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SpaceX Rocket Launch Should Be Visible Along East Coast Tuesday

Early-bird skywatchers along the eastern United States have an opportunity, weather permitting, to see the private spaceflight company SpaceX launch a robotic Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. The Dragon space capsule will launch into orbit atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket at 6:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

You can watch the Dragon launch in live webcasts provided by NASA TV and SpaceX. NASA's webcasts will begin at 5 a.m. ET (1000 GMT), with SpaceX's webcast beginning at 6 a.m. ET (1100 GMT), about 20 minutes before liftoff.

The official weather forecast continues to show a 60 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. Where to look if you live in the eastern United States:

  • Southeast U.S. coastline: Anywhere north of Cape Canaveral, viewers should initially concentrate on the south-southwest horizon. If you are south of the cape, look low toward the north-northeast. If you're west of the cape, look low toward the east-northeast.
  • Mid-Atlantic region: Look toward the south about 3 to 6 minutes after launch.
  • Northeast: Concentrate your gaze low toward the south-southeast about 6 to 8 minutes after launch.

Depending upon your distance from the coastline, the SpaceX rocket will be relatively low on the horizon — 5 to 15 degrees. (Your clenched fist held at arm's length covers about 10 degrees of sky.) If you're positioned near the edge of a viewing circle, the rocket will barely come above the horizon and could be obscured by low clouds or haze.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Blasts off for ISS 0:41

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— Joe Rao, Space.com

This is a condensed version of a story that originally appeared on Space.com. Read the entire article here. Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmer's Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y. Follow Space.com on @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+.