Space fans are in for a treat later this week.
Four missions are scheduled to launch from Thursday to Sunday (Aug. 27 to Aug. 30), three of them from Florida’s Space Coast.
The action begins Thursday at 2:12 a.m. EDT (0612 GMT), when a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will loft the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office’s classified spy satellite NROL-44 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. You’ll be able to watch that launch here and on Space.com’s homepage, courtesy of ULA. ULA’s webcast will begin about 20 minutes before launch and is available directly from the company here.
Then, at 7:19 p.m. EDT (2319 GMT) on Friday (Aug. 28), a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, carrying the SAOCOM 1B satellite skyward for Argentina’s national space agency.
A few hours later, on the other side of the world, Rocket Lab’s Electron booster will roar to life in a return-to-flight mission, its first after a July 4 anomaly. If all goes according to plan, Electron will launch from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand complex at 11:05 p.m. EDT on Friday (0305 GMT on Saturday, Aug. 29), carrying the Sequoia Earth-observation satellite to orbit for San Francisco company Capella Space.
SpaceX will be back in action on Sunday (Aug. 30), launching 60 of its Starlink internet satellites atop a Falcon 9. Liftoff is scheduled to take place at 10:08 a.m. EDT (1408 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which is next door to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
And we could get a fifth rocket launch in this same span, if we’re lucky. California-based startup Astra plans to pull off its first orbital mission soon, from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Alaska’s Kodiak Island. In an Aug. 11 tweet, Astra said that the next opportunity to launch its Rocket 3.1 will likely come later this month.
Editor’s note: Space.com will carry the webcasts for all upcoming launches from ULA, Rocket Lab and SpaceX. Visit near launch time to see the missions.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.