A Rocket Lab Electron booster carrying satellites for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, NASA and more stands atop Launch Complex 1 at Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand ahead of the “Don’t Stop Me Now” mission launching on June 11, 2020.
In the next 24 hours, no less than three rockets — built by Interstellar Technologies, Rocket Lab and SpaceX — will launch from three different countries in a space age triple-header. But if you want to watch them all online, you’re going to need to stay up late (or rise super early).
The action begins late tonight (June 12) with the launch of the Momo-F5 rocket built by the Japanese company Interstellar Technologies. The small suborbital sounding rocket is scheduled to launch between 10 p.m. EDT and 11:20 p.m. EDT (0200-0320 GMT) from Taiki Town, Hokkaido, where the local time will be midday Saturday (June 13).
You can watch the launch live below, courtesy of NVS-Neko Video Visual Solutions and the Tokachi Mainichi newspaper. You can also watch directly from NVS here.
Interstellar Technologies’ Momo rocket stands 32 feet (10 meters) tall and weighs just over 1 metric ton. The company has launched four of the rockets to date with mixed success. Its third launch in May 2019 was the first to succeed, but the fourth fell into the ocean after experiencing an anomaly.
Momo-F5 was originally scheduled to launch in late December and has been delayed several times. It is a crowdfunded mission that aims to reach an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers), with Interstellar Technologies raising more than $391,000 (42 million yen), well above the mission’s goal of nearly $84,000 (9 million yen), according to a translated statement by Interstellar Technologies.
Interstellar Technologies has apparently named the launch “Poupelle of Chimney Town” after the book by Akihiro Nishino and is using #PoupelleOfChimneyTownMOMOF5 to refer to the flight online. The company will not allow spectators to watch the launch in person due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Rocket Lab launch from New Zealand
The orbital launch action will begin early Saturday with the launch of a Rocket Lab Electron booster carrying five small satellites for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, NASA and the University of South Wales Canberra Space.
Liftoff is scheduled for 12:43 a.m. EDT (0443 GMT) from Rocket Lab’s Launch Site 1 on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand. You’ll be able to watch the launch live on Space.com here, courtesy of Rocket Lab.
Rocket Lab will webcast the launch here, and it will be carried live on Space.com.
Rocket Lab has a nearly two-hour window in which to launch the Electron booster. The mission, called “Don’t Stop Me Now,” will carry three classified satellites for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office; the ANDESITE cubesat built by Boston Universty under NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative; and the M2 Pathfinder communications satellite, which is a a collaboration between the University of New South Wales Canberra Space and the Australian government.
Originally scheduled to fly in March, the “Don’t Stop Me Now” mission has been delayed for more two months due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
SpaceX’s Starlink rideshare flight
The last launch of the triple header will come from SpaceX, which will launch a used Falcon 9 rocket packed with Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff is set for Saturday at 5:21 a.m. EDT (0921 GMT).
You can watch the launch live on Space.com here, as well as directly from SpaceX here. SpaceX will likely also offer a live audio feed from its launch control center on its YouTube channel here.
The Falcon 9 rocket will carry 58 Starlink internet satellites for SpaceX, as well as three Earth-imaging SkySat satellites for Planet under a rideshare agreement. The launch is the first for SpaceX’s smallsat rideshare program.
Saturday’s launch comes on the heels of two other SpaceX launches in recent weeks. The company launched 60 Starlink satellites for its growing broadband constellation on June 3. Just days earlier, on May 30, SpaceX launched its first astronauts for NASA on a Crew Dragon spacecraft.
And that’s it! That’s a lot of rocket launches in just eight hours. So rest up, space fans, and don’t forget to tune in.