Live coverage of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. The mission will launch a radar remote sensing satellite for Italy’s COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation constellation. Follow us on Twitter.

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SpaceX is set to launch an Italian radar remote sensing satellite aboard a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday from Cape Canaveral. The Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch at 6:11 p.m. EST (2311 GMT), weather permitting, and the first stage booster will return to Florida’s Space Coast eight minutes later for landing.

The mission will deploy a COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation, or CSG, radar surveillance satellite into a polar orbit for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defense. There’s a 60% chance of good weather for launch at Cape Canaveral Thursday evening. The primary concerns are with ground winds and cumulus clouds.

The Falcon 9 rocket will be powered by a first stage booster modified from two previous missions as a side booster on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. Both halves of the rocket’s payload shroud have flown to space three times on prior Falcon 9 missions.

Our live coverage will be available on this page beginning at 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT).

The COSMO-SkyMed satellites provide regular day-and-night radar imaging of locations around the world for the civilian and military users. The Italian government oversees the radar constellation, which consists of four first-generation satellites now beyond their operating lifetimes, and the first in a new generation of COSMO-SkyMed spacecraft that launched in December 2019 on a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.

The radar imaging constellation gathers data for use by the Italian military, which employs the imagery to track maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea. Civilian applications include disaster response, agriculture monitoring, and climate change research.

This mission will mark the fifth launch from Cape Canaveral this year, following three SpaceX flights and a United Launch Alliance mission earlier this month.

Read our mission preview story for details.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1052.3)

PAYLOAD: COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2

LAUNCH SITE: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

LAUNCH DATE: Jan. 27, 2022

LAUNCH TIME: 6:11 p.m. EST (2311 GMT)

LAUNCH WINDOW: Instantaneous

WEATHER FORECAST: 60% probability of acceptable weather

BOOSTER RECOVERY: Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

LAUNCH AZIMUTH: South-southeast, then south

TARGET ORBIT: Approximately 384 miles (619 kilometers), 97.9 degrees inclination


T+00:00: Liftoff
T+01:12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
T+02:15: First stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
T+02:19: Stage separation
T+02:27: Second stage engine ignition
T+02:32: Boost-back burn begins (three engines)
T+03:20: Boost-back burn ends
T+03:45: Fairing jettison
T+06:11: First stage entry burn begins (three engines)
T+06:32: First stage entry burn ends
T+07:22: First stage landing burn begins
T+07:26: First stage landing
T+08:44: Second stage engine cutoff (SECO 1)
T+56:01: Second stage engine restart
T+56:04: Second stage engine cutoff (SECO 2)
T+1:00:05: COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 separation


138th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
146th launch of Falcon rocket family since 2006
3rd launch of Falcon 9 booster B1052
122nd Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
79th Falcon 9 launch from pad 40
134th launch overall from pad 40
82nd flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
80th Thales Alenia Space-built satellite launched by SpaceX
1st SpaceX mission for Italian Space Agency
4th Falcon 9 launch of 2022
4th launch by SpaceX in 2022
5th orbital launch based out of Cape Canaveral in 2022

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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