SpaceX is ready for its final launch of 2022 and you can watch it live online tonight.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will send an Israeli Earth-imaging satellite into space Friday morning (December 30), and you can watch online for free. Liftoff is scheduled for 2:17 a.m. EST (11:17 p.m. PST on December 29 or 07:17 GMT) and coverage will be available on SpaceX’s YouTube channel. (opens in a new tab).
SpaceX will launch the Earth Resources Observation Satellite (EROS)-C3 for Israeli company ImageSat International from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It will be SpaceX’s 61st launch of 2022, nearly doubling the then-record rate of 31 launches set in 2021.
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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is expected to launch retrograde to (against) Earth’s rotation and deploy EROS-C3 into low Earth orbit. The Falcon 9 first stage will then be ordered to land on a drone in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately eight minutes after launch. It will be the 11th flight of the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage. It has previously completed two astronaut flights for NASA, two Starlink missions and six uncrewed NASA and commercial missions.
The EROS-C series of satellites “enables defense and intelligence organizations to conduct operations with complete confidentiality and data protection”, according to the manufacturer ImageSat International (opens in a new tab). It cost around $186 million, according to Spaceflight Now (opens in a new tab).
The very first EROS satellite, EROS A, was launched in 2000 and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere in 2006. Little information is available on the active members of the fleet (EROS-B, EROS-C1 and EROS C2) , probably due to security issues. .
EROS-C3 has a resolution of about one foot (30 centimeters) for grayscale images and two feet (60 cm) for multispectral imagery, according to Everyday Astronaut (opens in a new tab). By the end of the decade, it will be part of a quartet of EROS satellites working alongside two synthetic aperture radar satellites.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of “Why am I taller (opens in a new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) or Facebook (opens in a new tab).