With Hurricane Irma set to barrel down upon the US shortly, SpaceX will attempt to launch a US Air Force drone into orbit today. The launch is scheduled for between 9:50am and 2:55 pm US Eastern time at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. You can watch the launch below:
This will be the first time that SpaceX will be using its Falcon 9 rocket to launch a ship for the Air Force. What exactly the unmanned ship, referred to as the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, has been tasked to accomplish is unclear. (Previously, the ship had been launched from United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rockets.)
The Air Force said in a release that this is the fifth test of its ship, and it will carry some satellites and test “emerging space technologies” while in orbit. The ship will then land back at the Kennedy Space Center when its mission is complete, but again, it’s unclear when that will be: The last test was completed May 7, after the ship spent 718 days in orbit, the Air Force said.
SpaceX’s live coverage will start 10 minutes before its long launch window today. In the meantime—you can track Irma’s progress here.