SpaceX used the Falcon 9 rocket to launch 57 Starlink Internet satellites and a pair of commercial Earth imaging surveillance satellites from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday. Officials did not immediately confirm the new target launch date, but SpaceX is expected to retry as soon as possible on Sunday.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida, launchers are counting down to take off a 229-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket at 4:18 pm. US Eastern Daylight Time (2018 GMT) was sent from the 39A pad of the Kennedy Space Center on Friday, but officials said the launch will be postponed to a few hours before the original launch time.
SpaceX said in a tweet that it “was away from today’s Starlink mission.” The company said, “Their team needs more time to conduct pre-launch inspections, but both Falcon 9 and the satellite are healthy.”
SpaceX said that once the eastern range of the US space force is confirmed, it will announce a new target launch date. The plan provides launch support for all space missions taking off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base and the Kennedy Space Center.
The schedule list laid the foundation for two Falcon 9 launches from different launch sites in Cape Canaveral in the next few days.
SpaceX is preparing to launch the Falcon 9 rocket from Pad 40 on Cape Canaveral at 3:55 pm on Tuesday. EDT (Greenwich Mean Time 1955) is used with the next GPS navigation satellite of the US military.
In a conference call with reporters on Friday to discuss the launch of GPS, a SpaceX official said the company is still evaluating when the Falcon 9 rocket equipped with Starlink broadband satellites and BlackSky Earth imaging payloads can be prepared for flight.
An updated airspace warning notice posted on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website on Friday night indicated that SpaceX may try to start the Starlink/BlackSky ride-sharing mission again on Sunday.
If the Starlink launch is going to take place within a few days, SpaceX may choose to perform the mission before the GPS launch on Tuesday. A notice issued to the pilots on Friday indicated that SpaceX aims to do just that.
In the event of further delays, managers are expected to prioritize Tuesday’s GPS launch, as the mission is aimed at SpaceX’s main customer, the US Space Force. SpaceX did not disclose the reason for the delay of the launch on Friday, but this problem will take a few days to resolve. Starlink’s launch can be postponed until after the GPS launch.
Lee Rosen, vice president of SpaceX customer operations and integration, said Friday that SpaceX can perform two launches from different launch pads in Cape Canaveral in a relatively short period of time. He said SpaceX may conduct another Falcon 9 launch after reviewing data from a previous mission. He said it usually takes half a day to a day to complete.
The launch company usually checks all the flight data of the launch to look for close calls or other abnormal behaviors that may affect future missions.
General Doug Heath, commander of the Brigade’s 45th Space Wing, said eastern shooting ranges may also support two Falcon 9 launches within 24 hours of each other if necessary.
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