SpaceX Targets Dramatic Nighttime Falcon 9 Launch and Daring Cape Canaveral Landing on Dec. 20

Artist's concept shows SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage descending to Landing Zone 1 complex at  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Credit: SpaceX

A “significantly upgraded” SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands erect on the Florida space coast today, Sunday, Dec. 20, and is poised to make history this evening with a spectacular nighttime blast off and daring first ever surface landing attempt of the boosters first stage at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, that could be accompanied by sonic booms – if all goes well.

Sunday’s night launch of the 229 foot tall Falcon 9 rocket with a fleet of eleven commercial communications satellites for Orbcomm from Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. is set for 8:29 p.m. EST.

This Falcon 9 launch will be the first for SpaceX since the catastrophic mid-air destruction of the rocket six months ago on June 28, 2015 on a cargo mission for NASA bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

Liftoff of the two stage Falcon 9 is slated for the opening of the 60-second launch window at 8:29 p.m. EST under currently cloudy to sunny Florida skies.

The bold and history making landing attempt of the boosters first stage back at the Cape at Landing Zone would come after high altitude separation from the upper stage and around 10 to 20 minutes after launch, and has garnered much attention. The goal is to recover and eventually reuse the boosters in order to significantly cut the cost of access to space, as often stated by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

You can watch the dramatic events unfold via a live SpaceX webcast available at

The SpaceX webcast is planned to start about 25 minutes before liftoff, beginning at approximately 8:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 20.

“Currently looking good for a Sunday night attempted orbital launch and rocket landing at Cape Canaveral,” SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday, —> Read More