.
The main payload on board the rocket is the JCSAT 18/Kacific 1 communications satellite. The satellite is shared between Singapore startup Kacific Broadband Satellites, which is marking its first launch, and Japanese operator Sky Perfect JSAT.
You can watch the launch here and on Space.com's homepage, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly at SpaceX's webcast page here, beginning at about 6:55 p.m. EST (2355 GMT). The 1-hour-and-28-minute launch window opens at 7:10 p.m. EST (0010 GMT Tuesday, Dec. 17); SpaceX generally begins their webcasts about 20 minutes before blastoff. The SpaceX Twitter feed will share live updates about how the countdown is proceeding.
The satellite will operate in the Ka-band frequency spectrum and offer internet services to 25 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including rural areas, according to Kacific's website. The satellite was built by Boeing, with Kacific and JSAT sharing the cost of the platform. JSAT's half of the satellite includes its own JCSAT-18 communications payloads, according to SpaceNews.
After launching on the Falcon 9, Kacific 1 is expected to settle into a geostationary orbit approximately 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers) above the equator. This orbit will allow the satellite to give constant coverage to the Asia-Pacific area.
Kacific announced earlier this month it has secured $160 million in new financing led by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and GuarantCo, an infrastructure investment organization. When Kacific first ordered Kacific-1 from Boeing in 2017, SpaceNews added, there were concerns that Boeing could lose the order due to financing complications. However, Kacific funded the satellite in the short term using loans while pursuing a long-term investment strategy.
"The support from GuarantCo, ADB, and private investors will be pivotal in providing the long-term certainty that will allow Kacific to transition seamlessly into operational mode," Christian Patouraux, Kacific founder and chief executive, said in a company statement released on Dec. 6.
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