Two rockets set to launch: A SpaceX Falcon 9 and Blue Origin’s New Shepard

[ Update Dec.18 #3: : All the launches set for today have been scrubbed:

Update Dec.18 #2: The Falcon 9 has also been scrubbed for today. No reason yet provided. They will try again tomorrow during a launch window that opens at 9:07 am EST (1407 GMT).

Update Dec.18: The Falcon 9 launch is now set for 9:34 EST. The New Shepard flight has been postponed:

Three other launches are also expected in the next day:

** ULA Delta-4 Heavy to launch a military payload from Vandenberg AFB in California this evening at 5:57 p.m. PST, 8:57 p.m. EST, 0157 GMT (19th)

** Indian Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2) will launch the GSAT 7A communications satellite for the Indian military. Liftoff currently set for 5:40 a.m. EST (1040 GMT) on Wed. Dec. 19.

** Russian/Arianespace Soyuz from Guiana Space Center in South America with a military reconnaissance satellite for France. Liftoff set for 11:37:14 a.m. EST (1637:14 GMT) on Wed. Dec.19.


Two rocket launches are scheduled for Tuesday morning within half hour of one another:

** GPS III SV01 MISSION | SpaceX – A Falcon 9 rocket is to place a USAF upgraded GPS satellite into orbit:

SpaceX is targeting Tuesday, December 18 for launch of the United States Air Force’s first Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The 26-minute launch window opens at 9:11 a.m. EST, or 14:11 UTC. The satellite will be deployed to medium Earth orbit approximately 1 hour and 56 minutes after liftoff. A 26-minute backup launch window opens on Wednesday, December 19 at 9:07 a.m. EST, or 14:07 UTC.

Due to mission requirements, SpaceX will not attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage after launch.

You can watch the live launch webcast below, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff, and find out more about the mission in our press kit.

** Blue Origin New Shepard NS-10 – Nine NASA sponsored experiments will ride Blue‘s reusable New Shepard suborbital rocket to over 100 km in altitude:

New Shepard to fly 9 NASA-sponsored Payloads to Space on NS-10

Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission (NS-10) is currently targeting liftoff tomorrow at 8:30 am CST [9:30 am EST] / 14:30 UTC. This will be the 10th New Shepard mission and is dedicated to bringing nine NASA-sponsored research and technology payloads into space through NASA’s Flight Opportunities program.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities program is an essential program for researchers providing access to microgravity for technology development. Blue supports NASA’s Flight Opportunities program and its role in perfecting technology for a future human presence in space.

The payloads flying with us on NS-10 include:

Carthage College Space Sciences Program: The Modal Propellant Gauging experiment led by Dr. Kevin Crosby is a joint effort with the NASA Kennedy Space Center Cryogenics Laboratory. It demonstrates a way to measure fuel levels in microgravity by using sound waves.

Controlled Dynamics Inc.: The Vibration Isolation Platform (VIP) aims to separate payloads from the normally occurring vibrations experienced during spaceflight. The payload led by Dr. Scott Green allows researchers to have a clear understanding of microgravity’s effects on their research results.

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab: On its second flight with Blue, the EM Field experiment will observe and collect data on the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields both inside and outside New Shepard during the launch. Principal Investigator Dr. Todd Smith will use success of this experiment to determine how global measurements of the Earth’s electromagnetic field can be conducted in the future.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Cooling tightly-packed electronics onboard a spacecraft can be challenging, and many solutions have not been able to undergo robust testing. Principal Investigator Franklin Robinson will test one of these solutions in his Flow Boiling in Microgap Coolers experiment.

NASA Johnson Space Center: On its third flight on New Shepard, the Suborbital Flight Experiment Monitor-2 (SFEM-2) led by Dr. Katy Hurlbert will analyze various aspects of the flight environment during New Shepard’s mission profile, measuring cabin pressure, temperature, CO2, acoustic conditions, acceleration and more. The data collected will help future researchers on New Shepard design the most effective experiments for the vehicle.

Purdue University: Dr. Steven Collicott’s payload looks at Zero-Gravity Green Propellant Management Technology, which aims to help advance the use of a safer and more environmentally friendly rocket propellant by better understanding the fuel’s behavior in microgravity.

University of Central Florida: Two teams led by Dr. Josh Colwell and Dr. Addie Dove both have planetary science payloads on NS-10. The Collisions Into Dust Experiment (COLLIDE) aims to understand how dust particles react after surface contact during exploration missions to places such as the Moon, Mars and asteroids. The Collection of Regolith Experiment (CORE) addresses the unique challenge of collecting and analyzing material samples in microgravity.

University of Florida: Dr. Rob Ferl and Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul are adapting technology designed for the ISS to suborbital uses with their experiment, Validating Telemetric Imaging Hardware for Crew-Assisted and Crew-Autonomous Biological Imaging in Suborbital Applications. By recalibrating the way data is collected, the experiment will enable more biological research on suborbital missions.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter for launch day updates and join us at to watch the launch live!


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