Hawthorne-based SpaceX will try again Sunday to launch a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, possibly giving the Southland another impressive aerial light show.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for liftoff at 10:32 a.m. Sunday from Vandenberg on a mission dubbed Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express. The rocket will be carrying not one, not two, but 64 satellites on what was billed as a “ridesharing” mission.
The launch has been postponed twice — once to accommodate additional pre-flight inspections and another due to weather.
Organized by Spaceflight Industries, the satellites aboard the rocket come from 34 organizations and will be released into a “sun-synchronous low Earth orbit.”
“It includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from both commercial and government entities, of which more than 25 are from international organizations from 17 countries, including the United States, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, Brazil and India,” according to Spaceflight Industries.
The mission is billed as the “largest dedicated rideshare mission on a U.S. launch vehicle.”
Following separation, SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket’s first stage on a droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
Previous SpaceX launches from Vandenberg have created impressive light shows over the Southland and the entire southwestern United States.
On Nov. 15, SpaceX launched a Qatari communications satellite into orbit from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The mission from Vandenberg will be SpaceX’s 19th launch of the year. The company is tentatively scheduled to launch a resupply mission to the International Space Station on Tuesday from Cape Canaveral.