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How you can see the SpaceX Inspiration4 launch Wednesday evening

We have the chance to spot the rocket’s vapor trails in our sky Wednesday

SpaceX Falcon9 launch visible in April of 2021 courtesy of Cynthia Arthur in Floyd
SpaceX Falcon9 launch visible in April of 2021 courtesy of Cynthia Arthur in Floyd (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

ROANOKE, Va. – Every now and then, rockets launch off Wallops Island and Cape Canaveral are visible this far inland. Wednesday evening may be one of those opportunities for southwest and central Virginia.

[WATCH LIVE: SpaceX’s Inspiration4 to circle Earth in first private launch]

SpaceX plans to launch its Inspiration4 rocket off Cape Canaveral Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 8:02 p.m. It is set to become the first all-civilian mission to orbit. This multi-day mission will “eclipse more than 90% of the world’s population,” according to the mission’s website.

Its trajectory shows it going away from the East Coast, increasing in altitude as it does so.

Projected path of SpaceX's Inspiration4 launch

In Southwest and Central Virginia, the sun will have set by then. This provides the backlight needed for us to be able to see the vapor trails shortly after 8:02 Wednesday evening. You’ll preferably need to find a higher spot and look to the southeast/east sky.

What to know about the SpaceX Inspiration4 launch in our area

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that storm clouds don’t get in our way of the view. For the forecast, be sure to check here.


About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.