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FIRST ALERT: All systems go for SpaceX launch this evening

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 4:51 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 3:45 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - SpaceX is planning to launch its Inspiration4 Mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida this evening.

SPACEX LAUNCH | Click here to watch the livestream and get updates on the launch

The latest information from SpaceX indicated “all systems and weather are looking good for today’s Falcon 9 launch of Dragon’s first all-civilian spaceflight.”

Previous SpaceX launches have provided a brilliant view across the Grand Strand like this one...
Previous SpaceX launches have provided a brilliant view across the Grand Strand like this one in January.(WMBF)

According to SpaceX, the five-hour launch window is set to open on at 8:02 p.m. EDT for the launch of the Inspiration4 mission – the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit.

The mission will be aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft and will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Three days after liftoff, Dragon and the Inspiration4 crew will return to Earth and splashdown at one of several possible landing sites off the Florida coast.

Mostly clear skies are forecast for the launch.
Mostly clear skies are forecast for the launch.(WMBF)

SpaceX lists the crew as being commanded by Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and an accomplished pilot and adventurer. Joining him are Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® and pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur, and trained pilot.

The mission will orbit roughly 350 miles above the earth.

Previous SpaceX launches have been highly visible across the Grand Strand in the past and the upcoming launch will likely be visible as well.

The launch time at 8:02 p.m. means enough sunlight will be remaining for the exhaust trail to be brilliantly illuminated as the rocket flies well offshore, but high enough in the atmosphere for a view. If the launch is delayed, the illuminated trail will still be visible, but not as bright.

The cloud cover forecast continues to reveal some clouds to the west of the region and well east and out to sea, but an area of generally clear skies across our area and just offshore. If this forecast holds, a great view of the liftoff is likely with just a few high, thin clouds overhead for the launch.

The launch will be visible for most of the area, but the best view will be for areas with a clear view to the southeast - mainly along the beaches.

How to view the launch.
How to view the launch.(WMBF)

Look toward the east and southeastern sky between 8:02 p.m. and 8:06 p.m. for the best viewing opportunity. If viewing the launch from the beach - where the best views are - face the ocean and turn slightly right to face southeast. Then turn your attention slightly upward. The rocket may first appear as a fast-moving star, but an illuminated trail will also likely be visible.

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