Skip to main content

Watch SpaceX launch a South Korean military satellite today

Update for 6 p.m. ET: SpaceX has successfully launched the South Korea's Anasis-II military communications satellite and landed its Falcon 9 booster at sea. Read our full story.

Original story:

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch South Korea's first military satellite today (July 20) after a nearly weeklong delay for extra booster checks. 

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the satellite, called Anasis-II, at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) today from SpaceX's Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 

You can watch the SpaceX launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of SpaceX. You can also watch the launch directly from SpaceX's webcast page here and on YouTube here. The company is also expected to provide mission audio from its launch control center on its YouTube page.

Related: See the evolution of SpaceX's rockets in pictures

The mission has a nearly four-hour launch window that closes at 8:55 p.m. EDT (0055 July 21 GMT), but the weather looks good. There is a 70% chance of good launch weather today, according to the U.S. Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron

SpaceX originally hoped to launch South Korea's Anasis-II satellite on July 14, but called the mission off a day before liftoff to perform extra checks on the Falcon 9's upper stage. The rocket's first stage has flown to space before: It launched SpaceX's first astronaut mission for NASA, Demo-2, on May 30.

"We're being extra paranoid. Maximizing [the] probability of successful launch is paramount," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter.

Those booster checks were complete by Saturday (July 18), when SpaceX announced that it was now targeting a launch for today.

SpaceX aims to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket after today's launch. The booster is expected to land on the company's drone ship "Just Read The Instructions" stationed offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Anasis-II military communications satellite for South Korea is seen as it is shipped from Airbus' clean room in Toulouse, France to Cape Canaveral, Florida for launch. (Image credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

That landing should occur eight minutes and 31 seconds after liftoff. After the landing, SpaceX will shut down its live coverage at the request of the South Korean government.

"Per the customer's request, live coverage will end shortly after first stage landing," the company said.

The Anasis-II satellite is designed to "provide secured communications over wide coverage," according to its builder Airbus Defence and Space

It is based on Airbus' Eurostar E3000 satellite platform and will be launched into a geostationary orbit, which will allow it to maintain position over a specific part of Earth at an altitude of  22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers). 

If all goes well, Anasis-II will be deployed in an initial orbit about 32 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX said.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.