The Electron launch is scheduled for 11:25 p.m. EST (0425 GMT on Nov. 11).

Rocket Lab plans to recover a booster after launching two satellites to orbit tonight (Nov. 10), and you can watch the action live.

A two-stage Electron rocket topped with two commercial Earth-observation satellites is scheduled to lift off tonight from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand site at 11:25 p.m. EST (0425 GMT on Nov. 11). If all goes according to plan, shortly after liftoff, the Electron’s first stage will splash down softly in the Pacific Ocean under parachutes, and Rocket Lab teams will fish it out of the sea.

You can watch it all live here at Space.com, courtesy of Rocket Lab, as well as on this page and directly via the company. Coverage will begin about 20 minutes before launch.

The main goal of tonight’s mission, which Rocket Lab calls “Love at First Insight,” is to deliver two satellites to orbit for the company BlackSky. But the booster recovery is an important sidelight, because it will inform Rocket Lab’s quest to make the Electron’s first stage reusable.

Rocket Lab has conducted two Electron recoveries already, during missions that launched in November 2020 and May 2021. But tonight’s attempt will be the first to include a helicopter, which will be stationed in the recovery zone about 230 miles (370 kilometers) off the New Zealand coast.

Rocket Lab plans to eventually pluck each falling Electron first stage out of the sky with a helicopter, and tonight’s activities will provide a sort of dry run for that ambitious plan.

“The helicopter will not attempt a mid-air capture for this mission but will test communications and tracking to refine the concept of operations (CONOPS) for future Electron aerial capture,” Rocket Lab representatives wrote in a preview of tonight’s mission.

rocket lab to launch satellites, recover booster tonight. how to watch live.

Rocket Lab recovered the first stage of its Electron booster for the first time ever during the “Return to Sender” mission, which launched on Nov. 19, 2020.
 (Image credit: Rocket Lab via Twitter)

The 59-foot-tall (18 meters) Electron gives small satellites dedicated rides to orbit. “Love At First Insight” will be the rocket’s 22nd launch overall and its fifth of 2021. 

One of this year’s flights — the May 2021 launch that featured a successful booster recovery — attempted to loft two BlackSky satellites. But an anomaly occurred in the Electron’s upper stage engine igniter system, resulting in the loss of both satellites.

If “Love At First Insight” does not get off the ground tonight, it will have other chances; the launch window runs through Nov. 24.

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. 

TECH NEWS RELATED

The Magellanic Clouds, our galactic neighbors

The night sky from ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile, with the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds showcased at center. Image via Y. Beletsky/ LCO/ ESO. Lucky Southern Hemisphere observers get to see something that many northerners never see: the Magellanic Clouds. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are satellite ...

View more: The Magellanic Clouds, our galactic neighbors

Japanese tycoon takes off for International Space Station

Spaceflight participant Yusaku Maezawa of Japan, member of the main crew of the new Soyuz mission to the International Space Station (ISS), gestures prior the launch at the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, December 8, 2021. /AP A Japanese billionaire and his producer rocketed to space Wednesday as the ...

View more: Japanese tycoon takes off for International Space Station

Drone tips: Where can I fly my drone?

The first question new drone owners often have is: 'Where can I fly my drone?' Here are some top locations for new pilots.

View more: Drone tips: Where can I fly my drone?

Dozens of earthquakes rumble off the Oregon coast

The series earthquakes on December 7 and 8, 2021, happened in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of the U.S. state of Oregon, roughly west of Newport. Map via USGS Latest Earthquakes. Dozens of earthquakes The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is reporting dozens of small-to-moderate earthquakes that started yesterday ...

View more: Dozens of earthquakes rumble off the Oregon coast

Optical cavities could be key to next generation interferometers

Share this page Share on Twitter Share on facebook Share on linkedin Share on email A new concept has been developed that has the potential to assist new instruments in the investigation of fundamental science topics such as gravitational waves and dark matter. The concept is described in a paper ...

View more: Optical cavities could be key to next generation interferometers

What we want to see from the Alien TV show

We don’t really know what to expect from the Alien TV show currently in development at Hulu, but we’ve got more than a couple of ideas that we’d like to see.

View more: What we want to see from the Alien TV show

$10 Billion James Webb Space Telescope Fueled for Launch

The James Webb Space Telescope was fuelled inside the payload preparation facility at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana ahead of its launch on Ariane 5. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace The James Webb Space Telescope was fuelled inside the payload preparation facility at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana ahead of its launch ...

View more: $10 Billion James Webb Space Telescope Fueled for Launch

Israel strike targets Iran weapons in Syria port: monitor

An Israeli air strike hit a shipment of Iranian weapons in the Syrian port of Latakia Tuesday, in the first such attack on the key facility, a war monitor said. The Israeli raid “directly targeted an Iranian weapons shipment in the container yard,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights ...

View more: Israel strike targets Iran weapons in Syria port: monitor

China calls on Canada to ignore Huawei risks 'invented' by US

Motorcycle bomb kills four in Iraq: official

Helicopter crashes with India military chief on board

Iran nuclear proposals 'not a reasonable basis' for accord: France

Biden warns Putin of 'strong' Western response to any Ukraine attack

Putin asked Biden for 'guarantees' NATO won't expand eastwards: Kremlin

Space Force mission blasts off from Florida after multiple delays

Leveraging AI to accelerate development of scientific models

Vietnam gives longest ever jail term for trading rhino horn: NGO

Sri Lanka chemical ship wreck to be salvaged: operators

Kremlin slams US Olympics boycott, France seeking EU response

China to repatriate Taiwan murder suspect in rare deal

OTHER TECH NEWS

;