Heads up, space fans. If you enjoy a good old-fashioned newfangled rocket landing, then keep your eyes peeled next week. Because within 48 hours we’ll see not one, but two rocket landings.
Yes, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is hoping to do just that with two launches on Monday, October 9 and Wednesday, October 11. The first is scheduled for Monday at 8.37pm (1.37am BST), when a Falcon 9 will launch 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the West Coast.
Then on Wednesday at 6.53pm EDT (11.53pm BST) we’ll see another Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida with the SES-11/EchoStar 105 communications satellite on board. This launch was originally scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday 7 October), but has since been delayed.
That delay, however, means that if both launches and landings go to plan, they will happen within less than 48 hours of each other. This will be SpaceX’s most rapid turnaround between two launches and landings yet.
In June this year, the company very nearly did two landings in under 48 hours, but not quite. They managed to launch and land in 49 hours and 15 minutes, which just isn’t good enough if you’re trying to be a reusable rocket company (kidding).
The best thing about it all though is, well, it’s actually not that exciting really. SpaceX has now completed 16 landings, so they’ve pretty much become routine.
“We’ll be successful, ironically, when landings become boring,” Musk said last year. He’s not wrong.
At any rate, it should still be a decent spectacle. If you want to watch the launches and landings (yawn), we presume SpaceX will be running webcasts as usual. Just wake us up when it’s all over, okay?