Private SpaceX Rocket Launch Tonight Visible from US East Coast

November 15, 2017 – 09:06 am
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars into the predawn sky above Florida carrying the unmanned Dragon capsule on the first-ever commercial flight to the International Space Station on May 22, 2012 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Credit: NASA TV

Where to look

  • Southeast U.S. coastline: Anywhere north of Cape Canaveral, viewers should initially concentrate on the south-southwest horizon. If you are south of the Cape, look low toward the north-northeast. If you're west of the Cape, look low toward the east-northeast.
  • Mid-Atlantic region: Look toward the south about 3 to 6 minutes after launch.
  • Northeast: Concentrate your gaze low toward the south-southeast about 6 to 8 minutes after launch.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars into space from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:44 a.m. EDT on May 22, 2012 For most viewers, Falcon 9 will appear to literally skim the horizon, so be sure there are no buildings or trees to obstruct your view. Because it likely will appear rather small and dim, scanning the night sky with binoculars might help.

Depending upon your distance from the coastline, Falcon 9 will be relatively low on the horizon (5 to 15 degrees; your fist on an outstretched arm covers about 10 degrees of sky). If you're positioned near the edge of a viewing circle, the shuttle will barely come above the horizon and could be obscured by low clouds or haze.

Quiz: How Well Do You Know SpaceX's Dragon Spaceship?

The spaceflight company SpaceX is one of several firms building private space taxis and cargo ships to launch astronauts and supplies into space. But there's more to SpaceX than meets the eye. Test your SpaceX know-how here.

0 of 10 questions complete

The spaceflight company SpaceX is one of several firms building private space taxis and cargo ships to launch astronauts and supplies into space. But there's more to SpaceX than meets the eye. Test your SpaceX know-how here.

0 of questions complete

If the weather is clear, keep in mind that Falcon 9 likely will appear to move very fast; much faster than an orbiting satellite due to its near orbital velocity at low altitudes (30 to60 miles). It basically travels across 90 degrees of azimuth in less than a minute.

The launch will also be webcast live, with commentary from SpaceX corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, at The webcast will begin approximately 40 minutes before launch. SpaceX hosts will provide information specific to the flight, an overview of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, and commentary on the launch and flight sequences. It will end when the Dragon spacecraft separates from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.


Source: www.space.com

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