SpaceX is now expected to launch an Italian Earth-observation satellite no earlier than Saturday (Jan. 29), two days later than planned due to bad weather, and you’ll be able to watch it live here when it lifts off.

A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with the Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 (CSG-2) satellite is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 6:11 p.m. EST (2311 GMT) on Saturday. SpaceX initially aimed to launch the mission Thursday, but postponed it for 24 hours less than hour before liftoff. A launch attempt on Friday was prevented by a thick cloud layer, the company said. 

“Standing down from today’s launch of COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 due to poor weather conditions at the launch site tonight; next opportunity is tomorrow, January 29 at 6:11 p.m. EST,” SpaceX wrote on Twitter after scrubbing the launch.

You can watch all the action live here at Space.com when the time comes, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company. SpaceX webcasts generally start 15 to 20 minutes before liftoff.

Saturday’s weather forecast calls for an 80% chance of good launch conditions, with winds at liftoff and upper-level wind shear as the only concerns, according to a forecast from the U.S. Space Force’s Delta 45 group.

Related: The evolution of SpaceX’s rockets in pictures

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 Earth-observation radar satellite for Italy stands atop Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida ahead of a planned launch on Jan. 28, 2022.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the  COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 Earth-observation radar satellite for Italy stands atop Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida ahead of a planned launch on Jan. 28, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation program is funded by the Italian Space Agency, the Italian Ministry of Defense and the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Scientific Research. The system consists of two satellites, which are designed to observe Earth using synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

CSG is an enhanced follow-on to the original Cosmo-SkyMed system. 

“COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation[‘s] purpose is to monitor the Earth for the sake of emergency prevention, strategy, scientific and commercial purposes, providing data on a global scale to support a variety of applications among which risk management, cartography, forest and environment protection, natural resources exploration, land management, defense and security, maritime surveillance, food and agriculture management,” European Space Agency officials wrote in a description of the program.

The first CSG satellite, CSG-1, launched atop an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from Kourou, French Guiana in December 2019 and is currently operating in a sun-synchronous polar orbit, 385 miles (620 kilometers) above Earth. CSG-2 is headed for the same orbit.

This will be the third launch for this Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage. The booster previously helped launch the Arabsat-6A communications satellite and Space Test Program 2 mission for the U.S. military. For this flight, the rocket is expected to come back for a vertical touchdown at SpaceX’s Landing Site 1 at Cape Canaveral not long after launch.

Saturday’s planned launch is part of a very busy 10-day stretch for SpaceX. Its robotic Dragon cargo spacecraft returned from the International Space Station on Monday (Jan. 24), and the company is planning to launch a batch of its Starlink internet satellites on Sunday (Jan. 30) as well as the NROL-87 mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office on Feb. 2.

Editor’s note: SpaceX had originally targeted Thursday (Jan. 27) for the launch of CSG-2 but pushed it 24 hours because of weather. This story was updated at 6:26 p.m. EST (2326 GMT) on Jan. 28 to include the scrubbed launch attempt.

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 on Facebook

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Mike Wall

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, “Out There,” was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

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