The stars are aligning for Tuesday to be quite the bookend to a transformational year for commercial space exploration.
Four different companies have rocket launches slated for Dec. 18: Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, France’s Arianespace and United Launch Alliance, the joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. Assuming weather holds up and last-minute technical issues can be avoided, it will be the first time so many rockets will fly on a single day.
First up on the schedule is SpaceX, which plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket at around 9:11 a.m. local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The payload is a satellite for the U.S. Air Force, and Vice President Mike Pence has said he’ll attend.
Blue Origin expects its New Shepard rocket to lift off about 19 minutes later.
Third up will be Arianespace, which is flying one of Russia’s Soyuz rockets and launching a satellite from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana at roughly 11:37 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Lastly, United Launch Alliance has scheduled its Delta Heavy rocket to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California’s central coast at 8:57 p.m. EST.